Tag Archive | forks over knives

The Recovery

After a week of less-than-healthy eating on vacation, it was time to get back on track this past week. We were all feeling the effects of being off plan — bloated, fatigued, and fat! We all gained a few pounds while on vacation (truth be told, I think I’m still carrying 5 pounds from LAST year’s vacation). Off plan included “meat” (lots of lobster), butter, fried, eggs, alcohol, caffeine, sugar…  I know… you are all thinking “sounds great”!  🙂

But when you eat only plant based 99% of the time, these things definitely take their toll and we needed a week of recovery.

In order to go hard core on the recovery, I went immediately to the Forks Over Knives website.  It so happened that they were featuring an article with a week of recipes and I actually used that for my menu plan for the week.  So here are the recipes along with my adjustments/commentary (note, all recipes can be prepared in 30 minutes or less):

Easy Thai Noodles – I doubled this recipe because, let’s face it, 8 ounces of noodles is not enough with 2 big eaters in the house.  What I liked about this recipes was the ease — it says “ready in 30 minutes” but it took much less than that. I couldn’t find “mung bean sprouts” so I just used a mix of sprouts that I found at the grocery store. Everyone enjoyed this, but I think if I made it again, I would use more veggies and I would triple the sauce. Leftovers were a bit dry, so I think a little more sauce would be good.

Mediterranean Vegetable Spaghetti – We also enjoyed this dish (who doesn’t love pasta).  I used whole wheat pasta instead of the brown rice spaghetti, but any pasta will do. I didn’t have “herbes de Provence” so I just used thyme, a favorite seasoning, and a bit of oregano. You could really use any herbs you prefer. The recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of tomato puree but the smallest can I could find was 28 ounces! I did add more than the 2T to the recipe, partly because the recipe calls for 10 ounces of pasta (can we just make all recipes = 1 pound of pasta???) and I used 16 ounces.  So it definitely needed more of the puree; I froze the rest.

Orange Black Bean Taquitos – This was another tasty recipe. My only gripe was needing the food processor to do two separate tasks (making the filling and making the spiked sour cream). It required making one, cleaning the food processor and then making the other. While the sour cream recipe says to use the blender, my blender didn’t work for this and I ended up with lots of extra dishes to wash. But we loved the citrus combination with the kick from the adobo chiles. I served this with brown rice flavored with fresh lime juice.

Burrito Bowl — I didn’t use bowls, but plates. I served everything separately and let everyone make their own combinations. This dish definitely needed salsa to give it more flavor and interest, and I used the leftover spiked sour cream from the taquitos. I made bulgur, for something different than just rice, but any grain will do.  I used a mix of pinto and cannellini beans, but would flavor them next time (tamari, perhaps?). I did use steamed kale (from the garden), but didn’t love it. I would definitely use fresh lettuce next time, or fresh/chopped kale. And yes, I made my own tortillas — much preferred over store-bought.  This was the only picture I apparently remembered to take this week… IMG_1690

No Tuna Salad Sandwich – I’ll be honest, this wasn’t my favorite recipe of the week.  I have other similar recipes that I liked much better. This one was a little bland and I’m not a big fan of tahini. Plus, the bread I bought (a whole grain) was a little too doughy.

We did have one night where we ate out because our lovely Mikayla was in town from NYC, and another night we had grilled portobellos and my favorite kale salad. I did make this “oil free” by eliminating all oil, and increasing the lime juice.

As a result of this week’s eating, I am back to my pre-vacation weight. Yay! And I think everyone has otherwise recovered!

Hope you enjoy the recipes!

IMDb: The Recovery (2011)

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Goulash

One of my favorite dishes that my mom always made was affectionately called “hot dog goulash”. I truly don’t know of anyone else who ever made it. It was a dish my grandmother used to make, and then my mom always made it. She and I were the only ones who really liked it (plus cousin Stephanie), and it was always a special treat that we shared together.

The dish started with hot dogs, chopped into chunks, and sautéed in oil. (Sounds healthy already, doesn’t it?) Then she would throw in some chopped onions to cook for a bit, and then a can of diced tomatoes, a bit of water and some diced potatoes. It was cooked until potatoes were tender.

I’m sure it doesn’t sound like much, but it was “our” dish. Every now and then, Mom would get a hankering for it, and she would always call me to have some with her. Great memories and great comfort food. I miss those days.

So what’s a girl to do when she doesn’t eat hot dogs anymore?

Enter: Forks Over Knives’ White Bean, Kale and Potato Stew

I may have posted this recipe before, but tonight as I was cooking the stew, I looked into the pot and it reminded me of my hot dog goulash. Minus the hot dogs, of course. Onions, tomatoes, potatoes… (visualize the hot dogs in here, and you’ve got it!)

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Add some kale (or in my case, spinach), some cannellini beans, and some seasonings, and it’s perfection!  One of our favorite stews and now I know why… It reminds me of our special comfort food!

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*****

For my local peeps… a great new restaurant to check out: Terra Preta in Scranton.  (Well, I don’t know how “new” it is…) I went there with a friend for lunch today. They offer a mix of options, but I was thrilled with the variety of vegan options. And they are all about “farm to table” foods. I couldn’t decide between the rice & veggie bowl, the veggie & quinoa burger, or the vegan veggie flatbread with cashew cheese.  I opted for the latter and a cup of sweet pea soup. Mmmmm.  Must go back to try to rest!

*****

IMDb: Goulash (2008)

For Better or Nurse

The weekend is flying by and I am grateful at least for the end of Daylight Savings Time.  I could use the extra hour! The next two months are chock full of activities and there is so much to do to prepare for the holidays and our December vacation. I was looking forward to a quiet weekend at home, while David recuperates, and I am managing to get some things done on the list, but there are not as many things crossed off the list as I had hoped.

David is doing pretty well in his recovery, although I am reminded that I would have made a terrible nurse. Too much eye rolling at the wincing and groaning. I don’t mean to be unsympathetic, but well… It just happens. And for those of you who know David well, a little ribbing is usually justified.  🙂  We got his bandages off today; I thought the incision would be covered with one of those clear bandages, but nothing be steri-strips under all the gauze and tape. The incision was bigger than I expected, so I guess I shouldn’t be too hard on the guy.

I got a lot of chores done today and did also manage to spend some time in the kitchen. My favorite Isa soup, Potato and Leek Soup, some Black Bean Dark Chocolate Truffles, and Forks Over Knives’ Cranberry Orange Pumpkin Muffins. The truffles were delicious and but the muffins didn’t thrill Ethan. David and I thought they were “ok” but definitely not something I would make again for the work involved.

I spent some time perusing the Forks Over Knives recipes online today and have identified several recipes for this week’s menu planning. I needed to get some new recipes in the rotation, and with the cold weather starting, soups and stews seemed to a good place to look.  Look for reviews next week!

IMDb: For Better or Nurse (1945)

Well Oiled

I’ve seen many articles and posts about the benefits of oil pulling, so I wanted to try it myself. For those of you who don’t know what oil pulling is, it is, essentially, swishing coconut oil (or some other vegetable oil) in your mouth for about 20 minutes a day. You then spit it out, along with (allegedly) loads of toxins.

Oil pulling claims to have numerous health benefits, including: whiter teeth, healthier gums, increased energy, clearer sinuses, clearer skin, and improved PMS symptoms. See more at: Yoganonymous

I use words like “allegedly” and “claims” because there are also a fair number of articles tha offer a contrary opinion. There are people who swear by this, and those that think it’s nonsense. So I thought I would give it a try myself. The first time I tried it (a few months ago), I struggled with the texture of the oil (in it’s solid form) when I first put it in my mouth. It melted immediately, of course, but it was weird initially. I also had a hard time swishing for longer than 2-3 minutes. After just two days, I gave it up.

This week, however, I decided I wanted to try it again. I feel like my gums are started to recede a bit, I have a lot of tooth sensitivity, and who doesn’t want whiter teeth?? So again, I cringed with putting the solid oil in my mouth, but I kept it up and managed to do 6-7 minutes each day this week. I’m working my way up! In the post that I noted above from Yoganonymous, she suggested doing it while you are in the shower, so I may try that tomorrow to see if it gets me swishing for a longer period of time.

So far I do feel a difference with my gums. They feel healthier, and on one particularly bothersome tooth, I noticed a big difference. No change in whiteness yet, but I think I’ll keep it up for a while and see how it goes. (Oh, and one thing that made it easier? The hot temperatures the past few days melted the oil. I find it much easy to take the oil in a liquid form!)

*****

New recipe: Forks Over Knives Lentil Vegetable Soup
David enjoyed it; Ethan thought it was good, but not great, and I would agree with Ethan. I think it needed more seasonings (other than salt and pepper, there are no seasonings in the recipe), and perhaps it would have helped if I remembered to add the spinach at the end. The good thing was that I was able to do it in the InstantPot. Set the timer this morning to start the pot in 8 hours. It then cooked for 2 hours and put itself on “warm” afterwards. Pretty sweet!

*****

IMDb: Well Oiled (1947)

Fork in the Road

I watched Forks Over Knives last week with my husband. It was his first time and I had promised that if he would watch this movie with me, I would stop nagging him on what he eats. We watched it over two nights due to work schedules and my fairly early bedtime, and he did manage to stay awake (well, for most of it).

I first watched it in 2012, right after my double mastectomy, during my recovery period. It was enlightening then but that was before I had really heard of most of the doctors featured in the documentary. It was fun watching it a second time, considering I have read the majority of their books and heard several of them lecture. I’d like to think watching it was enlightening for David also, but time will tell. It will be difficult in the meantime to keep my promise to stop my food nagging!

I’d like him to also watch some of the videos from the McDougall conference I attended in February. For a small fee, we are able to watch those videos for 6 months, and my time is running out. The last time we tried to watch one of them, he totally fell asleep early on (and it was probably the most entertaining of all of the videos…). So I suspect I will be re-watching them all myself. I’ve got less than 2 months to get through them all again. I better get moving!

*****

Enjoy your holiday, everyone!!

4th-of-july

*****

IMDb: Fork in the Road (1996)

Without Evidence

Wednesday morning was my yearly follow up with my surgeon.  I sort of don’t understand why he needs to see me every year, since I would think the follow ups would be handled by my oncologist and radiologist, but it was explained to me that it’s best to have 3 people checking me out. The more, the better, apparently, to ensure no one misses anything.

The visit was none eventful, but always great to hear the words “no evidence of disease”.  My bp was a healthy 108/64, they were happy to see I was down 10 pounds since my last visit, and I was dismayed to find out I am an inch shorter than I thought I was!  5’5″.  I’m not sure where this all happened, since I can’t remember the last time I was officially measured.  Maybe it was at my last visit last year, but I guess that’s why my son towers over me now!  He got taller and I got shorter.

The surgeon did bring up reconstruction and promised that he will do so every year. He said it’s not to apply pressure, but to remind me that the option is always there. I’m still pretty adamant that it’s not worth the additional trauma to my already-traumatized body, but understand his need to bring it up.  He was not surprised to hear that I had given up on the Femara and was supportive of that decision. I’m grateful for a good report and a boring visit.

*****

Thursday was my quarterly visit to my naturalist.  Things were pretty good, although we did focus on hormone balance (I assume that will always be a topic of discussion!), detox of the lymphatic system due to pesticides that showed up in my scan (more on that in my next post), emotional support (primarily due to grief), and a new topic: memory. I continue to really struggle with short term memory in particular since chemo. It seems to be a bit worse of late, which is worrisome and bothersome, so I am glad to be focusing on that.  More details on this, as well, in my next post.

*****

New recipe from Forks Over Knives: Italian White Bean, Kale and Potato Stew.  It was really easy to make and my family loved it!

*****

IMDb: Without Evidence (1995)

A Good Year

One year ago today was my final chemo treatment… Wow, did that year fly by, or what?  I am so grateful to be alive and well!  They say time flies when you’re having fun, and now that I’m having fun again, and trying to live my second (third?) chance to its fullest, maybe that’s why.

I thought I’d share the link to last year’s last chemo blog:

https://lightscanceraction.wordpress.com/2013/01/09/last-tango-in-paris/

One year ago today is also the day I adopted my whole food, plant based diet.  It took me a while to get totally up and running, since I was so sick after chemo #6, but it’s when I officially gave up all beef, poultry, and pork.  I do still eat fish about once a week, but that’s it for “meat”.

Here’s a recent article, but it was really the linkage of animal protein to cancer (from T. Colin Campbell’s book, The China Study) that led me to this decision.

http://www.forksoverknives.com/1907-new-york-times-article-shows-that-meat-causes-cancer/

I have to say that I have not regretted it for a moment.  I understand this decision isn’t for everyone, but for me, it was definitely the right move.  I lost weight without counting calories or fat or points.  My skin glowed and my hair shined.  My cholesterol and triglycerides plummeted.  And I felt better than I had in ages.  It is SO worth the effort!

What a difference a year makes!

*****

A Good Year (2006) – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0401445/