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This Blog is titled “Vegan Healthy” because our focus is on foods which provide the body fuel for creating and maintaining an active life style. By focusing on “strong” foods, your body is provided with the needed protein, carbohydrates, fats, nutrients, vitamins, mineral, phytochemicals, isoflavones, essential fatty acids, and anti-oxidants it needs to be energetic (especially energy-enhancing vitamins and mineral such as magnesium, zinc, and vitamin B6). Pure water is also important. “Weak” foods and foods to which a person is allergic can drain energy. “Weak” foods are discussed below. The most common food allergies are citrus, wheat, corn, milk, soy, dairy products, yeast, and eggs.
“Strong” foods include (examples in parentheses):
- unrefined non-gluten grains (brown rice, quinoa);
- nutrient dense vegetables including:
- cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts);
- sea vegetables (nori, arame);
- leafy greens (kale, collards);
- yellow and orange vegetables (sweet potatoes, carrots, winter squash);
- other (snow peas);
- beans (adzuki, black, lentil);
- minimally processed soy products (tempeh, miso);
- whole fruit (apples, citrus, plums);
“Weak” foods included:
- refined foods including:
- refined grains – especially glutinous grains like wheat (most common form is white flour, often called wheat flour since it is made of wheat berries, albeit very refined wheat berries);
- refined sweeteners such as white sugar and confectioner’s sugar (most candies and sodas contain refined sweeteners);
- caffeine from coffee, tea, cola and chocolate;
- nutrient poor vegetables including:
- celery, fennel;
- summer squash (zucchini, yellow summer squash);
- pale greens (iceberg lettuce);
The weak foods simply take space in a diet, do not provide necessary nutrients, and only crowd out good, nutritionally dense foods (the “strong” foods above).
Therefore, to promote an active/vital/energetic lifestyle, the emphasis of this cookbook is on cooking with
foods that are:
- vegan (i.e., free of all animal products, including honey);
- whole and unprocessed (e.g., whole grains such as quinoa and whole-unrefined bean products such as tempeh – not refined/processed foods like white rice and white/wheat flour);
- nutritionally dense (high in vitamins and minerals) (e.g., leafy greens, broccoli, carrots, and Brussels sprouts – not eggplant, cucumber, and summer squash);
- non-glutinous (e.g., grains like quinoa, millet, amaranth, rice – not wheat, barley, rye, or corn).
These foods are life-sustaining, providing the body with essential nutrients which are important for maintaining an active lifestyle. The recipes will occasionally call for “weak” foods (i.e., foods with little or no nutrition) like mushrooms and celery, but these are used with the understanding that they are not the main part of a dish (i.e., used in small amounts) and are primarily used for flavor. Also, many of the desserts call for flour (which is processed due to the grinding), but I do this to create the best desserts, and the recipes call for exclusively whole-grain flours. Additionally, in the desserts, I almost always use non-glutinous
grain flours (like brown rice, millet, amaranth, and teff flour) with finely ground tapioca and ground flax seed for extra binding due to the lack of glutinous grains. This gives the dessert a more diverse/complete nutritional profile, which provides more energy to the body, while maintaining a traditional form, taste, and texture.