Saturday, September 29, 2012

Welcome Dr. Fuhrman!

Happy Saturday everyone and welcome to our first day of Dr. Joel Fuhrman's book "Eat For Health". This is really my "go to" book when I'm telling people about the benefits of adopting a vegan way of eating for health reasons.

The term Vegan is packed with a lot of meaning that some people get pretty emotional about. Technically veganism means living a lifestyle that does not impact upon animals in anyway. True vegans eschew leather, honey, wool - anything that is considered to use or exploit animals in anyway. Those that are more in line with eating a veggie diet only at times find themselves to be offensive to those that feel just avoiding meat is a cheap imitation of what a vegan really is.  Since there is so much emotion attached to being a vegan Dr. Fuhrman has coined a term he uses to describe his diet - Nutritarian. I like this term since it emphasizes the point of eating this way as maximizing the nutritional value of eating vs. the avoidance of harming animals.

One of the many things I love about this book is that it comes in two volumes.The first volume explains the reasons for eating or not eating certain foods. The second volume defines the four phases of his program that takes one from a diet slightly removed from the standard American diet to one that is almost entirely vegan / nutritarian. Phase one has 8 servings of animal products / week, starches twice per day and olive oil in the diet. The phases progress to much higher nutritional value, 2 animal product servings per week, 7 starches per week and minimal oils.

We'll discuss his way of rating foods and meals in future posts. Since the diets I've followed for the past 3+ weeks have been very low fat and of high nutritional value I'm starting with phase 3 this week and then next week we'll do phase 4.

Today's menu is:

Breakfast: Banana Cashew Wrap
Lunch: Veggie Garbanzo Wrap
Dinner: Green Salad with Pistachio Dressing and Veggie and Bean Soup
Dessert: Strawberry, blueberries and bananas with Strawberry Dressing

For Breakfast we have a most unusual breakfast consisting of romaine leaves spread with cashew butter and dotted with sliced bananas that he calls a Banana Cashew Wrap. I've always really enjoyed Dr. Fuhrman's recipes and was quite surprised by this first offering of the week since it was kind of strange. Fortunately the combo of cashew butter and banana is not too bad so it was edible so it kept it out of the horrible category so it gets a C.

Apparently I didn't read today's recipes well enough since I fell a bit short with some of the ingredients. This is quite obvious for our lunch of Veggie Garbanzo Wrap. This is a lovely salad of tomato, avocado, cucumber and garbanzo beans. I ended up not having the can of garbanzo beans I thought I had tucked back in the pantry. I substituted a can of lentil which wasn't too bad. So, the plan is to spread a thin coating of tahini on a tortilla and then scoop the veggie mix on the tortilla. It was quite delish so I will give it a B.

For dinner we have a lot to eat!  Dr. Fuhrman is not an advocate of snacking as he contends people eat way too often and almost never experience real hunger. It was hard to eat all of the food on the menu for tonight. All the recipes are for 4 to 8 servings so I've tried to reduce them to one to two servings and hope I'm not over eating. So for dinner there's a nice green salad with an unusual but very nice tasting Pistachio Dressing made of pistachios, lemon juice, flax seed, mustard, soy sauce, garlic and a date. I give this a B.

While downing the salad we have a wonderful vegetable soup cooking made of tomato soup, carrot juice, tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, onions, basil and garlic. A trick that Dr. Fuhrman uses with a lot of his soups is puree of cashews as a thickener vs. using cream to make soup thick and creamy. Garnished with a few pine nuts- this is a terrific, terrific soup. Very, very tasty and I'll definitely make this again and again. It definitely gets an A from me.

Finally, for dessert - and I hardly felt like I needed anything more to eat - there is Strawberry, blueberry and bananas with something he calls Strawberry Dressing.  The dressing consists of some strawberries, a couple of dates and some almond milk. Pretty much a strawberry shake. It tastes good but seems superfluous to me to put something sweet on a bowl of fruit. But that's just me - if you usually sugar your fruit perhaps you'd like this as a substitute that's more healthy. I give this a B.

Here's today's summary:

Name Category Diet Day Page number   Rating
Banana Cashew Wrap Breakfast Eat For Health One 111 C
Veggie Garbanzo Wrap Eat For Health One 249 B
Pistachio Dressing Dressing Eat For Health One 138 B
Veg and Bean Soup Soup Eat For Health One 179 A
Strawberry Dressing Dessert Eat For Health One 160 B

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