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    • @XtreemLee Wow. What an amazing reflection on your life! Thanks for sharing. Sorry I am so late to the conversation.

      I just read a fascinating article in The New Yorker about the extreme challenges of getting off psychiatric meds and how it messes with emotions (and lots of other things). Reading the account of your experience makes me want to post a link here.

    • So, I resurrected this thread because I’m curious about the “rules” of plant-based whole foods. How is PBWF different than “vegetarian,” “vegan,” etc.?

      BTW, I am *awful* at food prep and cooking. Seems the longer I spend preparing food, the less I enjoy eating it when it’s finally ready. After reading so many PBWF comments here on Cake, I decided to try a box from HungryRoot this week. (I have happily lived on boxed-ingredient meals for many months for many reasons.) The food came today, and — *no recipes!?!* The instructions say to mix-and-match to your own taste! Hmmm... This is different...!

      I guess I better find copies of Forks over Knives and Thug...

    • Would you mind sharing what the food items were that you received? There was a cooking show on Minnesota Public Radio where people would call in with a few ingredients they had on hand and the host would have to come up with an amazing dish on the fly. I’m aware of your aversion to mise en place (food prep) and I’d be up for the challenge of coming up with a meal that provides an outsized return on your time. Tonight I made barbecue chicken; grilled string beans, baby red peppers 🌶 and yellow squash; and curried roasted sweet potatoes.

    • Impressive!

      (Can’t wait to see how much poundage you’ve lost on Monday. Heh. 😈)

      Left to right, top to bottom:

      Garlicky herb chickpea duo

      Black bean brownie batter (cooked some up tonight—pretty yummy)

      Plantain linguini

      Kale pesto

      Thai peanut sauce

      Super blend salad - brussel sprouts, cabbage, kohlrabi, broccoli, carrots, kale (I think this will be tastier as a sauté w sauce...)

      Braised lemongrass tofu nuggets

      Shaved brussel sprouts

      Cauliflower rice

      Hot smoked roasted salmon

    • The most important thing is to have good product: wilted tomatoes are best tossed in the trash.  Looking at your list and the photo, it looks like you have some great ingredients.

      I usually try to start my meal plan with one ingredient in mind and then I add other stuff that will work with it.  Usually I start with a protein in mind, but an interesting vegetable works as well. You mentioned the super food salad and a sautée so let’s start with that and play around with it.  

      I’m thinking sautéeing the mix with fresh sliced garlic and a dried herb might work well.  I’m feeling rustic so I’m thinking rosemary or thyme. If we pre-cook some quartered red potatoes in the microwave for five minutes, we can add them to the sauté to avoid another pot or roasting pan to clean.  I like to sauté with extra light olive oil since its flavorless and has a high burn temperature, but canola oil is another good option. Typically, I will cook chopped up vegetables on medium, add a couple tablespoons of water (4 tablespoons equals a ¼ cup) and then cover for twenty five minutes.   Or you can cook on medium high, but you need to keep more of an eye on it and stir more frequently, say every five minutes until the Brussel Sprouts have some browning on them.

      A very cool piece of cooking equipment I own is a fairly large circular grill pan [1],  It adds grill marks and excess liquid stays below the veg, creating a grill/steam effect.

      So we have red potatoes and sautéed vegetables in a simple sauce of garlic, olive oil and rosemary.  Now we just need a protein. I looked up your Hot Smoked Roasted Salmon on their website and it is fully cooked [2].  When the vegetables and potatoes are done, turn it down to medium low, remove the cover and add another two tablespoons of water if it isn’t steaming when you remove the lid—this rarely happens.  Place the salmon on top of the mixture (don’t let it touch the pan), cover again and give it five minutes to warm up.

      *********

      Next, let’s use the Thai Peanut Sauce.  I would add it to the cauliflower rice and serve it with the lemongrass tofu: their website has great cooking instructions so I won’t recreate them [3].  We need an Asian veg mix to accompany it. Sautee a can of baby corn, a can of mushrooms, a half a bag of shredded carrots, and a sprinkle of ground ginger: cooking in Peanut oil is a plus.

      *********

      Next, the shaved Brussel Sprouts.  I would sauté with fresh sliced garlic.  Make the plantain linguine and toss with the Kale Pesto.  

      *******

      Finally, the chickpea salad.  It’s ready to eat and has both your protein and vegetables.  I would add some avocado to it. If you ate it without any carbs, you would have a nice vegan meal.

      [1] My grill pan is a 12-inch Calphalon non-stick. http://www.calphalon.com/en-US/calphalon-cookware/cookware-by-category/griddle-grill-pans/calphalon-classic-nonstick-12-in-round-grill-pan-ca-1932458

      [2] Food description of the salmon https://www.hungryroot.com/products/hot-smoked-roasted-salmon

      [3] Cooking instructions for Cauliflower rice https://www.hungryroot.com/products/cauliflower-rice

    • I am awestruck, @apm.

      Will take your suggestions to heart.

      Thank you for all the creativity and instruction. 🙏🏼

      (I am getting used to a new induction cooktop—it is taking me awhile to adjust to the differences...)

    • Next, let’s use the Thai Peanut Sauce.  I would add it to the cauliflower rice and serve it with the lemongrass tofu: their website has great cooking instructions so I won’t recreate them [3].  We need an Asian veg mix to accompany it. Sautee a can of baby corn, a can of mushrooms, a half a bag of shredded carrots, and a sprinkle of ground ginger: cooking in Peanut oil is a plus.

      Just fixed this for lunch. Two thumbs up! Thanks @apm!

    • Wow, what an article from The New Yorker that was! I didn't have time for an article that long, but I read it anyway. I even renewed my lapsing subscription after.

      I have very deep confidence in evidence that shows our most common health conditions — heart disease, type II diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity — are simply about diet. The only diet that has shown complete remission and prevention of heart disease and type II diabetes is a whole foods, plant-based diet. I know...those sound like over-the-top claims but I think the data shows them to be true beyond a reasonable doubt.

      However, the New Yorker article was about depression and psychiatric drugs. The studies I've seen seem to indicate that a whole plant foods diet combined with exercise is as effective as Prozac for depression. It makes intuitive sense that physical health would influence mental health.

      One sentence that caught my attention in the New Yorker article:

      Although leading medical journals asserted that barbiturate addiction was rare, within a few years it was evident that people withdrawing from barbiturates could become more anxious than they were before they began taking the drugs.

      I wonder how much that may be true with some other medications people are on for high blood pressure, cholesterol, high blood sugar, etc. 🤔

    • How is PBWF different than “vegetarian,” “vegan,” etc.?

      First, I admire you for taking the plunge and trying it! It was very foreign to me when I started. I had my doubts about cooking (I don't like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen) and I had spent my life eating comfort foods like macaroni & cheese. They were easy to prepare and my children loved them.

      To answer your question, vegan only means it doesn't come from an animal. It doesn't mean it's healthy. Cotton candy is vegan. Vegetarian usually means no meat or fish but could include dairy and eggs.

      Plant-based whole foods (PBWF) means part of the plant hasn't been removed (usually the fiber) and no partial plant material has been added (usually sugar). It makes it very simple. Virtually all plant-based whole foods are very healthy.

      Dr. Greger is my favorite doctor and he does a good job of explaining it all quickly:

    • I have wondered the same thing, @Chris. I stood by and supported my eldest son when he decided to get off Adderall after taking it for more than fifteen years (prescribed for ADD). The withdrawal was hellish; it took nearly *a year.* He literally holed up in a small room and could barely get out of bed for months. It was awful. He thinks of it as “the lost year.”

      I felt terrible because as his parent, I had followed the advice of doctors who explained ADD was just like having bad eyesight—you give the kid Adderall so he can function, just like you would get your kid a pair of prescription glasses if he was near-or far-sighted. Oy. “It’s just a chemical imbalance.” Grrr.

    • So adding sauces (sour cream, ranch dressing, butter, etc.) is OK—just make sure the focus is on the healthy (whole) vegetables/fruits? Or is it a bad idea to add those flavors/sauces?

    • Unfortunately, the arithmetic is not good. We like to think a Ceasar salad, for example, is healthy because lettuce. If you actually calculate all the calories from the toppings, however, the lettuce ends up being like 50 calories out of 470. The rest is refined fat with sugar and salt and flavoring. Yummy but hard on health.

      Unfortunately, we're wired for potency and refined foods give us potency much higher than nature gives by combining sugar, fat and salt. Dressings are notorious for it.

      I buy the dressings from Forks Over Knives and take a bottle when we go out to dinner at Sweet Tomatoes:

    • Ugh, I'm so sorry. I'm sure I would have been diagnosed with ADD as a kid and probably now too, but I think of it as my personality. I hyperfocus on things that interest me and can't focus on what bores me. We had two sons like that and they run SmugMug and Flickr today.

    • So adding sauces (sour cream, ranch dressing, butter, etc.) is OK—just make sure the focus is on the healthy (whole) vegetables/fruits? Or is it a bad idea to add those flavors/sauces?

      Some people will tell you that you can replace sour cream with non-fat yogurt but that’s just bullshit, IMHO. If I’m having a baked potato it’s going to have sour cream AND butter on it. Since doing that on a frequent basis would kill me, I instead roast sweet potatoes/red potatoes/baby creamer potatoes in olive oil, garlic and dried herbs. I don’t miss the sour cream or butter because it would be superfluous to those dishes.

      I am not a vegetarian but I do eat at least a couple vegetarian meals a week. I don’t eat ground beef, so to make spaghetti with “fake” meatballs is enjoyable comfort food, especially if you add some red wine to the tomato sauce and serve it all with a side of Texas Toast or garlic bread. Morningstar is a consistently good vegetarian brand—we buy their fake bacon to make BLTs—but there’s plenty of other alternatives to try.

      I am also an ex-ranch-o-holic. Think ranch dressing drenching a small bowl of greens. Now, I eat a large bowl of salad (peppery Arugula, baby spinach, green onion, tomatoes, fresh mushrooms, or some variation), a shake or two of Parmesan cheese from the “green can” and a splash of Italian Dressing (the non-creamy version). The flavor is amazing and adding ranch would kill it.

      The above is probably not the gold standard of healthy eating, but I like eating strategies that I can stick with over the “eliminate everything tasty because it will kill you” approach.

    • Thanks for the suggestion. I noticed the peanut thai sauce I used at lunch has 170 calories in 2 T., but when I put some with the cauliflower rice, I realized it was really powerful! I could not have eaten 2 T. of that stuff in one sitting, so I guess that’s good. 😬

    • I bake a sweet potato instead of a plain potato. Then I’m not tempted to smother it with all that yummy stuff—it’s good all by itself.

    • Here’s one of my cheats and what I had for dinner. I buy these Amy’s bowls for when there is no time but to throw something in the microwave.

      Delicious. Cheap. Healthy. No animals tortured. No planets trashed.

    • At the end of the book you recommended, there is an appendix that lists recommended packaged foods. Ha! For someone like me who is not particularly interested in food prep, that spoke to me. Heh. Amy’s products appear often on that list.

    • Dude! I had the Tofu Scramble last night—Amy’s is also my goto meal when I get home late. I usually eat a huge bowl of salad with the meal to feel full after dinner and avoid evening snacking: 340 calories for their typical dinner leaves me a little hungry if that’s all I eat.

    • That’s my biggest problem, snacking in the evening or waking up hungry in the night, especially if I run late in the day. An Amy’s bowl is not enough for me either but especially when I run.