Health For Today
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November 2, 2017

I had been looking for a way to make tamales with no added refined fats for a long time. I've made vegan tamales for years now, but always adding either oil or Earth Balance margarine, which I thought was the "healthier" option. And it probably is a lot healthier than the original version with lard and meat.

However, lately I have really eliminated oil from my own diet and even reworked all my recipes in my cookbooks to reflect that. Oil is such a refined, processed food, devoid of all fiber and nutrients, that I have a hard time recommending it anymore. Even with the traces of vitamins some oils have, their nutritional value pales in comparison to the less processed, more natural sources of healthy fats, such as nuts, seeds and avocados.

But I was really convinced in my mind you simply couldn't make tamales without refined fats such as oil or shortening. I had never heard of such a thing. I was convinced the refined fat is what gave the tamales their texture, which otherwise might end u...

October 30, 2017

Minestrone is one of the most perfect soups to consume on a chilly, cloudy fall day. Of course, this soups is actually perfect any other time of the year too! But as the weather cools down, days become shorter, and we start thinking about the upcoming holidays, this recipe seems to be more attractive than ever.

My version is a fully whole-food, plant-based recipe. I use only unrefined, unprocessed or minimally processed ingredients, including whole-grain pasta and brown rice. I also add a lot of fresh vegetables, so that when consuming this soup, you might be able to get at least a full serving of vegetables. With the added beans, which provide good quality proteins, and complex carbohydrates, this minestrone soup can actually be considered a "complete" meal. 

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced 

2 medium carrots, sliced

2 celery stalks, sliced 

½ cups of water or vegetable broth

1 small potato with skin, cubed 

⅓ cup dry whole wheat pasta

1 cup of cup cooked brown...

July 13, 2017

This "dreamy" coconut tapioca pudding is my favorite dessert at my favorite restaurant: Dharma's Restaurant in Capitola, CA. Dharma's is a vegetarian restaurant with a lot of vegan dishes that are simply delicious. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't share their recipes even if I asked, so I decided to come up with my own version of their tapioca pudding based on the flavors I could detect. I think the result is pretty close!! My family agrees :)

For a very rich and creamy pudding you can use the "culinary" coconut milk (the canned variety), whereas the "pour-over-your-cereal" type will give you a lighter, lower-calorie version of this dessert. Either way the taste is fantastic.

I use Stevia as a sweetener because I'm pretty sure that is what Dharma's uses. If you use another type of natural sweetener, like maple syrup or agave, expect the color of the pudding to be somewhat darker. The taste will be good either way. However, make sure that if you do use Stevia, that you use the right amount,...

July 12, 2017

These completely gluten-free cookies are simply delicious. Even if you are not following a gluten-free diet, the fact that these cookies are made without any flour is also an advantage. Even whole grain flours are highly pulverized, which makes foods made with them higher in the glycemic index (that is, they get absorbed faster and therefore increase blood glucose faster).

The "surprise" ingredient in these cookies, as you will discover, are garbanzo beans, or chickpeas. Being high in fiber and resistant starch, like all legumes are, garbanzo beans are much better for suppressing hunger and helping to void blood glucose spikes.

The garbanzos are a surprisingly good substitute for flour in this recipe. The cookies come out soft and chewy, without the slightest hint that there are garbanzo beans in them. I use carob chips instead of chocolate chips in order to avoid the small amount of stimulants from the chocolate, but feel free to substitute with chocolate chips or raisins instead.

Enjoy!...

July 11, 2017

Cauliflower is almost everybody's favorite vegetable right now. It really is amazingly versatile. I have always liked cauliflower, but now that it is so much in vogue, I have run into new and ingenious ways to prepare it. From fried rice to Alfredo sauce, it's like you can make almost anything with it!

Here is my version of Cauliflower Fried Rice. As always, I make the easiest, quickest version possible, while still preserving great taste. Feel free to add any other vegetables or ingredients that will fit your taste.

Ingredients:

1 head of cauliflower, chopped very fine (by hand or with a food processor)

2 green onions, sliced

1 large carrot, shredded

1 cup broccoli, chopped very fine

½ to 1 cup vegetable broth

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon Bragg's Liquid Aminos or light soy sauce

Salt to taste

Sauté green onions and garlic with vegetable broth for 2 to 3 minutes. Add cauliflower and other vegetables, stir and cook until soft (5 to 6 minutes). Add Bragg's Liquid Aminos and salt to taste.

For...

July 10, 2017

This peanut sauce will have a fraction of the calories of regular peanut sauce, but retain all the flavor and creaminess. The best part of all: it is very easy and fast to make!! Pour it over your favorite noodles, stir fried vegetables, brown rice, etc. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons of powdered peanut butter (such as PB2  or Tru-Nut powdered peanut butter) reconstituted**

Approximately 1 tablespoon of water 

1/2 tablespoon of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or light soy sauce

1 tablespoon of your favorite natural sweetener (agave syrup, maple syrup or honey), or the equivalent amount of Stevia sweetener

** You can substitute the powdered peanut butter for regular peanut butter, of course, but the final product will not be low-fat.

Instructions:

Reconstitute the powdered peanut butter according to the instructions on the label. Add the Braggs Liquid Aminos and natural sweetener and mix well. Add 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of additional water to make the right consistency for a sauce. Add more Braggs or swe...

July 5, 2017

Beans are powerhouses of nutrition, fiber and flavor. Beans are also staple food for the longest living populations in the world and have been shown to help with the control of diabetes, heart disease, and to help control hunger.
 
This recipe of black beans is absolutely delicious and will help you incorporate black beans into your menu in a fun new way.

Ingredients:

4 a 5 cups of cooked black beans (or 3-15 oz. cans of low sodium black beans)
1 large onion, chopped fine
1 green or red bell pepper, chopped fine
2 to 3 cloves of garlic
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 to 2 bay leaf
1 tsp olive oil
Salt to taste

In a large pot, add the olive oil (which can be substituted with water or vegetable broth) and oil. Stir fry for one minute and add the bell pepper and garlic. Cook for a few more minutes until onion is tender.

Add beans, bay leaf, cumin and oregano, and salt if desired. When it starts boiling, lower heat and let it simmer for 15 more minutes. These beans can be served with brow...

July 4, 2017

One of the biggest concerns that many have when trying to lose weight or improve their health is that they feel that they cannot control what they eat because they struggle with food cravings. This is a very common problem in some of those I have advised in regards to nutrition. In most cases people who deal with food cravings are women, but that is not always the case.

There are several factors that may be influencing a person's food cravings. One of the most important is the nutrient density of the food we eat. Our modern diet is, unfortunately, very deficient in micronutrients (such as vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals), especially junk food or heavily processed foods. When we eat a diet based primarily on these foods, we might be getting enough calories, in fact maybe an excess of calories, but in most cases very few micronutrients. This results in the paradox of our modern society: obesity and malnutrition may occur in the same person. Yes, it is possible to be obese and malnou...

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