Red Meat and Cancer

By now you’ve probably heard the piece of news stirring up controversy on every corner of the web. But just in case you haven’t, I’ll gladly share the memo with you: the World Health Organization just classified red meat as carcinogenic. You read that right. One of the most powerful international health agencies just placed eating red meat in the same cancer-causing level as asbestos and smoking tobacco.

If you’re a resident of a Western hemisphere, you know that this news is probably not going to be received well by most of our meat-loving friends and family. Lest they counter with the notion that animal consumption is a hallmark of the developed world, the U.S. government also affirmed the benefits of a plant-based diet earlier this year.

I’m thrilled that these influential organizations have used their platforms to promote plant-based eating. Food is indeed fuel for our bodies. But it’s also one of the very best ways to protect our health and safeguard the Planet each and every day. So thank you, WHO and other agencies, for disrupting and renegotiating the way we think about food.

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4 Items to Always Have in the Kitchen

Putting together a meal can be a struggle when you’re caught in the fast pace of our busy lives. To be sure I’m never without the the basics for a healthy meal no matter the time of day, here are four essentials I always have on hand:

oatmeal to the rescue

oatmeal to the rescue

1. Oatmeal: Instant or old-fashioned oats are perfect for breakfast, or even lunch and dinner when you’re really in a pinch. Oats are ideal for busy mornings because all you need to cook them in is water. You can dress up your oatmeal with whatever you have on hand; berries, dried fruits, nuts, or seeds. Full of protein and fiber, oatmeal is your best bet when you’ve got just a minute to get out the door.
2. Frozen vegetables: Some days you come home and all you see in your vegetable compartment is a wilting bunch of green onions. Keep a bag of frozen spinach, broccoli or mixed vegetables in your freezer so that you always have a vegetable on hand.
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3. Beans: Beans combined with a frozen vegetable from above come together to create a healthy, filling meal when dinner is the last thing on your mind. I like to have both canned and dry on hand, but canned beans are especially nice to have when all you can think about is satisfying your growling tummy after 10 hours in the office.
4. Grains: My favorite grain is quinoa because it’s filling and tastes yummy all on its own. White or brown rice is an excellent substitute if you prefer. Grains are a blank slate to serve up with some spices, a can of soup, or a side of sweet potatoes.
A final bonus is that you can stock up on each of these items when they’re on sale.
There you have my four essentials for plant-based living. Which items are you sure to have in your kitchen each day?

Getting Classy with Pomegranate

Yesterday my Dad made my heart soar when he texted me a picture of his lunch. I imagined him, chest puffed with pride, at the beautiful meal he had created for himself. And I had to give him credit–it really was a work of art:

Wouldn’t you agree?
food imitates art

food imitates art

Look carefully at the picture. There’s something there that really just pulls the whole meal together and takes it to next level. Sure, the home made taco shell adds a fantastic touch, but I’d say it’s those ruby gems that just class it up even more.

Pomegranate seeds are so elegant. Do you think so, too? Not overly saccharine, but bursting with flavor, we should make more use of them. I love eating them by the spoonfuls after someone who loves me very much (hi Mom and Dad!) has done the hard work of freeing the little seeds from their shell.
But have you ever tossed them into a salad? Into a taco bowl? Sprinkled some over your oatmeal? These glass-like beauties really elevate your dish. They turn everyday meals into a sparkling celebration. Pomegranate seeds are Nature’s gift of confetti.
How do you dress up your meals? I’d love to know!

Sweet Potato is Your Fall Bae

Crunchy leaves. Later sunrises. Fall is here to stay, no doubt about it. I’m not going to lie and say I’m super pumped about the sudden chill–summer is my favorite season. It’s in my blood. I’m a desert rat what can I say?

If I had to pick one thing to be excited about for the cooler days ahead, though, it would surely be hanging out in the kitchen warmed by an oven cooking a delicious meal. And what might be inside that oven, you’re probably wondering, that could be so delicious?
Subtle yet dazzling. Muted but bold. What could it be?
Sweet potato, that’s what! This fall you’ll want to eat as much of it as you can get your hands on. Here’s why:
The nutritional value of this root vegetable is out the roof. Every vitamin you could imagine, sweet potato’s got you covered. A few of the benefits you’ll gain from eating one of these babies–potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, and Fiber. That alone makes up for the summery fruit you’ll be missing in colder days.
They are incredibly versatile. I mean just think about the possibilities. Sweet potato chips, mashed sweet potato, sweet potato curry…the list goes on! Whatever you’re in the mood for, sweet potato will be there for you. This brings me to my last point…
How can you resist this face?

How can you resist this face?

They ooze warmth. Indeed, sweet potato is best served warm. They very act of preparing it to eat requires you to heat it in some way, whether over the stove, or in the oven. However you choose to prepare it, eat it right away. Sweet potato will warm your frozen heart in no time.
What are your favorite ways to prepare sweet potato this fall?

The Not-So-Glam Vegan

The New York Times recently published a story about a vegan family set in their beautifully breezy home in California. Over a plate of artfully arranged beet ravioli complete with aged cashew cheese, the author asserts that a plant-based diet has become less stigmatized as a proclivity of the hippie dippie type, and become more “glam,” like an ephemeral fashion trend. Say what?

The truth is though, that neither of these representations could be further from the truth.

Veganism isn’t just a personal hobby–it is a lifestyle dedicated to safeguarding the Earth’s, animals, and our own health. The underlying basics of plant-based eating are decidedly not glamorous. Legumes, vegetables, and grains comprise the poor (wo)man’s diet.

If I eat these carrot sticks in a really cool way, will I be glam?

Maybe this really yellow lighting will make me and my carrot stick look glam?

Who is the real face of a vegan diet? It is you! The overtired student-athlete, the superhero stay at home dad of three children, the hardworking young professional, and the retiree, enjoying hard earned freedom. What are the dishes you enjoy each day? I bet they’re something like:

  • black beans and wild rice
  • toast and sliced avocado
  • quinoa and sweet potato
  • seared tofu and sautéed spinach
  • pasta and fresh marinara with basil

Sure it’s nice to enjoy a gourmet dish of nut cheese nachos, but the staples of our diets are wholesome and delicious in themselves. Veganism is accessible, tasty, simple and enjoyed by the most diverse arch of global citizens.