Thursday, June 19, 2008


Boy am I being a slacker. Another interjection:

Lately, I've been overloading on Omega-3's, because I don't think I was getting enough before. It's difficult to get as a vegan, so many soy products are fortified. Take those out of your diet and you're not left with many options. My suggestions include flax oil, milled flax seed, walnuts, and nutrition bars. I sneak milled flax seed into my cereal, sanwiches, even entrees. The taste is barely there, its low-fat and inexpensive. With 3-4 tablespoons of milled flax seed everyday, I am ingesting more than the recommended amount of around 1.5g (wikipedia). I think this is a good idea for the following reasons:

Omega-3's play a significant role in brain function because they are a major component of the brain--8 percent!--mostly in myelin sheaths. Recent research suggests that an increased intake of Omega-3's can help with depression, anxiety, and other mental issues like autism. (wikipedia)

Omega-3's are potentially beneficial for so many other conditions as well--circulation, cholesterol, etc.

I can tell the difference already in the condition of my hair and skin. My hair started behaving so much better--silky soft and not frizzy--just over a week after I started supplementation. Also, I have less dry skin, though this could be the weather. Still, I am encouraged by the obvious physical benefits.

Getting Omega-3's from plant sources is much safer than from animal products, for reasons all good vegans should be familiar with (growth hormones, mercury...). I would recommend adding a little flax seed to your diet, even if you aren't veg. Only the milled stuff though, as the whole seeds will not digest.
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Friday, June 6, 2008

Potato Latkes

I interrupt the series on snack bars to bring you a recipe I made last night. I adapted this from several sources and added a few things of my own. This can be a very low fat recipe; if you don't use oil to fry, they still taste great! An elaborated version of a traditional Jewish dish:

5 lbs russet potatoes
1 large onion
3-4 carrots
1 bunch scallions
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup matzo meal
1 t corn starch
1/2 t white pepper
3/4 t sage
salt to taste
oil, if desired

Put a large pot of water on the stove and set the heat to high to get it boiling before you're through with preparation. Peel potatoes. Shred the potatoes, onion, and carrots (I recommend a food processor for this). Have a strainer handy and dump all that you've just shredded into the now boiling water. If you'd like, add some salt to the water as this can help make things less starchy. Keep close watch over the veggies--test them frequently! Once they are almost cooked (very slightly chewy, around 3-5 minutes), remove them with a strainer and rinse them thoroughly under cold water to halt the cooking. This process of pre-cooking veggies is referred to as blanching.

Dry out the veggies you just blanched. I tried pressing some of the water out like other recipes suggested, but found this wasn't very effective. So, I just let my potato, onion, carrot mixture sit for an hour or so with occasional stirring.

Add the other ingredients (chop scallions first) and mix thoroughly. Measure out each pancake in a 1/4 cup measuring cup and fry in a pan over med-high heat. Use a spatula to flatten the pancakes. You may choose to use oil for frying, but they don't need it, so just watch them carefully. Cook on both sides until crispy brown.

Traditionally served with applesauce and sour cream. Tofutti sour cream is great for soy-happy vegans, but I used ketchup instead. Really, these have enough flavor on their own that they don't need condiments. I hope you enjoy!
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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Dr. Weil Bars by Nature's Path

Nature's Path

Taste: ***
Price: *

EXPENSIVE. But, damn tasty. I've been trying a lot of date bars for these blog posts and didn't expect anything new from Dr. Weil. However, the flavor of the Pistachi-Oh! bar was very different and delicious. Nutritional content varies somewhat from flavor to flavor, but for the most part the vitamins and minerals included are limited by simplicity of ingredients. I wish they didn't cost so much!
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