Hello friends!

Emma, my 19-year old niece came to visit us in London this summer.  Her love of animals led her to become a vegetarian 8 years ago.  We zoomed around the city together on our bikes and enjoyed delicious veg-friendly meals at Plant Matter Kitchen and The Root Cellar along the way before wrapping up on the last day with a trip to Boom Box Bakery for a splurge on scrumptious vegan cupcakes!  I am so excited for Millennials like Emma  who seem to be picking up and running with veg-focused eating. Keep reading for reasons to include more plants in your diet!

“So how do you get your protein?”

Walter Willett, Chair of Harvard’s Nutrition department, stated plant protein is preferable to animal protein because food is a package deal.

  • Plant protein is associated with lower rates of heart disease and lower cholesterol.  All plants naturally contain protein and come packaged with fiber and phytonutrients.
  • Animal protein is associated with diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and cancer.  All animal products naturally contain protein and come packaged with saturated fat and cholesterol (no fibre, minimal phytonutrients).

On average, people who eat a plant-based diet have significantly higher levels of protein plasma in their blood. In fact, vegetarians and vegans get 70% more protein than the required daily intake.  Experts today agree that 40 to 60 grams of protein per day is plenty.  And there is no need to combine our plant based foods in a certain way due to amino acid content.

Even if you are not a fan of beans or lentils, you can still get lots of protein from nuts, seeds and whole grains.

To review evidence behind recommendations to focus on plant proteins, check out the book Proteinaholic by Garth Davis, MD, these short videos on nutritionfacts.org, or Dr. Willett’s article (Skerrett PJ, Willett WC. Essentials of healthy eating: a guide. J Midwifery Womens Health. 2010 Nov-Dec;55(6):492-501).

Oh She Glows Everyday

As you may know, the first Oh She Glows cookbook contains many of my favorite recipes.  I am so excited that this follow-up is now available!  You can get it on-line for only $20.  Thanks to Leah for lending me her copy!  The Creamy Thai Carrot Sweet Potato Soup is divine.  And I can’t wait to try Go-To Gazpacho with Wayne’s garden tomatoes.

21-Day Vegan Kickstart

If you want to give vegan eating a try but would like some support, join more than 480,000 people who have participated in this free online program. The 21-Day Vegan Kickstart runs from the 1st to the 21st of each month.

You’ll receive:

  • The 21-Day Meal Plan: Delicious and easy recipes with step-by-step photos to guide you through the process.
  • Daily Messages: Advice from nutrition experts delivered to your inbox.
  • Coach Tips: Celebrities, healthcare professionals, and athletes provide diet and lifestyle tips.

Neal Barnard, MD is the President of The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.  I am a huge fan of his work and everything his organization represents.  And this kickstart program was recommended by another giant in the field, Michael Greger, MD.

Chickpea and Squash Burgers

Thanks to Alenka for this latest addition to my collection:  Chickpea and Squash Burgers.  They not only taste great, but they are nutrition powerhouses and freeze well.  Consider stocking up on them for busy days ahead. I eat them without the bun, but with hot sauce along with a side dish.

1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 tbsp sesame oil
3 tbsp tamari or low-sodium soy sauce
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and grated
1 (540 mL) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 kale leaves, minced
1 cup grated butternut squash
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
3/4 cup almond flour or ground almonds (I ground almonds in the blender)
1/2 tsp salt

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.  Saute onion, garlic and ginger in 1 tbsp sesame oil and 2 tbsp tamari sauce over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until onion becomes slightly transparent..
3.  Add celery and carrots; cook just until soft, about 8 minutes.  Transfer to a large bowl.
4.  In the meantime, puree the chickpeas with remaining 1 tbsp each tamari sauce and sesame oil in a food processor, then add mixture to the sauteed vegetables.
5.  Stir in kale, squash, flaxseed, almond flour and salt.  (If batter feels too wet to form patties, add a little more flour.)
6.  Keeping hands moist, form into 8 patties and place on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.
7.  Bake for 30 minutes, then remove from oven and flip.  Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes until patties are lightly browned and slightly firm.  Serve with your favourite burger fixings.