Lentil Recipes – The First Mess

Attention readers: I take no credit for these recipes and I do not get compensated for highlighting this or any other blogger’s work on my site. This is another Giant Electronic Sticky Note that serves as a reminder to try these recipes because I love lentils.

Here’s the link: https://thefirstmess.com/2021/10/08/lentil-recipes/

Laura Wright is a vegan cookbook author and blogger based in the Niagara region of southern Ontario, Canada. She just posted a link to 25+ of her lentil recipes which can be accessed at https://thefirstmess.com/. I have linked to Laura’s earlier collections 25 Vegan Soup Recipes – the First Mess and 25 Vegan Chickpea Recipes – The First Mess. Oops I almost forgot about 20 Sweet Potato Recipes – The First Mess too.

I’m at the age where I need more Giant Electronic Sticky Notes to remember stuff. I need reminders and other mental prompts to tell me I own Laura’s cookbook and need to fix some of her recipes. This post makes four Giant Electronic Sticky Note reminders to myself to expand my vegan and vegetarian meals beyond my world famous Wheat Germ Veggie Burgers.

Which reminds me. I should post my latest Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew experiment. (If my chickpea stew is not a link that means I’ve not posted it yet).

Keep a Journal (not just about food)

“Keep a diary or journal. Record your reflections on your life experience in a journal. You will find this simple practice to be invaluable in your quest for wisdom.”

Warren Bennis (March 8, 1925 – July 31, 2014) was the distinguished professor of business administration and founding chairman of the Leadership Institute at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. He has advised several U.S. presidents and more than 150 CEOs. Bennis is author or coauthor of more than 20 books on leadership, change, and management.

The spirit of the writer is different from the spirits of other artists. Writers are quirkier. Maybe not as quirky as painters or the artist who builds things out of toothpicks. These artists qualify as top of the heap quirky. The spirit of the writer who has lost 200 pounds and kept (most of it) off for nearly 50 years also qualifies for top of the heap quirky. The Digital Truth Machine display showed 176 one week ago. So I went to my journal searching for the raw truth. Well, I found things like “the weather got hot back home in Oklahoma and there’s nothing like a really cold beer on a hot day…” Trouble in Paradise.

I didn’t realize just how many bad habits I allowed back into my life. My own words should have been enough to make me stop and change. But knowing what to do and actually doing it are two different things… Before our Colorado trip I was 168.

7/18
Last night M&M’s and some chocolate drizzled popcorn. I woke up this morning tipping the scale at 170. I’m not sure how much longer I can cheat like this and not gain any weight but I’m sure enjoying whatever time I have before I need to start restricting certain foods and drinks.

8/19
Well maybe I need to hit the panic button. Last night I snacked, drank beer and managed to stay clear of ice cream. Surprisingly I am lighter this morning and I feel fairly thin despite my lack of willpower. After a year of stringent measures I lack the discipline to avoid beer. Again, if it’s not in the house it’s much easier to avoid consumption. Lesson learned, over and over again.

8/22
It’s been nearly three months since our Colorado vacation where I abandoned all self-discipline and started drinking beer again. I managed to put on three pounds last month while boasting that my weight hadn’t changed a month ago. I’m not close to hitting the panic button but we all know why I’m gaining weight.

8/23
I put on four pounds in less than a week.

On 9/11 I hit The Panic Button.

Let’s count how many Gary’s Rules for Weight Loss got ignored. Eat only when hungry. Portion control. Snack but not too much and only healthier foods. Beer, sugary and other things you shouldn’t have in the house got into the house. My journal and fading memory produced the following list of what I did to myself: dairy whole milk, full fat yogurt, beer, wine, Cheez-Its, peach cobbler, potato chips, beer, granola bars, M&M’s, cookies, cakes, brownies, beer, AND a half gallon of ice cream that was purchased for a Tiny Human visit that ultimately got consumed by the Big Human. I had stopped keeping a food journal. There might have been other food and drink that I’ve forgotten about.

Welcome to my world. I need to ensure the new suit I just bought for a wedding in November won’t require alterations.

20 Sweet Potato Recipes – The First Mess

Laura Wright is a vegan cookbook author and blogger based in the Niagara region of southern Ontario, Canada. She just posted a link to 20 of her sweet potato recipes which can be accessed at https://thefirstmess.com/. I have linked to Laura’s earlier collections 25 Vegan Soup Recipes – the First Mess and 25 Vegan Chickpea Recipes – The First Mess.

A gentle reminder to my readers. I take no credit for these recipes and Laura isn’t compensating me for this post. This is another Giant Sticky Note that serves as a reminder to try these recipes because I love sweet potatoes too.

Here’s the link https://thefirstmess.com/2021/08/11/sweet-potato-recipes/

Have fun! I constantly remind myself I own Laura’s cookbook and need to fix some of her recipes. This post makes three Giant Sticky Note reminders to myself to expand my vegan and vegetarian meals beyond my world famous Wheat Germ Veggie Burgers.

Vegetarian Journal – 2021 Issue 2 – Scientific Update

One study focused on almost 9,000 breast cancer survivors and asked the women about their diet every four years after their diagnosis. Over the follow-up period, averaging 11.5 years, women who ate more fruits and vegetables and women who ate more vegetables had a lower risk of dying from any cause than did women with lower intakes of these foods. Women with the highest intakes of vegetables and fruits averaged 7.4 servings per day; those with the lowest intake averaged 2.2 servings per day.

Farvid MS, Holmes MD, Chen WY, et al. Postdiagnostic fruit and vegetable consumption and breast cancer survival: prospective analyses in the Nurses’ Health Studies. Cancer Res. 2020;80(22):5134-5143.

Total fruit and vegetable intake was associated with a reduced risk of frailty with those averaging seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily having a lower risk than those averaging fewer than three servings a day. Leafy green vegetables, yellow and orange vegetables, and apples and pears were specific fruits and vegetables associated with a lower risk.

Fung TT, Struijk EA, Rodriguez-Artalejo F, Willett WC, Lopez-Garcia E. Fruit and vegetable intake and risk of frailty in women 60 years old or older. Am J Clin Nutr. 2020 [published online ahead of print].

The quotes above are just two of the studies profiled in the Vegetarian Journal’s most recent scientific update. Unfortunately the citations are not links to the original studies. Here is the link to the full Vegetarian Journal Scientific Update:

https://www.vrg.org/journal/vj2021issue2/2021_issue2_scientific_update.php

Eat your vegetables!

Random Thoughts – July 2021

Monday 7/5

“We can’t escape from the fact of our eating; no matter what, we are killing living things so that we can live ourselves. If it’s not an animal, it’s a plant or something else.”

Deborah Madison is a chef, writer, and author of 13 celebrated vegetarian cookbooks, including the modern classic Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

Today is the 5th of July and I have the day off from work. Yesterday was the real 4th of July holiday which was celebrated in a typical American fashion, a cook out by the pool. I didn’t have to cook which made the fourth a special fourth for me. I know how much work and preparation goes into hosting a large gathering and my heartfelt thanks go out to our relatives in Claremore, OK.

The morning started with a little tree trimming in the yard followed by some deep thoughts no one should have on the Fourth of July. Reminder to all who read this: these are random thoughts. If I lose you, just stop reading.

The level of personal indiscipline since leaving Colorado has been astoundingly high. In plain English my diet has regressed. The rules and lists I’ve crafted over the years were not adhered to since coming back from the Rockies. I blame Colorado. The State of Craft Beer https://www.coloradocraftbrews.com/colorado-breweries/ overwhelmingly managed to delete the #1 item on my Do Not Have It in the House list. Beer is back in the house.

The folks in Colorado make real good beer. The Mountain Man and his Colorado Girl keep plenty of the good stuff in their fridge. Pizza out twice during the trip meant more good craft beers. We also stopped at Casey Brewing in Glenwood Springs, which is the only brand name I remember. Back home I continued the Colorado theme with some Odell and Blue Moon. As I’ve done for years I am monitoring my weight daily. I need to. See my previous post Consistent self-monitoring of weight: a key component of successful weight loss maintenance — Random Thoughts 01.02.21. To repeat myself – There’s beer in the house.

Abandoning old habits is hard especially when the old habit is just so damn satisfying. But if you want (or need) to lose weight you must change your habits. Colorado was fun and a lot of old habits crept back into my routine. I shouldn’t be surprised that some of those habits are still sticking around. The weather got hot back home in Oklahoma and there’s nothing like a really cold beer on a hot day…

One of the books I’ve been reading is Aging as a Spiritual Practice by Lewis Richmond, a Buddhist priest and meditation teacher. I’m nearly halfway through the book and it’s exactly what you’d expect from a Buddhist priest and meditation teacher. But every now and then we all need stark reminders of the obvious which we tend to forget about. Richmond reminded me of the value of being flexible.

“I hate when people say they want to go plant based or give up meat. But won’t mind eating chicken, eggs and bacon. I need to find vegan friends.”

Anonymous Twitter user

Flexibility, honest respect for differences in opinion, and critical thinking skills all seem to be in short supply, especially in younger generations who have become willing victims of confirmation bias on social media platforms. Maybe if they spent more time reading books…

So before you label me a hypocrite I have created a new list called Things That Are OK to Have in the House and BEER IS BACK. Food and drink that get put on this list are subject to swift removal if the trend-line on the Truth Machine takes a sharp turn to the north. Yet even after a month of indiscipline the number stands at 170. Check back next month for the next exciting installment of my lifelong struggle.

Postscript

Deborah Madison is not and never was a vegetarian. She wrote vegetarian cookbooks. Flexibility!

Veggie Burrito Spice Blend

Spice Blend for Veggie Burritos

2 tsp chili powder – 1 tsp cumin – 1 tsp smoked paprika – 1/2 tsp coriander 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper 1 tsp garlic powder

Chickpea and Broccoli Burrito — https://www.badmanners.com/recipes/roasted-chickpea-and-broccoli-burrito

This blend of spices is literally stolen from the chefs at https://www.badmanners.com/. The last time I took a theme on a spice blend the author tracked me down and threatened something close to legal action if I didn’t give her credit and a link to her website. So this time around I’m giving credit AND three links. I’m also not going to write down any instructions for making a roasted vegetable and chickpea filling for burritos. I suggest you go to the original recipe at https://www.badmanners.com/recipes/roasted-chickpea-and-broccoli-burrito if you need detailed instructions.

My Tips, Hints, and not too Secret Secrets

A really good tortilla makes all the difference. But today I’m going to wrap this filling in a Greek style whole wheat pita for lunch. I tend to roast vegetables for at least 40 minutes with a good stir midway through to prevent sticking. You can also add more olive oil at this point too. I hope I have a lime in the fridge. The last time I made this filling The Boss used it as a topping for a Taco Salad. She liked it. I hope she was telling the truth because when you cook up a pound of dried chickpeas it is a LOT of chickpeas. One cup dried will produce between 6 and 7 cups of beans. I used about 4 cups for today’s mix. The other 3 cups went into a Sweet Potato and Chickpea Stew (no link yet, recipe is still in draft form).

I used some metal pie pans as roasting pans because I didn’t want to use the big pan which is a pain in the ass to clean because of its size. Preheat your pan(s) before roasting. I leave the mixing bowl uncleaned and use it again once the veggies are roasted and done. Let the mixture cool for a bit, toss everything back into this bowl, mix well again to capture the spices that have stuck to the bowl and then adjust your seasonings.

Postscript

No lime. I used lemon instead.

I wasn’t kidding about using pie pans.

5 Fruits and Veggies a Day May Be Optimal for the Greatest Mortality Benefit

Five servings of fruits and vegetables a day — in particular, three vegetables and two fruits — provide the greatest mortality benefit, according to an observational study and meta-analysis in Circulation.

Researchers analyzed results from the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Over 100,000 people regularly completed food-frequency questionnaires and were followed for up to 30 years. During that time, nearly a third of participants died.

After multivariable adjustment, the greatest mortality benefit was seen for five servings of produce a day, compared with two servings (hazard ratio, 0.88). Eating more than five servings a day was not associated with greater risk reductions.

5 Fruits & Veggies a Day May Be Optimal in Terms of Survival — https://www.jwatch.org/fw117568/2021/03/01/5-fruits-veggies-day-may-be-optimal-terms-survival

There is a link to download the original study on the NEJM Journal Watch page. The discussion section of the study is worth reading if you’re interested in the details.

Is Fast Food Healthier When It’s Plant-Based?

As a nutrition journalist, I find the whole trend a little baffling. The number of Americans who follow a vegetarian diet hasn’t changed much in recent decades. In fact, adult vegetarians in the U.S. dropped from 6 percent of the population to 5 percent between 1999 and 2019, according to a Gallup poll.

Is Fast Food Healthier When It’s Plant-Based? — https://www.outsideonline.com/2420371/is-plant-based-fast-food-healthier?utm_source=pocket-newtab

Spoiler Alert – the answer is no. The entire article is still worth reading despite me giving you the answer to the question.

Fast food is fast food whether it’s “plant-based” or contains animal products. There will always be lots of salt and saturated fat for your dining pleasure. It might be time to take another look at my list of foods I No Longer Eat just to see how much fast food is on that list.

The Challenge to Stay Active During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Certain COVID-19 measures, including the closure of sport and exercise facilities, as well as remote working practices can lead to sedentary behaviors for both young and old. With less outdoor activity and more indoor time, people reported turning to comfort foods and “pandemic baking.” In fact, grocery stores struggled to keep up with the demand for flour. Dr. John Morton, Medical Director of Bariatric Surgery at Yale New Haven Health Systems, says that during telehealth appointments, he has seen patients who have gained 5-30 pounds [5].

Physical Health, Obesity, and the Challenge to Stay Active During the COVID-19 Pandemic — https://www.rgare.com/knowledge-center/media/covid-19/physical-health-obesity-and-the-challenge-to-stay-active-during-the-covid-19-pandemic

Author Disclaimer – The quote and article link above have been sourced from my employer and is not a shameless act of self-promotion. The paragraphs following this disclaimer are indeed a shameless act of self-promotion to generate interest in purchasing my future best seller which is currently a work in progress.

I have lost over 20 pounds during The Great Pandemic Year One.

Boom.