Eating a balanced and healthy Vegan Diet is often a challenge and to eat well takes planning. Most Vegans struggle with too many carbs and not enough protein, veggies and good fats. Here is the How and the Why so you can make better choices for you and your family.
You might remember Dr. Joel Fuhrman, the author of several NYT bestsellers, including the new classic Eat to Live, Dr. Fuhrman is a top thought-leader in the natural health space.
Below, the doctor lays out for us a day full of recipes based on a Healthy Gluten-Free Vegan Diet.
Menu: Swiss Cherry Oatmeal
Why: Steel-cut oats are rich in cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber, and low in glycemic load. Atherosclerosis (the buildup of plaque in the arteries) is accelerated by inflammation, and cherry phytochemicals have a unique anti-inflammatory effect; in human subjects, eating cherries was found to reduce inflammatory markers, such as C-reactive protein (CRP). In numerous human trials, adding flaxseeds to the diet has been found to lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
SWISS CHERRY OATMEAL
2 cups of water
1 cup old-fashioned or steel-cut oats
3/4 cup frozen cherries*
3/4 cup unsweetened soy, hemp or almond milk
2 Tbsp ground flax seed
1 Medjool date or 2 regular dates, pitted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped almonds
Heat water to boiling. Add oats and cook for 5 minutes. If using steel-cut oats, increase water to 4 cups and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender.
Meanwhile, place frozen cherries (or berries) milk, flaxseed and dates in a high powered blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
Combine oats, fruit mixture and vanilla. Cover and chill overnight. Serve topped with raisins and chopped almonds. Can be stored up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Menu: Cabbage, apple, and poppy seed slaw + Cuban black bean soup + garlic “mashed potatoes”
Why: This meal provides a double dose of cruciferous vegetables: cabbage in the slaw and cauliflower in the “potatoes.” In addition to having cancer-fighting properties, cruciferous vegetable phytochemicals also contribute to blood vessel health by helping to prevent binding of inflammatory cells to the vessel wall and inhibiting inflammatory gene expression and oxidative stress. Not surprisingly, regularly eating cruciferous vegetables is associated with a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Beans are an excellent carbohydrate source; they are low glycemic and are also high in soluble fiber, which helps the body dispose of cholesterol.
CABBAGE, APPLE AND POPPY SEED SLAW
For the slaw:
3 medium Granny Smith apples, coarsely grated
2 Tbsp lemon juice
8 cups shredded green cabbage (1 small head)
3 medium carrots, coarsely grated
4 green onions, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp poppy seeds
For the dressing:
1 cup soft tofu
1/2 cup soy, hemp or almond milk
1/4 cup Dr. Fuhrman’s Spicy Pecan Vinegar or apple cider vinegar
3 Medjool dates or 6 regular dates, pitted
black pepper, to taste
Toss grated apples with lemon juice. Combine with remaining slaw ingredients.
Blend dressing ingredients in a high-powered blender until smooth and creamy. Toss with slaw.
Menu: Better burgers + crispy baked eggplant fries + salad of romaine, arugula, red onion, and tomatoes with creamy Italian dressing + strawberries with almond chocolate dip for dessert
Why: Eating for heart health doesn’t mean you have to give up burgers – it’s easy to make your own nutrient-rich mushroom burgers. This meal features plenty of nuts: walnuts in the burgers, cashews in salad dressing, and almonds in the chocolate dip. Eating nuts and seeds regularly is an important and extensively studied heart-healthy habit, linked to a 35 percent reduction in heart disease risk, not to mention a lower risk of death from all causes. Cooked tomatoes, in the tomato paste and marinara sauce, are rich in the carotenoid lycopene; higher blood lycopene is associated with a reduction in risk of heart attack and stroke. For dessert, berry and cocoa flavonoids are associated with lower blood pressure.
BAKED EGGPLANT FRIES
1/2 cup raw almonds, toasted
1 Tbsp cornmeal
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tsp chia seeds
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp no-salt Italian seasoning
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch thick “fries”
1/2 cup chickpea flour
1 cup no-salt-added or low sodium vegetable broth
1 cup no-salt-added or low sodium marinara sauce
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Place almonds in a food processor and pulse until chopped to the consistency of coarse bread crumbs. Remove from food processor and in a shallow bowl, combine with cornmeal, nutritional yeast, chia seeds, onion and garlic powder, and Italian seasoning.
Dredge eggplant “fries” in chickpea flour, dip them in the vegetable broth and then into the almond mixture. Place on a wire rack and place the wire rack on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, turn and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, until golden.
Serve with a marinara sauce for dipping.