Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Plant based Keeps You in the Prime of Life!

It has been a month and ten days since I added anything to this blog.  Did not mean to stay away, but then again, I did.

I write to try to explain why a plant based diet has so much to offer the human body and all of us in general. The correct focus on nutritional density offers longevity, easy to digest foods, a better way of food production for the planet and to someone like myself a whole hell of a lot of tasty creativity.

When you write a blog you have to know why.  I read of all these food bloggers who have hundreds of thousands of followers.  I have a small group of followers and want it to expand, as the message is so key to our future.  But the followers do not seem to expand which is probably a combination of a small message, my inability to enunciate the mission, poor execution of ideas or just disinterest in the subject.  However, back I am and after a lot of trial and error.

Homemade Ranch Chicken Salad
For three weeks I moved off a plant based diet.  I went back to meat and poultry and the SAD (Standard American Diet) .  Within ten days I felt terrible, lost my interest in working out, put on 8 pounds and in general was in a terrible, crappy mood.  It took me a week to convince myself to get back to where I feel best as the SAD is like an addition to fat, carbohydrates and animal protein.  When you grow up that way, returning to the SAD is like heading down the lane of your first house when you are a kid. However, I have returned to the way of the plant. And I am immediately feeling like I am about to hit the first stages of my PRIME in life! Yahoo!

While eating SAD, I learned that the foods I was doing as plant based needed better more rewarding recipe content with more tasty recognition.   I had been too stoic and a purest in my earnest to develop Vegetable Alchemy.  See what you think of this easy adaptation of a Chicken Ranch Salad.

A half a bag of Broccoli Slaw gets two hands of finely chopped kale, two cups of diced fresh tomato and two tablespoons of the All-American Buttermilk Ranch Dressing.   One large or two small breasts of chicken are rubbed and  pan roasted with homemade Ranch seasoning: chopped parsley, thyme, garlic, onion and cracked black pepper.  Let the chicken rest for five minutes partially covered after cooking.  For me no additional salt needed.  Mound the slaw in the bowl and slice and top with the homemade Ranch seasoned chicken.  Something Old, Something NEW.   And while there has been a huge redux in home cooking, the pendulum seems to always want to swing the other way when the time it right.  Stay the way of the plant!  The Vegetable Alchemist returns.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Considering the Morning Coffee Routine

dashi broth, miso, scallions, a touch of bonito and seaweed flakes
I suppose like winning at anything in life you need more than just a focus.  You need spirit and dedication, determination and grit.  Never forget grit.  While a morning run of two miles at the speed of a snail or possibly growing into a revving turtle is not much, it is the game I've got at present.  Time to think. What are items slowing me to more pace.  Thinking a lot about how my legs, lungs and heart feels as I run I start thinking about my morning coffee. I feel raspy and realize my hearts racing and its not just the conditioning.

I've spent a lot of  time owning restaurants and learning about coffee and tea, sourcing beans, blending, learning to roast, grind and care for excellent cups of coffee. But in running I see coffee is one of the first items I need to swap out for a better work out. While so much has been written about its properties, one that I do not like is the negative effect on my heart rate and lungs.  Part of that is the caffeine, part of it could be the sourcing, even organic have some pesticides considered organic.  But now what to do instead.

So suddenly MISO comes to mind.  Nothing exotic in combination.  Just simple Miso Soup, a little dashi broth poured over and stirred into miso, diced shiitake mushroom, scallions, touch of chopped ginger.  I skipped the tofu.  A flash from the past is now a morning habit.  Miso it is. The Vegetable Alchemist.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Seven Minute Mile Run_Day Two

soon to rethink Burgerdom

Lots to learn when you focus on training for a seven to ten minute run!  Besides the mechanics and the pacing, what do you eat?  Somehow habits return and I think about my  I am my pride knowing the calories I ran off,  instead of asking how I should eat to hit my correct running weight as I look for more endurance and speed.  Throwing Vegetable Alchemy to the wind, I head over to a spot and grab a notable Ramen Burger.  And notable it was. At the sensory level it had appearance, a touch of crispy crackle, felt kind of sexy when you picked it up with a great general aroma and tasty as all get out.  A good blend of beef, no salt, and spinach in the silver lining, with a secret sauce, all back up with cucumber chip pickles.  Where could I go wrong?

Well forget the evening run.  It was too much too digest and sat there in my stomach as a mass of dead energy. I have never been much or a meat eater but I suddenly realized this is how we and I have been eating for decades.  I have been thinking, protein, carbohydrates and fats and that burger fills that framework and satisfies. If I thought load up on calories for sure I was experiencing a touch of heaven.  But add living with bigger thoughts based on  nutritionally rich foods and that burger hit a low 70 on the ANDI scale, 1128 on calories.  To some the burger was a super enjoyable belly stuffer, a lot of tasty enjoyment.  To me it confirmed I have found a better way to eat and for sure will never do that seven minute mile or possibly even a ten minute mile with old thoughts on what to eat from the Standard American Diet based on old habits marketing what we eat.

On the other side of satisfy, while I get all the smart talk about smoothies, nuts and legumes, the raw or slightly cooked veggies and love the focus and connection to the body from this style of daily fare, morphing my mind and groceries to this lean way of eating is still a mental still unfulfilled challenge. Neither Rome nor my new recipe base was built in a day.  So back at it and will share more thoughts soon.  The Vegetable Alchemist.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Seven Minute Mile

kitchen gloves turns to challenging gauntlet!

The bet was on the table.  I had to pick up the gauntlet!  I am not sure if it was the idea of continuing my pursuit of  Transformation  or that fact that I was surrounded by faces laughing away at the thought of me, still slightly over weight and striving for my own lean sleek and fast frame, could run against a marathoner who was doing 7.5 minute miles.  The test comes in 30 days from today.

So I ask myself, how is the best way to run in the first place?  I consulted a mentor who asked how many consecutive miles had I been running and what was the most efficient stride.  Next I thought about something closer to mind.  What kind of food and fuel will power this surge for 'optimal performance in sports and life' to boost my energy and feel great, as Brendan Frazier puts it in THRIVE.  Good fun thinking for better body smart living.  More thoughts and recipes soon to follow. 

The Vegetable Alchemist.

Monday, September 15, 2014

False Sense of Good Everyday Food

sweet potato rolls with purple rice
I am in search of an everyday menu of tasty body smart foods.

Since working three weeks on combining nutritionally dense eating with a daily routine of exercise it was more than natural to me that I tested my work and results.  So I binged!  I had been feeling terrific the last weeks, had developed a few good dishes, kept to my discipline and worked along side my new focus with no challenges.  But a few events, a party or two, a little fun in the social circuit and I caved to beers and all kinds of nutritionally low,  carb, fat and protein quick dishes that are SAD (Standard American Diet) favorites: pizza, pasta, burgers and a few Japanese cooked veggie styled rice rolls.
warm red chili kale and cabbage salad

It was not like I sat down for days and ate at the table of Henry the Eighth.  I just went with the flow on evenings out and decided to see what would happen if I just ordered as others.  The results were exactly as expected.  I was lethargic, sleepy, slow and drowsy, and it was not the few beers over those days.  By Sunday morning I found myself with three added pounds in spite of half the work out, lethargy effects for sure.  And one should not have to work out or take pills to work off their food!  It over stresses the body and frankly the pills are a bad use of money, disregarding that you pay for food you want to work off because it makes you fat!. One should work out to keep limber with good muscle tone, blood flow and flexibility.  Completely different than how workouts are often suggested.

Thankfully, I finished the day with a no brainer a kale cabbage salad as lightly warmed classic.  Let the new week begin!  The Vegetable Alchemist.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Developing Tasty More Functional Food

When Nirvana sings, 'Just because your paranoid, don't mean they're not after you'.... it makes sense!

Yes, occasionally I did hear from someone he might have been on drugs.  But then there are times when so many of us feel when we are trying to develop an idea we too might be on drugs, without actually taking them.  When you come to an idea you think will make a difference or an idea you just want to bring to market, you realize to change or add something to the status quo is swimming against the tide of the system. But you have to forge ahead.  Those that do break through and make a significant impact.   Think light bulbs, and cars, computers, i phones, new tracking watches, biochemistry and digital technologies, things that make peoples' lives better. Being able to write this blog even though only a few people read it, helps me sort out ideas as I look for a break through, that point of significant change.

Mushroom Chile Taco with Goat Cheese
Creating a lifestyle cuisine based on form, function and nutrition in simple daily eating is the goal of Vegetable Alchemy. But it has to fit in the ways and times that people enjoy food. Transforming recipes, swapping ingredients, mapping nutritional information, finding significant ways to tie ingredients to smarter body health and putting taste into all of this is daunting, at least for me.  The commercial tide of the system starts with suggested taste preferences that are suppose to be healthy or fun, heads down the path of marketing, into home cooking, kids lunch rooms, and the manufacturing distribution food system. It has a large eyeglass to profit and holding on to control as well providing justifiability by all the taxes it generates.   Let the paranoia begin!
On the individual side, sure there are books out there on dieting and not dieting and eating nutritionally rich. They suggest a large divergence from traditional eating with drastic changes. After making a hundred or so recipes from those books, with flavor as king, I can easily say, I am not comfortable with the outcome. I am not looking give up flavor in drastic change.  As a result, I constantly think about how to alter each meal and the calendar of seasonal choices as I learn more about better body health.  Better is defined against the SOD, the Standard American Diet the commercially sold food system.  I want to be leaner, carry less weight, have more flexibility and just overall feel better than I did when I was simply eating suggested proteins, carbohydrates and fats.  Those ideas were justified according to Food Pyramids, ethnic recipes, fusion cuisines and magazine insights, that speak little to what the body actually needs in more important elements like phyto-chemicals, vitamins, and enzymes. In all this there is challenge but solution.

Adding nutritionally rich adjustments to easy, fun recognizable recipes like this simple taco is a perfect example.  Swapping lettuce for two hands of chopped, quickly warmed and seasoned kale adds 800 points of nutritional density, a lot of protein and vitamin I would never get from lettuce and the flavor is outstanding.  Suddenly I am not paranoid., and I look like any other diner so happy with the taste that I am hording my daily fare! 

Gently saute a pound of sliced mushrooms with a touch of chopped poblano pepper in a few drops of oil. Add a little tomato salsa with sliced serrano chiles to the pan.  Cook to warm.   Top to a tostada with lightly sauteed chopped and seasoned kale and a tablespoon of fresh goats cheese.  Don't eat it too fast as you will sure be wanting to make another.  Better yet, start with making two!  LOL!

 The Vegetable Alchemist.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

What's the Style of Functional Food?

Noodles, Cabbage and Greens

" Beware the Devil Within! ", says the protagonist in, 'The Italian Job'.  Lots of snake oil out there selling goods and services.  Think about what you need. With that said I turn back to thinking about how to style more functional body smart food.  But how to sell this concept is still evolving.  What is it.  How is it showcased and explained.

It is not ethnic, it is not fusion.  It is not from 'The Modernist Cuisine'.  It is not linked to the seven volume series, 'ebulli, the evolutionary analysis, 2005-2011' of Feran Adria. And while all these have a purpose none of them are Cell2Cell, or cells in food designed to focus on a cells in the body.  This is the quest.....smarter food minded on more body function.  Showcased in a restaurant, maybe in a pop up eating spot,sited  in a food truck, and maybe a fast casual diner it is still Cell Cuisine.  And like all good ideas, it starts with the concept and incubates in the home as it grows understanding and traction. I  build from past cuisines and current trends adding substance in Cell2Cell.

The dish included is an updated pasta.  Toss a cup of cooked fettucine with double the amount of finely sliced fresh cabbage, shredded nutrient rich greens and a lemon-lime-ginger radish dressing.  Body smart, satisfying, and refreshingly functionally.  The New Vegetable Culture sensibly lies within each of us.
The Vegetable Alchemist.