Monthly Archives: September 2011

OKTOBERFEST QUICK MEAL

As a rule I am not a big consumer of mock meats, however from time to time I do crave a hot dog and Oktoberfest is the perfect excuse to indulge my German roots.

A few days ago after a long day of shuttling the kids to and from their activities we came home and as the kids settled into the couch for some reading time I put together dinner in a matter of minutes.

My family does not share my love of sauerkraut, but that just meant more for me…I LOVE IT!!!  If my mom and sis were here with me we would have been fighting over the last bite.

My meal consisted of:

Jumbo Smart Dogs by Lightlife

Bubbies Sauerkraut (It has a nice crunch to it)

Udi’s Classic Hot Dog Buns

Beer and Brat Spicy Mustard

~

It tasted so good!  While I am not a beer drinker, PeTA has a listing of vegan beers that I thought might be of interest to some of you  (click here for the listing).

What are your Oktoberfest plans?

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Filed under Gluten Free, Holidays, Quick Tips, Vegan, Vegetarian

ASK GRETTIE – Digesting the Vegan Diet

 

Here is my latest Ask Grettie column for Chic Vegan.

Does the stomach ever get accustomed to eating a plant-based diet and no longer have GI distress? I am afraid of getting bloated and windy (gassy). I have IBS. Thanks!

~Dolores

Hi Dolores!

I am sorry to hear that you have IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and have been experiencing intestinal irritation.  Yes, I can assure you that the stomach does in fact adjust very nicely to eating a vegan diet.  As with many things in life, one has to give themselves time to adjust to this new way of life.  For example, I wouldn’t recommend that a person who is not accustomed to eating vegetables and legumes start eating 2 cups of beans in one sitting.

I also recommend digestive enzymes.  Raw food contains many enzymes on its own which are highly beneficial.  However, most people primarily consume cooked food and the enzymes are destroyed during the cooking process.  As a result the pancreas needs to secrete digestive enzymes to assist in the breakdown of our food.  When our pancreas becomes over-taxed, over time it is not able to secrete as many digestive enzymes.

“Eighty percent of our body’s energy is expended by the digestive process. If you are run down, under stress, living in a very hot or very cold climate, pregnant or a frequent traveler, then enormous quantities of extra enzymes are required by your body. Because our entire system functions through enzymatic action, we must supplement our enzymes. Aging deprives us of our ability to produce necessary enzymes. The medical profession tells us that all disease is due to a lack or imbalance of enzymes. Our very lives are dependent upon them!”

- Dr. DicQie Fuller, The Healing Power of Enzymes

We can assist our bodies by eating as many raw foods as possible and by taking digestive enzymes.  I personally take digestive enzymes.  I have had great results with Life Extension’s Enhanced Super Digestive Enzymes and Hippocrates Health Institute’s LifeGive Digestive Enzymes.

One other solution to keep in mind is the addition of probiotics into your daily regimen.  Read a past Ask Grettie column about probiotics.

If the above solutions do not solve your GI issues, you may have a food intolerance or allergy which may be causing some of the uncomfortable inflammation in your digestive tract.  Keep a food log and see if you notice any patterns with regards to when you experience your GI issues and whether it is related to the consumption of certain foods.  A great way to determine the offending food is to put yourself on an elimination diet.  Basically you remove possible food triggers for a week and then slowly add them back one at a time to see if your symptoms return.  If the symptoms return after adding back a particular food, then you have found your culprit (some people have more than one).  I used an elimination diet to determine my gluten intolerance.

According to Dr. McDougall, the six leading causes of food allergies are dairy, eggs, chocolate, nuts, shellfish, and fish.  Becoming vegan will automatically remove four of the six most common food allergens from your diet…yet another reason to praise vegan diets!  If nuts and chocolate are not your triggers, then it is time to move on to the elimination of the following potential allergens from the vegetable kingdom, wheat (and/or gluten in general), corn, citrus fruits, tomatoes, and strawberries.

Please keep in touch and let me know if the above recommendations help solve your GI distress.

Here’s to health!

Gretchen

**Do you have a questions for Grettie? She is here to answer any of your health and nutrition related questions! Email her at askgrettie@chicvegan.com .**

Image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/wakingphotolife/

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Filed under Chic Vegan Column, Education, General Vegan, Gut Health, Vegan, Vegetarian

SECRET RECIPE CLUB – Stuffed Bell Peppers (Vegan and GFree)

I was excited when I was assigned Allie’s Clean Plate Club for September’s Secret Recipe Club.  Allison describes herself as an Illinois farm girl stuck in the craziness of the West Coast…I am a wannabe farm girl also in the craziness of the West Coast, so we are a good match.

Allie’s Clean Plate Club has a nice variety of recipes, but her Stuffed Green Peppers called to me.  I have been wanting to make a vegan version of stuffed peppers for a while now and this month’s assignment gave me the last push that I needed.  Allie mentioned in the post that this was the first recipe she made for her husband when she met him at the ripe old age of 23.  I love the nostalgia!  It brought me right back to the same time in my life when I was trying new recipes on my husband and all of the nervous energy that went into planning and preparing those first home cooked meals together.

Since I veganized the recipe I did change more than a few of the ingredients, but for the most part, the recipe is very true to it’s roots.  Click here for Allie’s original recipe.

I want to quickly highlight the changes I made… I replaced the beef with Portobellos and tempeh, upped the amount of onion, used vegan Worchestershire (and doubled the amount), used veggie broth in lieu of water (for added flavor), used vegan cheese, and I used pasta sauce instead of tomato soup since that is all I had in the house at the time.

Overall I was happy with the result.  The next time I make these (I plan on adding them to the dinner rotation), I think I will double the rice since my vegan meat wasn’t as dense as beef would have been.  I may also add in some oatmeal or almond flour to bind the filling together more.  As it was, the flavor of the filling was great…I really enjoyed spooning it onto my gluten-free bread.  I even had enough filling left over that I froze some to use as vegan “meat” sauce the next time I make pasta.

INGREDIENTSserves 4
4-6 Bell Peppers (I used red, yellow, and orange)
FOR THE “MEAT,”  2 Portobello mushrooms & 8oz. tempeh
½ onion, diced
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp. Wizards Worchestershire sauce (vegan & GF) 
2/3 c. uncooked rice (I used 1/3 cup & plan to double it next time)
1/2 c. vegetable broth
2/3 c. shredded Daiya cheese
Pasta Sauce
salt and pepper to taste

~

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Cut the tops off of the peppers and remove the seeds. Cook the peppers in boiling water for 5 minutes.  Note: Once you add the peppers to the boiling water, the water will cool down and stop boiling.  You will need to wait for the water to boil again and then set the timer for 5 minutes.

Remove peppers and drain in a colander over the sink.  Drain the peppers upside down in the colander; otherwise the water will just sit in the bottom of the pepper and not drain out.

Place the drained peppers in your baking dish and sprinkle salt inside of each pepper and set aside.

Loosely chop the Portobello mushrooms and place them in the food processor.  Process until they resemble the texture of ground beef.  Do the same with the tempeh (I crumbled the tempeh as I put it into the processor and then processed it further).

In a large skillet, sauté the Portobellos, tempeh, and onions for 5 minutes until the liquid cooks off.

Stir in the tomatoes, rice, water and Worcestershire sauce.  Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.

Fill the prepared bell peppers with the mixture and top each off with the pasta sauce.

Bake covered for 25 to 35 minutes.
Allie likes to serve these Stuffed Peppers over mashed potatoes…I served mine with a nice slice of Millet and Flax Italian bread from Sami’s Bakery.

For a printable version of this recipe click here.  

 

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Filed under Gluten Free, Main Dish, Recipes, Secret Recipe Club, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

TEATULIA GIVEAWAY WINNER

Congratulations to Ann whose comment below was randomly chosen as the Teatulia Giveaway winner:

Submitted on 2011/09/17 at 3:53 am

Ann –  I left comments on both Facebook pages, don’t use twitter, already on email list, and here’s the final step :-)

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Filed under Giveaways

APPLE CRISP – Vegan and Gluten Free

In my post on Wednesday (click here to view the post)  about our trip to Los Rios Ranch apple orchard in Oak Glen, I mentioned that I made an apple crisp for my daughter’s B-Day.  I thought I’d share with you the recipe I came-up with.  Keep in mind that this is definitely a treat (sugar and vegan butter) and thus reserved for a special occasion, not an “any night” dessert.

 
INGREDIENTS
 
TOPPING
½ cup gluten free flour mix (I used The Gluten-Free Goddess’s mix)
½ cup organic brown sugar
½ cup Bob’s Red Mill GFree Whole Grain Rolled Oats (not instant)
¼ teaspoon Rumford aluminum free baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ of a stick of vegan Earth Balance
 
 
FILLING
4-6 cups sliced apples
Sugar to taste (more for tart apples, less for sweet apples)
2 Tbs. cornstarch
1/3 cup fresh apple cider
½-1Tbs. lemon juice
Cinnamon to taste
 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Mix together the flour, sugar, oats, baking powder, and cinnamon.  Cut the cold Earth Balance into cubes and mix it in to the dry mixture with a pastry cutter or your hands.  The goal it to keep the topping crumbly and not mash it into a ball.  You want the butter to be distributed evenly throughout the mix so you end-up with a crumble that filled with pea-sized chunks.

Slice the apples and mix them with the sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, cinnamon.  Place the apple mixture into a glass dish.  Evenly distribute the topping over the apples.

Bake for 40 minutes.  Check to make sure the topping does not get too brown.  If the topping is browning too quickly, loosely cover with a piece of foil.

Serve warm with So Delicious Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk Ice Cream.

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

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Filed under Dessert, Gluten Free, Pie / Crumble / Cobbler, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

APPLE PICKING and BOOK REVIEW – “The Orchard”

I am mesmerized by farms and orchards.  Though I have never lived on a farm, it is in my blood.  My mother comes from a long line of farmers, and my father grew-up working his family’s orange groves…maybe it is their stories that drew me in as a child and maybe that is why I have such idyllic notions of farming.  My logical mind knows that I realistically have no idea what living and working on a farm entails and the hardships that farmers face daily, but that doesn’t change the fact that living on a ranch has always been my dream.  I am called to the land and the animals and I know that ranch life is part of my destiny when the time is right.

Theresa Weir didn’t have that calling, yet apple farming became her life.  I just finished her memoir, “The Orchard,” and I am numb.  I appreciate Theresa’s courage in telling the story the apple farm she married in to…a farm and family that never truly allowed her in.  While it is common knowledge that farming is backbreaking, constant, and exhausting work, our culture has romanticized it beyond recognition.  Theresa had the guts and honesty to tell the story of modern farming with truth and transparency. Farming nowadays is not the farming of our grandparent’s time; big business has taken over. Pesticides rule and people get hurt.

Theresa’s memoir has elevated my respect for organic farmers (a respect that was already sky high).  Organic farmers are literally risking their farms and livelihood to provide us with pure food; they are one infestation, drought, or awful storm away from losing everything. That is the epitome of bravery.

I truly understand the circumstances that push farmers toward the use of pesticides in their attempt to hold on to the land that has been in their family for generations, but chemicals are not the answer.

Please read this book.  The Orchard was so intoxicating that I could not put it down…I read this book so quickly that it was as if I drank it.

We need to reclaim our farmland.

~

This weekend my lovely little girl turned 6!  In honor of her autumn birthday and my recent completion of The Orchard, my family took a trip to Oak Glen for a fun-filled day of apple picking.

Both of my children share my love of the land which made the day all the more special.

We visited Los Rios Rancho which is my favorite organic apple orchard in Oak Glenn.  While there we ate lunch while listening to a bluegrass band comprised of 4 siblings.  It was heartwarming to listen to their music while their parents proudly looked-on from a table piled high with their cds for sale.

After lunch we went into the U-pick orchards and had a lot of fun taking turns with the apple picker.  Since the orchard is organic, there were quite a few apples with worm holes, but I will take worm holes any day over pesticides!  I was just so darn happy while walking through the orchard with my children, husband, and parents.

After picking apples we made our way back to the main buildings at Los Rios Rancho and had our hand at making our own apple cider the old fashioned way (translation…with man power).  The cider was sooooo good and sweet…the kids went nuts for it!

We really had a wonderful day in Oak Glen.  When we got home we set to work making homemade apple pie and apple crumble.  My daughter was having so much fun baking with her Nana.  It felt great to have three generations in the kitchen creating together.  I can’t think of a better autumn “birthday cake” than fresh baked apple pie and crumble.

I highly recommend taking your family for a day of apple picking.  It is so important for us to support our local farmers.

To learn more about Oak Glen click here.

Oak Glen pictures taken by photographer Tony Tseng

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Filed under Books, Education, Farming, Farming, Travel, Vegan, Vegetarian

SUPER IMMUNITY – Dr. Joel Fuhrman

Below is another great article by Dr. Joel Fuhrman.  His new book, SUPER IMMUNITY, will be released September 20th…I can’t wait!  To order the book, click here (Amazon) or here (Barnes & Noble).

WHICH FOODS ARE MOST PROTECTIVE AGAINST COLON CANCER?

POSTED ON SEPTEMBER 8, 2011 BY JOEL FUHRMAN, M.D.

It is estimated that there are more than 100,000 new cases of colon cancer diagnosed each year in the U.S. alone, and colon and rectal cancers are the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths.1  The American Institute for Cancer Research estimates that forty-five percent of these new cases could be prevented by following a few simple lifestyle habits: avoiding processed and red meat, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and limiting alcohol consumption.2  But we can do better – imagine the level of protection if we not only avoided carcinogenic foods, but also focused on eating the foods that work on a cellular level to prevent  colon cancer.

So which foods offer us the best protection?

Anti-cancer compounds have been identified in many plant foods: for example cruciferous vegetablesmushrooms, and the onion and garlic family are known to contain substances that can prevent cellular processes involved in cancer development. Certainly, a diet high in fruits and vegetables in general is protective3-5, but many observational studies on diet have not investigated specific food groups, only broad categories like “fruits,” “vegetables,” etc.  But there is a wide range of anti-cancer activity in the wide range of plant foods – for example, kale is more protective than iceberg lettuce.  Identifying these protective plant foods helps us to construct an anti-colon cancer diet.

A recent study aimed to find some specific foods and food groups that protect against colon cancer. Twenty-six years after reporting information about their diets, subjects were asked whether they had undergone screening colonoscopy, and if so, whether they had physician-diagnosed polyps. The majority of colorectal cancers originate from polyps, so polyps are considered a precursor to the development of cancer. This study was part of the larger Adventist Health Study, which studies relationships between diet and chronic disease in members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which emphasizes healthy living in its teachings.

The researchers examined about 25 different foods and food groups. Those that were associated with reduced risk of polyps were cooked green vegetablesdried fruit,legumes (beans, lentils, etc.), and brown rice. All of these displayed dose-dependent effects, meaning that the more of these foods the subjects ate, the more protection they had from colon cancer.6

Green vegetables are rich in folate and isothiocyanates, nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties. Folate is a B vitamin that is involved in turning genes on and off – this is important in preventing the early cellular events that lead to cancer.  Adequate folate levels are protective against several cancers, including colon cancer. It is important to note, however, that synthetic folic acid from supplements is not protective.7,8  Isothiocyanates are a group of nutrients found in cruciferous vegetables that have a wide variety of cancer preventive properties – they can detoxify or remove carcinogens from healthy cells, kill cancer cells, have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, and prevent tumors from acquiring a blood supply.9

The protection from beans and other legumes was likely due to their soluble fiber and resistant starch, carbohydrates that are not broken down by digestive enzymes.  Intestinal bacteria ferment these carbohydrates, forming short chain fatty acids such as butyrate.  Butyrate has a number of anti-cancer effects including disrupting cancer cell growth, increasing levels of detoxification enzymes, limiting DNA damage, and preventing tumors from acquiring a blood supply.10-13

High fiber foods, including dried fruit and brown rice (as well as vegetables and beans) help to reduce transit time of gastrointestinal contents through the colon – this reduces the potential contact between dietary toxins or carcinogens and the cells that line the colon.  Reduced transit time is believed to be an important contribution of fiber to the prevention of colon cancer. 14,15  Raisins, probably the most popular dried fruit, have been shown to increase short chain fatty acid production and decrease colon transit time.16,17 In addition to fiber content, dried fruit likely also contributed antioxidant protection of colon cells from DNA damage, which is an early event in the development of cancer.18

Previous studies found a protective effect of berries, citrus fruits, andyellow-orange vegetables, which was likely due to their high concentration of flavonoid and carotenoid antioxidants, respectively.10,19,20Additional studies on specific food groups have also found a reduced risk of colon polyps with high intake of green leafy vegetables (many of which are cruciferous), onions, and garlic.12,19

All of these foods contain known anti-cancer compounds, and of course there are thousands of anti-cancer compounds in plant foods that scientists have not yet discovered.  Each of these colorful plant foods contains a spectrum of micronutrients and phytochemicals that work in concert to protect the body against carcinogenic influences. Future studies will continue to reveal these phytochemicals and their anti-cancer properties.

My new book Super Immunity, which will be released September 20, 2011, discusses in depth the connections between diet and cancer.

For Dr. Fuhrman’s references from this article click here.

Book image courtesy of Barnes & Noble.

Image of kale courtesy of diseaseproof.com

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Filed under Books, Cancer, Education, Vegan, Vegetarian

PRODUCT REVIEW and GIVEAWAY – Teatulia

Teatulia recently sent me some of their 100% organic tea to try.  I was sent samples of their Ginger Herbal Infusion and Lemongrass Herbal Infusion.  I know we shouldn’t judge a product by the packaging, but I have to say that Teatulia’s teas are gorgeous.  Each tea bag is shaped like a pyramid (made of biodegradable silk) and clearly made from high quality ingredients.

The lemongrass herbal infusion was really refreshing and light.  I found that I didn’t even want to add any sweetener to it.  I also really liked the ginger tea and found that it was slightly peppery (reminiscent of a mild chai).  I did add some stevia to the ginger tea since I really like a sweet ginger flavor.  I drink A LOT of hot tea once the weather cools down and am looking forward to adding Teatulia’s teas to my arsenal this Fall.

I really like the fact that Teatulia is a socially conscious business.  They don’t just talk the talk when it comes to social responsibility, they also walk the walk:

Teatulia is no ordinary tea garden. Started in 2000 to give back to our community, we sought an enterprise that would give the most people a living wage while protecting/strengthening our environment. Not content with the social programs already in place, our Teatulia Cooperative has established revolutionary education, health and cattle-lending programs for the people working in the garden and surrounding areas. All sales of Teatulia Organic Teas contribute to this mission, helping to better the lives of Bangladeshi men, women & children while rebuilding the local ecosystem.

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION

Now…here’s the exciting news…Teatulia will give away one canister (of the winner’s choosing ) to a Veggie Grettie reader (only open to readers from the US and Canada).

You can earn a separate entry for each of the following:

  1. Like Teatulia’s Facebook Page and write a fun comment about tea (this is the fun part, whatever you want!) (http://www.facebook.com/Teatulia)
  2. Like Veggie Grettie’s Facebook Page and write a comment about why you want to win (https://www.facebook.com/VeggieGrettie)
  3. If you are on Twitter, please follow both http://www.twitter.com/teatulia and http://twitter.com/veggiegrettie
  4. Subscribe to Veggie Grettie’s e-mail posts (click here and enter your e-mail address in the e-mail subscription box on the upper right hand corner under the masthead picture).
  5. LAST STEP…come back to THIS POST and leave me a comment for EACH of the above completed tasks.

I will announce the winner NEXT Friday 9/23.  Good Luck!!!

***I also encourage you to sign-up for Teatulia’s newsletter (on the bottom right of their homepage)…they will reward you by giving you a 20% discount! 

16 Comments

Filed under Contests, Giveaways, Product Reviews, Vegan, Vegetarian

GUEST BLOG – Crunchy and Healthy Jalapeno Poppers by Veg Obsession

Another blog that I frequent is Veg Obsession.  Isobelle created the site as a means to share the delicious vegan recipes she makes with her friends and family.  Through Veg Obsession Isobelle wants to show people that delicious, mindful, and compassionate eating is easy to achieve.  One of the main reasons Isobelle is vegan is for her daughter and her future…it is clear that she is a very committed mommy!

While cruising through Isobelle’s site I came across her recipe for Crunchy and Healthy Jalapeno Poppers.  I contacted her and she has graciously agreed to share the recipe on Veggie Grettie.  Traditionally jalapeno poppers are laden since they are loaded with cheese and fried.  Isobelle fixed that problem by filling the jalapenos with hummus and baking them.

Enjoy this healthy variation!

My husband and I love spicy!  We have a jalapeno plant in the back yard that has been producing plenty of peppers.  And, of course, all of them are used.  I used to make http://vegobsession.com/2010/11/06/vegan-jalapeno-poppers/”>jalapeno poppers with Toffuti “cream cheese” (which are a lot healthier than the traditional fried poppers with the greasy/fatty real cheese).  But, my husband suggested trying to make it even healthier.  So, he gave me the idea of hummus in the jalapeno, and I am so glad he did, because this is wonderful and delicious!

*Jalapeno peppers are very good for you.  It helps cure headaches, congestion, and it even helps fight off cancer!

*Garbanzo beans are also super healthy!

Ingredients:

Directions:

  • Dip the jalapeno in the unsweetened nut milk (almond milk).  Then, roll the jalapeno into the whole wheat (or gluten free) flour.  Dip it into the nut milk again.  Then, roll into the panko bread crumbs.  Place onto a slightly greased cookie sheet and spray a little bit of olive oil onto the poppers (just a little bit!).

    Bake for 25 minutes and then enjoy!

    For a printable version of this recipe click here.

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Filed under Appetizers, Guest Blog, Recipes, Sides, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

NATIONAL CELIAC DISEASE AWARENESS DAY

Today is National Celiac Disease Awareness Day.  I know gluten-free has become a fad diet for some, but for those who suffer from Celiac Disease, a gluten-free diet is absolutely essential.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune digestive disease that damages the villi of the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. What does this mean? Essentially the body is attacking itself every time a person with celiac consumes gluten. – National Foundation for Celiac Awareness

My daughter has a wheat and gluten allergy, but does not have Celiac Disease for which I am grateful.

Living gluten-free now is soooooooo much easier than it used to be, however there are still challenges (B-Day parties, school functions, family parties, restaurants).  So many times kids/people who need to avoid gluten are not able to eat the same fun treats other people are and it leaves them feeling like a bit of an outsider.  For this very reason, my heart leapt when we were in Orlando recently.  I knew that Downtown Disney had recently welcomed Babycakes Bakery (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Egg-Free, Soy-Free, Dairy-Free, & Kosher).  It was with such joy that I was able to tell my daughter, “You can have ANYTHING you want from this bakery!”  She looked at me like I was on crack and then quickly became mesmerized by the goodies in the glass cases.  We ended-up buying a cupcake, donut, and chocolate chip cookie sandwich.  Great memories!  Babycakes also has bakeries in NYC and Los Angeles.  I also love my Babycakes cookbook and I hear Erin just came out with another cookbook, Babycakes Covers the Classics, that I am sure is fab.

I thought I would take this opportunity to share with you some of my favorite gluten-free resources:

Are there any blogs or gluten-free resources that you use frequently and don’t see listed above?  I’d love to hear from you.

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Filed under Books, Education, General Vegan, Gluten Free, Gluten-Free Baking, Gut Health, Vegan, Vegetarian