Monthly Archives: August 2012

My 80/10/10 Trial Update

I thought I would have a harder time following the 80/10/10 Diet for the week, however it really wasn’t difficult for me at all.  That being said, I did not follow Dr. Graham’s diet 100% since I did allow myself to eat fat-free cocoa powder, cinnamon, corn, yams and sweet potatoes.

My big take-away from the diet trial was that my body really thrived without grains.  Prior to this 80/10/10 Diet trial I had been experiencing some intestinal bloating and discomfort for a while and I have to say that I had NONE during the 80/10/10 trial.  I have to conclude that my body does not like grains.

I recently became quite attached to my stevia packets and decaf coffee and was looking forward to the trial to see if I could curtail those cravings.  I am happy to report that the diet trial accomplished just that.  While I have had coffee since then, It is now down to about once a week as a treat and my stevia consumption is way down as well.  While I do not think there is anything wrong with stevia per se, I don’t think it is good to have too much of a good thing either.

An observation I made during the trial was that my athletic performance did increase.  While I tend to be pretty strong and adept at pilates plus, there are a few moves that have proven to be difficult for me and at the end of the 80/10/10 week I was able to do some of those moves…I was shocked!  I also went on a run (something I haven’t done for months) on day 7 of the diet trial, and it was easy…so easy that I went twice as far as I originally planned on going.

As for the numbers, at the end of the week I was down 2.5 pounds (something I wasn’t trying to achieve) and also down 1% body fat.

All in all I felt great while eating my modified version of the 80/10/10 Diet.  I plan on continuing to live grain-free, but will continue to consume corn (some people consider that a grain), yams, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, and legumes.

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Filed under Books, Cleansing, Product Reviews, Vegan, Vegetarian

BOOK REVIEW – EAT & RUN

Me & Scott Jurek at Natural Products Expo West

When the publisher of Scott Jurek’s memoir, Eat & Run, contacted me about reviewing his book I jumped at the chance.  I am in awe of Scott’s athletic accomplishments and couldn’t wait to read what I thought was going to be a book detailing the HOWS of his athletic prowess as the book’s title suggests.

What I didn’t expect was how personal Scott’s writing was going to be in Eat & Run.  This is truly a memoir, not a training guide (though he does share details about his training regimen).

I COULDN’T PUT THIS BOOK DOWN…

Scott was a boy who grew-up on the wrong side of the tracks in rural Minnesota and at a young age became a caretaker for his mother after she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, which inspired him to become a physical therapist.

It warmed my heart to read Scott write about his relationship with his mother.  His early memories of cooking in the kitchen with his mom and being so little that she needed to help him stir the big wooden spoon made me think of how my children and I are creating the same memories.  His cooking skills came in to play as he grew older and needed to help his mom by doing the family cooking after her diagnosis (his father worked multiple jobs).

Scott’s difficult upbringing taught him to persevere.  A phrase that was drilled into Scott’s head by his no-nonsense father plays on repeat and seems to be his life’s motto, “Don’t ask why.  Sometimes you just do things.”

The book takes you through Scott’s development from a boy who really didn’t like running, but did so in order to “condition” for the cross country ski team, to one of the most celebrated ultramarathon champions fueled exclusively by plants (he started his career fueled by McDonalds!).

One of my favorite aspects of the book is that each chapter is capped off with one of Scott’s favorite vegan recipes accompanied by details about how the recipe came to be.

I wholeheartedly recommend Eat & Run.  In the midst of laughter and tears brought about by wonderful friendships, love, financial ruin, the loss of his mother, divorce, and new love, you will begin to think that you too could become an ultramarathoner.

Afterall, Scott Jurek, the boy who hated running did it!

Click HERE to learn where you can buy Eat & Run

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You Gave Me Shun

A big, huge, grateful thank you to YOU.  Because of your support and votes I won the first two categories of the So Delicious So Much to Love Recipe Contest.

I thought I would rush out to spend my winnings, but as of this moment I have spent one of the gift cards and haven’t touched the other one yet (won with my vegan ORANGE JULIUS recipe) because I want to make smart purchases.

My first gift card was to Sur La Table and rather than making a ton of smaller purchases, I blew the ENTIRE wad on something I have wanted for a long time…amazing knives.

For a long time I have been using the knife set that my husband and I received for our wedding almost 13 years ago.  They have served their purpose, however they are not the sharpest (even when sharpened).

I have been coveting the Shun Classic 10 piece knife set for years and my winning Vegan and Gluten-Free Crepe recipe afforded me the opportunity to bring that set home.

I have been thoroughly enjoying the knives and keep pinching myself because I hardly believe they are mine.  I will have these knives for the rest of my life and I send you my humble thanks.

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GREEN KID CRAFTS – WINNER

We have a winner!

LEYLA is the winner of the Green Kid Crafts giveaway.

Thanks to all who entered.

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RECIPE REDUX – Most Memorable Summer Meal

I first learned about a group called the Recipe Redux through a blog I follow called Jeanette’s Healthy Living.  The recipe Redux was founded by registered dietitians and I knew I wanted to take part in it when I read what they are all about…

“As the first and only recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians, The Recipe ReDux is focused on taking delicious dishes, keeping them delicious, but making them better for you.  The group was founded “[O]n the belief that healthier eating should always taste delicious. As the Latin term ‘redux’ means to revisit or reinvent, we are reinventing the idea of healthy eating with a taste-first approach. We aim to inspire the food lover in every healthy eater and inspire the healthy eater in every food lover.”
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Once accepted into the group I received my first assignment which was to blog about our ‘Most Memorable Vacation Meal.’ The challenge was to make the meal healthier.

As I thought through the vacations in my life and the wonderful meals I have had, one truly did stand out.  It may seem overly simplistic, however this meal was truly a standout to me.  Last summer we went on a Disney Cruise on the Disney Dream (click HERE to read my post about it).  The crew was so overly accomodating to my vegan diet and to the dietary restrictions my daughter lives with on a daily basis.

Disney owns their very own island called Castaway Cay in the Bahamas and the first day we spent on the island the crew sent my daughter’s and my meals for the day onto the island.  When we went to pick-up our lunch at the designated restaurant, both my daughter and I were amazed by what they prepared for us.  They provided my daughter (5 years old at the time) with 3 meals to choose from and made me the most gorgeous ENORMOUS fruit platter.

It was HOT HOT HOT that day and the fruit was perfectly ripe and gorgeously displayed.  I could not have imagined a more perfect meal.  Whole food, bursting with flavor, naturally cooling to the body…the perfect summer meal…a meal I couldn’t even possibly make healthier.

What is your “Most Memorable Vacation Meal” and have you taken the time to re-create it as well as make it healthier?



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Filed under Appetizers, Breakfast, Fruit, Gluten Free, Kid Friendly, Recipe Redux, Recipes, Salad, Vegan, Vegetarian

HOW VEGANS GET PROTEIN

Wondering About a Vegan Diet? – An infographic by the team at PETA

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Filed under Education, Protein, Vegan, Vegetarian

BOOK REVIEW – The 80/10/10 Diet

Recently the publisher of Dr. Douglass Graham’s book, The 80/10/10 Diet (80% Carbohydrate / 10% Protein / 10% Fat) sent me a copy with the request to review it.  For years I had heard rumblings of the plan and the wild popularity of 80/10/10 forums, but hadn’t had the chance to properly research it and learn the details of the plan.

I found the book very interesting.  It is Dr. Graham’s contention that it is not natural for humans to eat meat.

Put a child in a room with a lamb and a banana.  Note which one he plays with and which one he eats.

I am sure that many of you have been presented with the biological evidence that humans were not designed to eat meat (our teeth are not sharp enough, our digestive tract is too long, our tongues are not rough, etc.), so Dr. Graham’s inclusion of that information within the book was not news to me, however much of the 3 pages of Humans vs. Carnivore evidence was evidence I had not yet heard.

Dr. Graham’s analogy below makes sense intuitively:

“We do not salivate at the idea of crushing the life out of a rabbit with our bare hands and teeth, and the thought of eating one in a freshly killed state is repulsive.  We certainly do not enjoy chewing on bones, gristle, entrails, chunks of raw fat and flesh, and the hair and vermin that inevitably accompany them.  We cannot imagine slurping hot blood, getting it all over our faces, hands, and bodies.  These behaviors are alien to our natural disposition…”

Dr. Graham believes that humans were designed to eat food in its natural state, food that naturally appeals to humans.  When we smell a ripe mango or peach at the peak of freshness, our mouths water…the same does not hold true for the carcass of a freshly killed animal.

“How does one determine the correct food for any given creature?…The answer is relatively simple…[O]ffer the creature different types of food in their whole natural state.  That which it was designed for, it would eat.  It would likely ignore all the other items, not even considering them as food.”

This leads us to wonder just what humans would eat if they were to find it in nature.  According to the example above, it would be food that requires very little (if any) preparation.  Our bodies also require simple sugars to function optimally.  With all of that in mind, Dr. Graham makes the case that humans were designed to subsist primarily on fruit.

According to Dr. Graham we were not designed to eat grass, weeds, leaves, stalks, and stems because we do not secrete the proper enzymes needed to digest these foods.  We do however possess what it takes to digest tender leafs and greens.

Then comes the subject of starches; grains (grass seeds), roots and tubers, and legumes.  Reading Dr. Graham’s book, Grain Damage, has been (and still is) on my “To Do List,” so it was fortunate for me that Dr. Graham touches on his dislike of grains within The 80/10/10 Diet.

Harkening back to his assertion that we were designed to eat foods in their natural state, Dr. Graham contends that grains “grow in a form that we can neither chew nor digest.”

Starchy roots and tubers grow below ground.  Most humans do not salivate at the thought of dirt like animals that grub for tubers do.  Many roots and tubers can certainly be eaten raw and I am a fan of raw jicama, carrots, yams, and beets (the naturally sweet roots and tubers), I have a much harder time wanting to eat raw potatoes, parsnips, turnips, and rutabagas.

When discussing legumes Dr. Graham states that “legumes in their mature state are indigestible and/or toxic to most mammals.”  I was not aware that mature legumes were “toxic” and need to research his assertion further.  I do however know from experience that if I do not soak legumes prior to cooking them I experience painful bloating and gas.  Even after soaking legumes it is common to experience gas on some level…which makes me wonder if his theory is true.

In the book Dr. Graham continues on and discusses his views on other food sources such as fermented foods and dairy along with nuts, seeds, and other high fat plants.

I want to quickly mention that within the book Dr. Graham goes into detail about the fact that most raw foodists in his opinion rely on fat heavily in their diet.  I share his opinion that most raw food diets are HEAVY in natural plant fats and that aspect of their diet is not healthy and will in fact result in an increase in one’s body fat percentage which is generally undesirable…most people want to reduce their body fat, not increase it.

Ultimately it is Dr. Grahams opinion that humans are what he calls Frugivores and our optimal diet would consist primarily of fruit with the addition of tender leaves and greens which “[P]rovide minerals and other nutrients essential essential for optimum nutrition and health.”

Since reading The 80/10/10 Diet I have attempted to avoid grains and have been really happy with the results.  After eliminating grains for 2 weeks I had some rice with dinner and experienced painful bloating within 20-30 minutes.  I was shocked by how quickly my body reacted to eating brown rice.

Since I tend to see my body as an experiment of sorts and I am always trying to find the ultimate formula for it to run as efficiently as possible, I am interested in trying the 80/10/10 Diet.  My hesitation in doing so is that this diet is so different than that of my immediate family.  I enjoy “sharing” meals with them and fear that eating the 80/10/10 way would diverge from their meals so drastically.

While Dr. Graham suggests that people give the 80/10/10 diet a 1 year trial, I plan on starting by giving it a shorter trial when my children go to visit their Auntie.  I am interested in seeing the results.  If I like the results then I am confident I can follow the plan for breakfast and lunch (which I have been doing for the most part since reading the book) with some modifications to my dinner meal.

I will most definitely report back with the results.  I have read many accounts of the diet’s followers improving their athletic performance and recovery and I can’t wait to see if I share their experience athletically.  Dr. Graham is a specimen of athletic ability and he is not a kid anymore (he will be 60 in March 2013)!!!

Along the same lines this diet is purported to help lower body fat percentage while maintaining lean muscle mass.  Since eating the 80/10/10 diet for breakfast and lunch my personal body fat percentage has dropped 2%.  I will of course track my body fat percentage when I do the 80/10/10 Diet one week trial.

In theory Dr. Graham’s book makes sense to me.  I am excited to put the plan into practice…even if it is for only one week.  While Dr. Graham is a believer in raw foods, with my thyroid issues, any cruciferous vegetables that I eat will be cooked.

Here is the quick break-down of the diet –

  • 90-97% sweet and non-sweet fruits
  • 2-6% tender, leafy greens and celery
  • 0-8% from everything else (other vegetables like cabbage, and broccoli, plus fatty fruits, nuts, and seeds)

Have any of you attempted eating this way?   If it is a consideration for you, I recommend reading the book because it goes into great detail about the plan, provides sample meals, recipes, and other necessary resources.

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Click HERE to read Dr. Graham’s interview with Chic Vegan.

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GIVEAWAY – GREEN KID CRAFTS

I am so excited to offer this wonderful giveaway courtesy of Green Kid Crafts (Click HERE for my product review).  Green Kid Crafts will be giving away 1 PLANET-FRIENDLY CRAFT BOX to one lucky winner.

Founded in 2010, green kid crafts is the original craft subscription company.  With Green Kid Crafts, parents and kids can enjoy planet-friendly (they offset 100% of the CO2 they generate), monthly projects that spark creativity and cultivate respect and love for the environment.  All materials are included in the package, making it one-stop shopping for child engagement.

Monthly memberships are available for $19.95.  Gift subscriptions are also available for three, six, or twelve months.  Check them out at http://www.greenkidcrafts.com .

Use code: SUMMER and get $10 off your first craft box!!!

***** HOW TO ENTER *****

  1. Visit the Green Kid Crafts website (click HERE) and let them know what craft project you would like to see Green Kid Crafts create next by e-mailing your suggestions to penny@greenkidcrafts.com (REQUIRED TO ENTER GIVEAWAY).  Leave a comment below stating that you have done this.
  2. “Like” Green Kid Crafts on Facebook (click HERE)…this will gain you and EXTRA entry.  Leave a comment below stating you have completed this.
  3. “Like” Veggie Grettie on Facebook (click HERE)…this will gain you and EXTRA entry.  Leave a comment below stating you have completed this.
  4. Subscribe to Veggie Grettie’s E-mail Subscription (upper right corner of homepage below the Header Photo)…this will gain you and EXTRA entry.  Leave a comment below stating you have completed this.

This giveaway is limited to residents of the United States.  The giveaway will run through midnight PST, Tuesday AUGUST 19th.

The winner will be announced Wednesday August 20, 2012

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SRC – Apple Cinnamon Waffles

This summer is flying by and that is made all the more clear to me by the fact that it is again time for another Secret Recipe Club post.  This month I was assigned Amber’s blog, Bluebonnets and Brownies.  Amber is a true Texan married to a Brit with a shared love of breakfast tacos (who doesn’t love breakfast tacos???).

I had a lot of fun rummaging through her blog and bookmarked more than a few recipes to try.  I ultimately narrowed it down to her Cucumber Tomato Salad, Borracho Beans (which I am DEFINITELY going to make), Oktoberfest BBQ Sauce, and Apple Cinnamon Waffles.  My son and I decided to go with the Apple Cinnamon Waffles and began the process of making them vegan, gluten-free, and oil-free.

The results were fantastic.  Apple-cinnamony goodness.

Apple Cinnamon Waffles

INGREDIENTS - Makes 3 to 4 large waffles

3/4 cup all-purpose flour*
1/4 cup cornstarch*
1/2 teaspoon baking powder*
1/4 teaspoon baking soda* (Used a total of 1 cup Bisquick Gluten Free Pancake & Baking Mix in lieu of * ingredients)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (Used 1 tsp…we really like cinnamon!)

1/2 cup organic skim milk (Used 1 cup almond milk…we needed to use more liquid since working with gluten-free flours)
1 6 oz cup of Apple Cinnamon Chobani Greek Yogurt (Used Almond Dream Plain Yogurt…it is THICK)
1/3 cup vegetable oil (Used a snack size container of applesauce)
1 egg (Used the equivalent of 1 Energ Egg Replacer egg)
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar (Used 1 heaping tsp Sweetleaf Sugarleaf)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 apple, peeled & finely diced (we decided to add this to the recipe)

DIRECTIONS

  • In a large bowl, combine pancake mix and cinnamon. Whisk together to combine and aerate.
  • Add the almond milk, yogurt, applesauce, Energ Egg, Sweetleaf Sugarleaf, and vanilla extract directly to the flour mixture. Mix again with the whisk until all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed and incorporated, and you have a smooth batter.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap for 30 minutes to overnight.  We prepped the batter at night and put it in the refrigerator until morning.
  • When ready to cook, heat your waffle iron. Allowing it to go through its heat cycle a couple of times will ensure crisp waffles.
  • Fold the finely diced apple into the batter.
  • Cook the waffles according to your waffle iron’s instructions.

For a printable version of this recipe click here.



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Filed under Breakfast, Gluten Free, Kid Friendly, Recipes, Secret Recipe Club, Vegan, Vegetarian

NUTRITION STUDIES – QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD ASK

I recently received the results of a nutrition study re: raisins and post-meal glucose levels.  This got me thinking…I have learned to be some what savvy when sifting through this type of information, however I can see how it would be very difficult for most people who don’t do this on a daily basis; especially when news outlets pick-up these stories and soon you hear news anchors everywhere extolling the virtues of this or that.

While I have not done the further research yet, when examining study findings such as the ones below, questions pop-up in my head and I thought it might be helpful for you to see how I personally go through articles such as the one below (My comments will be in RED).  I definitely do not claim to be an expert in deciphering research…these are the methods I follow personally.

For this particular study, I noticed immediately that though it came from a Nutrition Website I subscribe to and thoroughly enjoy (Smartbrief for Nutritionists), it had a disclosure on the top of the e-mail stating, “This is a paid advertisement” which got me thinking…who paid for it?

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California Raisins Announces New Research Findings (Who funded this research?  Was is California Raisins?)

New research recently debuted at the American Diabetes Association’s 72nd Annual Scientific Session suggests eating raisins three times a day may significantly lower post-meal glucose levels when compared to common alternative snacks of equal caloric value (What specifically were those snack alternatives?  Apples, rice cakes, cheese, chocolate chip cookies, potato chips???).

The study was conducted at the Louisville Metabolic and Atherosclerosis Center (L-MARC) by lead researcher, Harold Bays, MD, medical director and president of L-MARC (Does this doctor have any affiliation with the Raisin Board?)

Key Findings:

The study was conducted among 46 men and women who had not previously been diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, but who had mild elevations in glucose levels. Participants were randomly assigned to snack on raisins or pre-packaged commercial snacks (Again, what specifically were those snacks?) that did not contain raisins or other fruits or vegetables (We now know the other snacks were not produce-related), three times a day for 12 weeks (How big was the portion size?). Findings included:

  • Compared to control snacks (Not sure what they were), raisins significantly decreased mean post-meal glucose levels by 16 percent  
  • Compared to baseline within group paired analysis, raisins significantly reduced mean hemoglobin A1c by 0.12 percent (that is a decrease, but VERY slight and not what I would consider significant…a small fraction of 1 percent)
  • Consumption of the control snacks in the study did not significantly reduce mean post-meal glucose or hemoglobin A1c 

The study was funded by the California Raisin Marketing Board through a grant to the L-MARC Research Center in Louisville, Kentucky (We now know the study was funded by the California Raisin Marketing Board).

“Raisins have a relatively low glycemic index and contain fiber and antioxidants, all factors which contribute to blood sugar control,” said James Painter, Ph.D., R.D., and nutrition research advisor for the California Raisin Marketing Board. “Decreasing blood sugar and maintaining normal hemoglobin A1c levels is important because it can prevent long-term damage to the heart and circulatory system.” This statement is reasonable, however dried fruits are MUCH higher in sugar and MUCH more concentrated in calories than fresh fruit.  My fear would be that people begin ADDING handfuls of raisins into their diets in an attempt to lower their blood sugar and that seems misguided.  

The research is from a two-part study by L-MARC that looked at raisins and possible impacts to blood pressure and blood sugar levels. The first part of the study announced at the American College of Cardiology’s 61st Annual Scientific Session suggests eating raisins three times a day may significantly lower blood pressure among individuals with slightly higher than normal blood pressure, otherwise known as prehypertension.

Visit http://www.loveyourraisins.com for further information and summaries of California Raisins’ nutrition research.

Again, I DO NOT have the answers to all of the red flags above…that will take further research; I merely wanted to share the process I go through  with you.

Do any of you have a similar process you go through in your head when reading nutrition information or listening to news stories about nutrition / health?

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Filed under Education, Research