Have you seen the movie Julie and Julia? Or read the book? Julie Powell became an internet celebrity with her 2004 blog recording her yearlong adventure cooking every recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I am taking on a similar challenge, only I am blogging my way through a very healthy cookbook! And I will learn to master the art of healthy cooking! The book is called Eat For Health by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, M.D. I will cook every recipe start to finish in four weeks just as they are laid out in the book. I will write about the recipes, show you pictures, and tell you how my SAD (Standard American Diet) eating, carnivorous husband likes them too. (See archives below.) He is behind me 100%!!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Day 23/ Phase 4/ Week 4

I am a bookworm. I admit it! And I've been a total nutrition bookworm for about 20 years now. For me it all started way back with Fit For Life I and II by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond, which lead me to Dr. Fuhrman, William Esser, Susan Smith Jones, Herbert Shelton, Dr. Alan Goldhammer and many many others. So if you know who any of these people/ doctors/ authors are, you know that I've never really been far off the track with what I believe about food. I mean, I've never subscribed to anything like Atkins, Southbeach--none of that nonsense. It's always been a focus on whole natural foods: Vegetables, Fruits, Nuts/ Seeds, Whole Grains, and Beans/ Legumes.

So the question is...how did I get to be overweight? And the answer is....I have no idea!! I worked and had a ridiculous commute and did not have time to cook--so we ate out a lot at restaurants. And spent tons of money too. And we ate junk food. Potato chips are vegetarian, right!!?? But I still read my nutrition books and vegan cookbooks. I would be on the couch reading Eat for Health and Haze would be like, "Are you reading that book again?? GEEEEZUS. Just close your eyes and pick a fricken recipe and make it!!" So this is my year of action/ vs just reading about it. I am DOING rather than reading. But don't get me wrong--reading is good! But it has to be followed with action. Last night I was on the couch again with Eat for Health and Haze was like, "Seriously, what can you possibly be looking at in that book?? I mean, come on, really--what are you looking!!???" I was writing little grades next to all of the recipes! And at my feet (aside from Violet the dog) was another little stack of books!! The Engine 2 Diet, Eat to Live, Julie and Julia... I told you I'm a bookworm!!

And Haze, I know you are struggling. I know you are not feeling well because of the Collagenous Colitis. But hang in there--I promise it will get better!! You are doing great!! Let's have a round of applause for Haze for totally sticking with this!! I am so proud of you!!

Yesterdays menu...

Eat Your Greens Fruit Smoothie
Well FINALLY!! I can't believe this is a Phase 4 breakfast--because it seriously tastes like ice cream. I've been eating this smoothie for years now and I am hooked. Chef AJ, on her DVD Healthy Made Delicious says that once people start eating these green smoothies they become addicted to them (in a good way!) And if you miss a day, you actually feel worse. This is sooooooooo true. I neeeed my smoothie every single day. I CRAVE this smoothie and absolutely totally love it! In fact, this could be my most favorite recipe in the whole book!! A+ + + + + Try it!! (But remember--you need a high-powered blender for this--but trust me, it is worth every penny.) Haze is not a breakfast person, but loves this smoothie too!!

Greek Chickpea Salad
Leftover High Cruciferous Vegetable Stew
Haze and I were split on this lunch! He loved the Chickpea Salad and gave it an A. I, on the other hand......hoped it would not be served again real soon. But since Haze loves it I will be making it again! I was out of Spicy Pecan vinegar so I used Pear vinegar. I think maybe it just needed a squeeze or two of lemon on top (which I did not have). The soup was even better the second day!

Indian Mango Salad
Asian Vegetable Stir-Fry
Neither of us loved the Indian Mango salad--we both thought it needed something else. Like beans? Lettuce? Not even sure. But it just felt like something was missing. We gave it a C+. I had made the Asian Vegetable Stir-Fry about a year ago, and neither of us liked it. Maybe we were just not ready then! But this time, I made a few changes. I used a little Garlic Rice Vinegar instead of Balsamic, I used Table Mrs. Dash and SPICY Mrs. Dash, and I added a Phase 1 amount of sodium (via Low Sodium Soy Sauce) and I absolutely LOVED it!! The sauce is peanut-buttery and slightly spicy/ sweet--really yummy and filling. I gave the dish an A+!! Haze said B+.

Leftover Bluevado Pie "Cupcakes"
Still yummy!


Friday, January 8, 2010

Day 22/ Phase 4/ Week 4

Helloooooooooooo Phase 4.
NOW...THIS...is getting interesting!! Yesterday's food was surprisingly good! I felt really wonderful at the end of the day. Remember--part of liking the food is liking how you feel too. I am getting very excited for my next project with Chef AJ from Los Angeles. Her new DVD, Healthy Made Delicious is awesome! The recipes are super fast and easy--and look soooooo yummy. They are all vegan and very high nutrient--and lots of desserts too! Contact her at: chefaj@att.net to order the DVD. Here was yesterday's menu:

Quick Banana Breakfast To Go

This was fast/ easy and oooooooooh soooo good. Both Haze and I gave this an A+!! I used a few extra oats (and juice) than the recipe called for--and it was just friggen yummy. VERY simple to make. We will be making this lots in the future!

Raw veggies
Russian Fig Dip
Black Bean Lettuce Bundles

Loved the veggies and dip! We may have crossed the line of weirdness with the Bundles, but seriously they were good! I added salsa on top plus a few extra tomatoes--and they were just great!! I know this all probably looks suspiciously like "rabbit food" to you--but there is nothing rabbity about this lunch. There is almond butter mixed into the dip--and tons of black beans on the bundles--plus avocado mixed in. It is hearty and very filling! We gave this lunch an A!!

Quinoa Bean Salad
High Cruciferous Vegetable Stew

I was a little nervous about the Quinoa Salad as I was mixing it up. I've never really had quinoa before--and the salad did not look like it was going to taste all that great. So after I prepared it (which was super easy by the way) I tasted it. And then, I could not stop!! I had 4-5 huge mouthfuls before it even hit the table! Haze LOVED it too--we gave it an A. I made a few changes to the Stew recipe: I added low sodium veggie broth instead of water, doubled the tomatoes, added 1 cup of low sodium V-8 juice, and added 1T of SPICY Mrs. Dash. It was fabulous!! I absolutely loved the soup and gave it an A. Haze (who was having a hankering for chicken) loved it too, but gave it a B+.

Leftover Bluevado Pie "Cupcakes"
YUM!! Again--A+!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Day 21/ Phase 3/ Week 3

You should see my overly fat Eat for Health cookbook! It’s almost 3 times the size it’s supposed to be. All the pages are getting crinkled—and every other page has something dripped on it and/ or some type of food particle stuck to it. Wait a sec--here you go...

Aaaaaaaaaaah! Just the way a good cookbook should be!! I may however, need a fresh copy once this project is over!!

This was the last day of Phase 3! Hooray!! And on to Phase 4. I reeeeally hate to admit this, but I think that whenever I eat whole wheat, my sleep apnea comes back. I had it bad last night (sleep apnea) after eating whole wheat pasta. And the other day too when I had whole wheat pita. I loooove whole wheat!! I am going to have to ask Dr. Fuhrman about this. Am I allergic to whole wheat?? Although Haze's GERD and all symptoms of that are completely gone, his colitis is still no better. But after reading all of Dr. Fuhrman's information about bowel diseases, I think it will take a little while longer. So he is still hanging in there!

As I go along here, I find that I am just naturally becoming more creative! I am experimenting a little and learning a lot! I am even creating some of my own recipes! I am not a chef/ not a cook--just a regular person. And I am learning how to cook by cooking. This is great! Here was yesterday's menu...

We had Eat Your Greens fruit shakes, and Haze also had toast and nut butter. In Eat for Health, Dr. Fuhrman gives you a plan to slowly wean you off of animal products (if that is what you want). Today was supposed to be an egg and veggie scramble dish/ but we chose fruit shakes!!

Greens and Berries Salad
Cashew Currant Dressing
Leftover Black Forest Cream of Mushroom Soup
YUM!! This was a super lunch! The soup was even better the next day. The salad was sooooooooo creamy and good. I loved it with the addition of strawberries. You will never get sick of salad if you just rotate all of Dr. F's recipes. They are all different and all yummy in their own way. We gave this an A-

Crazy-About-Carrot Salad
Pasta with Artichokes
The carrot salad was very carroty--but tasty with the cinnamon and OJ. I think a different salad would have been better alongside the pasta. Maybe one with the Balsamic Dressing? As a result, we did not eat much of the carrot salad, and then ended up overeating on the pasta! I made the pasta without the optional shrimp (Haze had shrimp), and then added spinach and zucchini. See how creative I am!! It was good! But we felt really super full afterwards (too full). We both gave the meal a B+.

Nutrient-Rich Chocolate Pudding
Haze liked this better than me--I just really did not like it! I hate saying that. But it was really--like I totally knew what went in it (because I made it) and it just did not seem like something I wanted for dessert! I would much rather have one of the fruity and lighter desserts! I would much rather have an orange! I did not even take a pic for you because I was supposed to have a beet to help with the color and did not have one. So it turned out like olive-green colored and it was just not pretty! Sooo... I ended up inventing my own chocolate dessert! It's called Jana Banana Chocolate Ice Cream! It was yummy!! I used frozen bananas, soy milk, dates, vanilla, and a small scoop of the unsweetened chocolate. Haze ate half of the pudding and all of the ice cream!!

Jana Banana Chocolate Ice Cream

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Day 20/ Phase 3/ Week 3

Time Well Spent
Hello All,
I'm getting soooooo many questions about how much time this diet requires and how much time I am spending in the kitchen. Since I am doing all 130 recipes in only 28 days--I am spending a boat load of time in the kitchen right now! So it's hard for me to answer. I asked some of my friends on the Dr. Fuhrman website to chime in here--so I will tell you what they have to say!

I can however tell you all that this is time well spent!! I listened to one of Dr. Fuhrman's teleconferences yesterday (they are on his website and you can download to iPod--you can also find some on iTunes) and this one was called Planning for Success. Dr. Fuhrman says you have to have a business plan. Yes, this takes more time than eating fast-food. But time well spent on shopping and cooking your own healthy food will save you time (and money) down the road. You will spend less time at the doctor's office, less time being sick, less money on expensive medications, and it can add years to your life! You will feel better, look better (and sexier!), and you will have more energy! Plus, I promise--this food tastes really really good!! Dr. Fuhrman suggests that we cook a big pot of soup or stew, and make a couple of salad dressings two times per week. The rest of the time, you are eating leftovers--and adding a quick side dish or two to your meal. The salad part is easy if you plan in advance. There are bags of pre-washed lettuce that you can just toss into a bowl and, if you want, add some chopped up carrots, cherry tomatoes etc--whatever you like. Always keep a supply of dried fruit and raw nuts that you can throw on top too. And once you start--it can be really fun and rewarding! For me, this is the year of action vs. just reading about it. The year of doing! Just remember to plan plan plan! Use a shopping list and plan your meals in advance. Once you get going it gets easier and easier--just like anything! And you are worth it!

Hooray!! This was one of the BEST food days all the way around!! And can you believe it--at the end of Phase 3!! We ate like kings yesterday. And here was the menu:
Lisa's Favorite Green Smoothie
Ok, this was NOT what I was expecting at all! (I was expecting a total "health food" taste). First of all, it is really pretty, it's very creamy, and it's sweet! It almost could be a dessert! I ate it with a spoon. I am very used to the frozen smoothies--so that was something that was an issue for me. Next time I may try frozen bananas in place of the room temp banana. I don't want to discourage anyone from trying this--I think you should. I don't have kids, but I think a child would really like this! It's bright green and sweet! Isn't that what kids like!!? Haze's comment was, "It's really good but I hope we don't have it again real soon!" :O) I would say B+, but I also think this could grow on me.

Southern-Style Mixed Greens
Brussels Sprouts Polonaise
I totally screwed up the recipe for the Southern Style Greens--but it turned out to be a happy accident! When I read the recipe--I thought it was a totally cooked dish--didn't realize the "greens" meant it was a salad. So I bought Swiss Chard for this. And it turned out awesome! I went ahead and just put everything into the sauté pan (less water) and it was fantastic! We put a little salsa on top and it was soooooooo yummyl!! We gave it an A.
Both Haze and I have spent 44 long years hating brussels sprouts--until yesterday. These are out of this world tasty--and you must try them--even if you think you hate brussels sprouts. I just couldn't believe how good they were! The dressing is creamy and perfect on top. I admit I added a small spoonful of vegan mayo into the dressing--and they just could not have been better. We gave them an A! Can you believe that?

Tossed salad with choice of dressing
Black Forest Cream of Mushroom Soup
I know, I know--this soup looks suspiciously like the Anti-Cancer soup. But it tastes totally different and oh my gosh good. I gave it an A+/ Haze said A. It was that good. I cannot wait to make this again--I will make an extra huge batch! It's creamy (from the small amount of pureed nuts), mushroomy, and completely satisfying. Wow--nice job Dr. Fuhrman!

Banana Fig Ice Cream
Once you master this EASY art of making frozen-fruit "ice creams" there is just an endless way to be creative! I can't believe that gourmet restaurants have not scooped up this amazing idea--because they are absolutely mouth-watering good. And this one is no exception--I said A+/ Haze said A. What a perfect end to a perfectly wonderful food day!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day 19/ Phase 3/ Week 3

Hello, Fellow Eat To Livers
(Dr. Fuhrman hates when we say that!! ha ha) (Eat to Live is another of Dr. F's books)
Thank you so kindly for all of your comments. Nothing feels better than to know that I am inspiring people! Wow. That is amazing. A year ago I was 40 pounds overweight and now I am inspiring people. This project will definitely continue and I will be selecting another book soon! But whatever I choose, they will be Fuhrman Friendly recipes, as he is my inspiration. Right after this current project is over I will be doing Chef AJ's Vegan cooking DVD called: Healthy Made Delicious. The DVD will be available at Whole Foods at some point (not yet), so if you would like to order this DVD, please contact AJ at: chefaj@att.net There are about 12 recipes on this instructional DVD, plus a booklet. And be sure to tell her that you will be following along here!

Regarding yesterdays post and "no negative comments about food" a reader gave me this longtime favorite family tip. She says instead of negative comments in her family, they use this line: "That was really good, but lets not have it again real soon." Now that is funny!! I think we will be using that one in the future. In my family the joke was, "It's not burnt, it's just dark brown!" ha ha ha!! Remember the grade we give the food will give you a true idea of how we felt about the meal!! So here was the menu for yesterday:
No recipe so we made Special Oatmeal and Eat Your Greens Smoothies

Asparagus with Black Fig Dressing
Leftover Anti-Cancer Soup
This was a great lunch! I packed it all up and went to Haze's office. The Asparagus had a reduced fig vinegar dressing and was very tangy and tasty. Haze gave it an A/ I said B+. It was a really nice contrast with the milder flavored Anti-Cancer soup. I also brought whole grain bread (Haze was craving bread) and sliced blood oranges. Very nice lunch!!

Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Eggplant Roulades
Again--this is one of my most favorite EFH salad dressings. We have had this one several times throughout the phases. Definitely an A+!! The Eggplant Roulades were smashing!! My eggplant ended up being to small to "roulade" which is just a fancy way to say "roll." So... I cut the slices in half (after pre-baking) and then stacked them up sort of lasagna/ stacked-up/ mountain-pile style. (but of course nothing sounds as fancy as roulade). Anyway, they were very good!! I love anything with pasta sauce pretty much!! I gave them an A-/ Haze said B+.

Bluevado Pie
Just when you think something is going to be weird--it turns out to be an A+ dish!! Haze said this is his favorite dessert so far!! I did not want to make an entire pie-so I cut the recipe in half. But I did not have half a pie plate so what I did was to make tiny little Bluevado Pie Cupcakes! I took a muffin tin and filled it with 7 paper cupcake liners. Then I added crust to each one and molded it with my fingers--then added the pie filling and stuck the whole thing in the freezer. They turned out great! Wow! The "crust" is crunchy and sweet and sooooooooo good--and the pie filling is just the perfect softness--not too frozen hard. What a treat!! A+!!!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Day 18/ Phase 3/ Week 3

I was kind of joking on Day 0 when I said: "Risking her marriage (no Julia Child cuisine for him)" but we had a "food fight" last night (and not the fun kind). Acutally, looking back, maybe I should have flung some food at Haze!! Ok, it was not actually a fight--Haze was just a little bit bummed that we were not going out for dinner on our anniversary--ok alot bummed. His colitis is no better--and that was making him very sad too. But I think we finally worked it out and have some new house rules: No one is allowed to say anything negative about the food. We can only say positive things, plus a grade. Even when we like the food, it seems that the critiques come first--how it could have been better. And it sort of secretly crushes me because I have worked so hard. This should be a house rule for everyone! Rack your brain if you have to--but only come up with the positive comments. Even if they are: I feel so good because I have completley nourished my body! Always try to come up with what you do like rather than don't like. It makes for a more peaceful life in everything you do! That is my thought for the day! Also--I contacted Dr. Fuhrman and he gave us some advice on Haze's colitis, so we will be following his instructions! Hooray! So all is well in our happy house again, and here was the menu for yesterday:

Special Oatmeal
This recipe called for Coriander--which I could not find in my spice cupboard (it's a complete disorganized mess right now). So I just used Cinnamon and Vanilla. But it turned out to be one of the best oatmeal dishes I have ever had!! I loooooved the addition of bananas and dates--it was fabulous! I will definitely make this again with the Coriander and let you know how it goes. We gave it an "A"
Whole wheat pita with lettuce, tomato, avacado
Tomato Almond Dressing/ Dip
Healthy Slaw
I used a whole grain wrap instead of pita, and this was ooooooooh soooo weird, but oooooooh sooooooooo good!! The dressing has pasta sauce as the main ingredient--and so I was not quite sure how it would taste. But it was really yummy!! The Healthy Slaw dressing (I thought) was not as good as the Carrot Slaw's dressing from back in Phase 1. (of course it had no veggie mayo!!) But I did love the combo of veggies in the Healthy Slaw. I admit I went back and added a small scoop of the vegan mayo and liked it much better. And again--loved the combination of the Wrap/ plus the side dish. I gave this meal an A-.
Citrus Salad with Orange Peanut Dressing
Dr. Fuhrman's Famous Anti-Cancer Soup
I have made both of these recipes in the past when I first got the EFH books. The first time I made the salad I accidently added only half the OJ, and now I can't go back! I just like it better that way--it's thicker. I absolutely loooove this salad and gave it an "A." And now, a drum roll please...we have finally made it to the Holy Grail of soups!! Dr. Fuhrman's Famous Anti-Cancer Soup!! I have made this before and so I made a few changes this time. As is, the recipe for me tasted too sweet. So this time I added half carrot juice and half celery juice. I also added almonds instead of cashews. And last (for Haze) I added an amount of salty Spike comparable to a Phase 1 sodium level. And I thought it was fabulous! I gave it an A-/ Haze gave it a "B"

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Day 17/ Phase 3/ Week 3 Happy Anniversary Haze!

Hi All,

What is it about salt?? People always say that salt "brings out the flavor" of whatever you are eating. But doesn't it just bring out a salty flavor? And cover up all of the other flavors? Haze is having a waaaay harder time with the whole "no salt" thing than I am. I mean, I like salt! But I'm ok with not eating it right now. The low-sodium is making me feel really good--I've said this before--in a way I can't quite put my finger on. I think my body really likes it! But Haze is having salt withdrawels--and it's making him slightly cranky. (when I say "slightly cranky" I mean totally crabby!!) I may have to go back to the tiny bit higher sodium levels in Phase 1 or 2 for him. I mean, I want him to stay with this! He has definitely done a good job so far! We are getting plenty and I mean plenty to eat, plus the desserts help too. After dinner is over we are entirely full and our bodies are totally happy and have everything they need. And so we are not even thinking about food anymore. That is how you lose weight and maintain weight loss. NOT by starving yourself. When you "portion control" all you are thinking about is food food food. Talking about his high-nutrient foodplan and losing weight Dr. Fuhrman says, "The more you eat, the more you lose!" And I completely understand this now!

Thank you readers for all of your wonderful comments! It makes it all very worthwhile and rewarding!! I want you to know that I have another project coming up after this 28-day program ends! It will be with Chef AJ's new cooking DVD called Healthy Made Delicious. They are all "Fuhrman friendly" recipes--more on this to come!! Here was the menu for yesterday:

Chocolate Smoothie
Ok, we did not love this smoothie and gave it a "C". I am not a huge chocolate person anyway. Both Haze and I prefer fruity smoothies--in fact we love fruity smoothies!! I think maybe I did not make it quite right--again I only had the melted bar chocolate (not the powder) and so it made it kind of runny--not ice creamy. And I am definitely just stuck on the Eat Your Greens Smoothie because it is so damn good!! I absolutely LOVE that one. I think I just don't looooove chocolate that much to need a healthy version. I've never been one of those chocoholic type people. In the past I worked with a girl who had a "chocolate drawer" in her desk--and anyone who was stressed out that day could come by and get a fix (including herself). And she would re-stock it weekly with HUGE bags of chocolate candy from Sam's Club. Bleeeaaaaah!! It was like a feeding frenzy on "Stock The Chocolate Drawer Day." I wonder if she would like this Chocolate Smoothie?

Salad with leftover dressing
Roasted Vegetable Pizza
Hooray for PIZZA!!! I absolutely loved this Roasted Vegetable Pizza!! It was soooooooooooo good. I baked the pita (crust) to get it a little crispier--and it was just really yummy. I mean, what could be better than pizza!? I used a high-quality/ low-sodium pasta sauce, and the roasted veggies were flavorful and perfect on top. It totally hit the spot! I gave it an "A"/ Haze said B+ (he thought it needed a little sausage and pepperoni!)

Salad with Dijon Pistaccio Dressing
Southwestern Chicken
Vegetable Bean Medley
Cauliflower Spinach Mashed "Potatoes"
Actually, the salad dressing for this menu was supposed to be the Caesar Dip again, but I had to change it because I missed one a few days ago called Dijon Pistaccio. Dr. F made this dressing on his DVD (Secrets to Healthy Cooking) and I know he really loves it! So please try it for yourself! But we gave it a B-. It called for flax and I think that really altered the consistancy of the dressing and made it not so creamy. I will have to make it again without the flax because the flavor is tasty good. The Southwest Chicken and Veggie Bean Medley will make for a hearty week-night meal and we gave them a "B." They were healthy and filling. The Cauliflower Mashed "Potatoes" were really pretty good--we gave them an "A-" I would not have liked the Veggie Medley half as much without the Cauliflower "Potatoes" to go with it. Again--don't skimp on the side dishes!!

Mixed Berry Freeze
Aaaaaaah dessert! You suddenly forget that your meal did not have a ton of salt in it, and you just relax inside a bowl of fruity/ lucsious ice cream! And you are full and happy and don't even think about food again until the next day...