January 2009 found Donn and me in Kauai at “Island Eyes” Optometry Conference, and me in the bookstores during down time. The water was inviting, but chilly and I left my dry suit at home. So for once the mermaid in me had to sit on the shore. Even Donn was shivering while swimming with the many turtles right off the beach of our hotel, so I didn’t feel bad about turning bookish on our “learning” vacation and spending hours among the “written word” friends…
Donn has learned to anticipate these intellectual forays and left extra room in the luggage to bring home the often very weighty books. When I picked up the colorfully engaging cover of “Blossoming Lotus: Vegan World Fusion Cuisine”: Healing Recipes and Timeless Wisdom From Our Hearts to Yours, he gave me a look I know all too well, and said, “I’ll buy it if you make it all for me”…That was two years ago.
In our 16 years together, we’ve practiced every diet from raw to vegan to vegetarian – and I was not vegetarian for the first 32 years of my life as he was, growing up. The many cookbooks/non cook books on my shelves reflect varied interests and paths we’ve traversed. The Vegan walk is a particularly hard one, as is eating only raw. There are few restaurants that cater to vegetarians much less vegan and raw foodies. More now as awareness is rising, but back then – no.
Adytum is carving out a niche to not only feed, but to spoil these people rotten who choose to care for themselves with so much compassion and love that they step out of the mainstream SAD (Standard American Diet) to creatively care for their “self” in ways that will produce positive real and meaningful results.
I’ll never forget my days as a personal trainer, up at 4 a.m. and to on the road at 4:45 to work out my first client at 5 a.m. Getting a late start one morning, I grabbed the last night’s zucchini patty and was speeding along, literally 66 mph in a 45, and getting my breakfast down- both as fast as I could. When I was pulled over, asked for my license, and the question came, “What is THAT?” the officer let me off laughing saying, “Anyone who has the guts to eat THAT at 5 o’clock in the morning doesn’t deserve anything worse, like a ticket!” And we all thought THEY were tough…
I’ve been taking good care of myself for a long time now, and I’m so happy to brush the dust off some of the lesser used cookbooks/non cookbooks to spoil my guests…rotten. When the following attempt at “scrambled eggs, tofu style” was pronounced, “The best we’ve ever had” by a true vegan I knew that I was being seduced back into a world I inhabited for three years. Three years without knowing what cellulite looked like. Three years of incredible muscle mass and stamina. Sorry folks, but dairy leads to cellulite. Maybe not European sheep and goat dairy, but American practices are not what they are in Europe. Our cheese is not clean.
|Some of my Favorite Cookbooks, Photographed by our Guests When Leaving|
My mentor and boss at the Tumwater Valley Health Club – the largest in the Pacific Northwest – was and is a vegan and his chest and bicep measurements are “off the charts” amazing. I never saw this size on meat eaters I worked out. He was responsible for inspiring many of my health changes, taking a 30’s something housewife and mother of three, and in six weeks having people ask me if I was going to enter the Olympia Naturals Bodybuilding Competition. He taught me diet and exercise and was my personal trainer. I went on to teach diet and exercise too at that club and later in my own business. Miracles never cease; a new body and regained health when most women that age are cresting the top of the hill and heading down settling for love handles, depression, female problems and cellulite. I might add, that year of my changes, the doctors wanted to take all my female parts out- total hysterectomy at 32 and they put me on anti depressants that made me weave like a drunk woman and have cotton mouth. That lasted all of a week before my mentor said, “Are you ready to change your life?”
The vegan diet is a powerful diet, and especially when combined with eating the largest meal in the morning, smaller at lunch, smaller yet at dinner and lifting weights…One set to failure which takes about 15 minutes three times a week, and then riding the bike or doing aerobic on another machine or outside for 50 minutes 5 times a week. Now I would add, “Be gluten free”. The molecule has been skewed to raise browning levels in bread, to create more disease resistance, etc. and the body doesn’t recognize it. We have a great restaurant in Olympia where we enjoy gluten free pasta, Basilicos. The Italian owner said all kids are routinely tested for gluten sensitivity and intolerance AT BIRTH in Italy, and most ARE gluten intolerant. We in America seem to wish to remain blissfully (and sickly) unaware.
In an earlier post, I mentioned that every guest who visits Adytum leaves something of themselves here. They make a lasting impression, permanent changes and even more – leaving their mark on us, future guests and the sacred space we call Adytum, the Sanctuary. Remember, “First we shape our houses, and then our houses shape us.” Winston Churchill said that. This weekend’s guests, here to celebrate spring break, have caused me to dust off the vegan cookbooks at a time in my life where I long to get that 30’s something body back, with all the lean definition and muscle mass and feel the relief from the estrogens and contaminants in cheese. The lungs are often the first to react or the sinuses.
I helped our vegan guests by refining their nutritional therapy protocols and they will help me to lean down by considering the vegan approach once again. There was mention that we can get limited on our diets, “I can’t do this food. I can’t eat that…” with certain programs. But in the mindset of creating ultimate health, there are endless choices that actually open up a great deal of variety to us. Not falling back on the parmesan topping and using rice based cheese under the last minute of broiling of the oven baked red potatoes is just as fine! And healthier.
Ruts are dangerous places to rest in and the best cooks among us need to venture out. Blessings to my guests who remind me of my roots and left something very precious here in the resurgence of interest in the vegan lifestyle, which is also correlated with incredible health benefits like a regression of symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. Vegan diets lower cholesterol and blood pressure and prevent heart disease. And yes, they give you one hot body!
The one flaw I’ve found in a completely vegan diet is the need for the essential fatty acids EPA-DHA, and they may be low in Omega 6 which is usually obtained by animal sources. Both can be obtained by supplementing with fish oil and GLA from evening primrose or borage oil. Flax seed oil converts rather poorly into EPA-DHA depending on several lifestyle factors. But it needs to form a “background” in which the extracted EPA-DHA is consumed.
I noticed when involved with the raw food folks that while the women were incredibly limber, their hair looked dry and their skin was wrinkled. I say this with all due respect. Eating raw is, for many, a very hard walk that takes an incredible amount of commitment. I am just reporting my observations. When something is essential, we need to make sure we get it and not simply be committed to a label like “raw or vegan”.
Plant based diets are in the nutrigenomic spotlight now. I have long reported the Hale Project’s findings on a 50% reduction in ALL causes of death and disease, Alzheimer’s included by following a plant based diet based on the Mediterranean model. Soy has been controversial but the research using organic, non GMO soy is irrefutable in its support of health. Metagenics in particular, which had 66 research scientists on staff when I last checked, has many excellent articles on their website by that name. So if you’re so inclined to branch out, as I did to give my guests – in their words, “A crème de la crème” breakfast this morning, you may want to experiment with this recipe, courtesy of a great trip a few years back to Kauai.
Wakantanka Tofu Scramble
15 Minutes Pre/15 Minutes Cooking/2 Servings
2 Tbl Olive Oil 1 Tsp Sea Salt
1 C Onion, diced 1 Tsp Paprika
2 Tsp Garlic, minced ¾ Tsp Ground Black Pepper
1 lb Organic Tofu, extra firm, crumbled small ½ Tsp Nutritional Yeast
½ C Tomato, diced Pinch Cayenne Pepper
1 Tsp Tumeric 1 Tbl Shoyu, or to Taste
1. Place oil in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until onions are soft, approximately 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
2. Add tofu. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add remaining ingredients and cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
3. Variations are limitless. Italian influence, Indian, Mexican, etc…
From: Blossoming Lotus Vegan World Fusion Cuisine by Mark Reinfeld and Bo Rinaldi