For our anniversary we had the opportunity to try something new! Have you heard of DishCrawl? We hadn't either. View their website HERE. A relative of ours knew about it and heard that their next 'Crawl' was going to be a Vegan night and forwarded the link to have us check it out. We were very excited because this is right up our alley, plus we thought it would be something new and different to try for our anniversary!
The premise is that you start at one restaurant and then walk to 3 others trying a sample platter at each place. A round-robin or progressive dinner, but with strangers and at restaurants instead of people's homes!
We were so excited that all the food on this DishCrawl was Vegan!!! This was only DishCrawl Omaha's third event! This one was Downtown (all the restaurants need to be within walking distance). They keep the restaurants a secret until right before you go to the next one. They let you know where the first one is the day before in an e-mail.
The first restaurant was Kitchen Table at 1415 Farnam. It is a brand new restaurant (it's only been open for about 1 month).
The DishCrawl ambassador Rachel. She is basically the head of the Omaha DishCrawl. She set up all the restaurants and spoke with each chef to make sure the diners would have a fabulous experience.
We asked our friends Kassandra and Nick Mayo if they wanted to join us. They did and we were super excited to experience this journey with them.
The menu at Kitchen Table.
This was my favorite, but everything was great!!! PB & J with Peach preservers and mixed nut butter.
The Heirloom beans and greens! Very tasty and good comfort food like grandma used to make.
Smokey Carrot and Lentil Soup. No complaints. Very yummy!!!
Onto the next restaurant! Where are we heading to????
Next stop....Indian Oven.
Can't go wrong here. They have so many wonderful vegetarian options on their menu. They picked out three that fit the Vegan theme. Everything was delicious!
On the move again. This time to Block 16. I have been there twice. It's been great every time.
This photo courtesy of VeganOmaha.com (I forgot to take a picture of the sign here).
This is a Mini Jackfruit Taco on the far right. Jackfruit is a fruit that originated in the rain forests of India. The fruit itself can reach 80 POUNDS and 4 foot long and wide!!! It's part of the mulberry family. The flesh is starchy and fibrous and is a source of fiber. When its ripe the flavor is comparable to a combination of an apple, pineapple and banana. The unripened fruit has a meat-like taste and is extremely comparable to poultry.
I have to be honest. The Jackfruit Taco we had in Kansas City at FUD was 110% better. It was more flavorful and just done right. Block 16 has a long ways to go before they can even compare to FUD's. It was just ok.
The "Meatball" slider again just fair I would say. Not bad at all, just lacking something.
But oh my watch out, those Gangsta and Dirty fries were AWESOME!!!! I had the dirty ones here (in the middle). They were pickles shredded with a mayo-type sauce. Very good. The Gangsta Fries that some others got was a sauce that was along the lines of the special sauce on a whopper. That pinkish color sauce. The other people loved that kind too.
Our last stop was Bliss bakery. We had never been here before.
A Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake it was good. I wouldn't say it was the best cupcake I have had in my life, but fine. Then a strawberry cupcake. Now that one was good, But the hit at Bliss was HANDS DOWN that bomb Lemon Coconut Cookie. OMG! Soft and chewy and very lemony. So, so, so good. The lemon rind shavings on top didn't hurt either. It was delicious!!!
We had a great night with good company and even met some new vegan friends and shared some tips! I hope they do another Vegan DishCrawl because we would love to do it again!!!
Dr. Kevin Fullin explains the health benefits of plant-based diets during a public presentation at Kenosha Medical Center. A cardiologist, Fullin switched to a plant-based diet in November 2012. By May 2013, he already had shed more than 60 pounds. ( BILL SIEL )
“It’s going to be a little bumpy because we’re disturbing our culture, what we’re used to. When I was young, we used to save the bacon grease in a can. The thing I say is, be easy with each other. Be gentle. Give yourself some room ... The gentler you are with yourself, the more likely you are to get the benefit.”
— Kenosha cardiologist Dr. Kevin Fullin, on converting to a plant-based diet, which he advocates for reducing obesity, controlling coronary heart disease and other conditions, including diabetes
Local cardiologist Dr. Kevin Fullin, like a growing number of healthcare professionals, lists obesity as one of the “diseases of excess.”
So, it stands to reason he not only would have steered away from fatty, high cholesterol foods in his diet and would all along have advised patients to do so as well.
But it wasn’t until a little more than a year ago that Fullin decided to change his lifestyle as well as change the way he practices medicine. These days, he takes a wholistic approach, asking people about what they eat, what they do in their lives that may be affecting their medical conditions.
In the process, Fullin became a vegan or, in less ideologically and politically loaded terms, a plant-based diet devoteé, eating what he describes as food “without eyes.”
Since November 2012, when he started, he has shed more than 60 pounds, and he enthusiastically promotes plant-based diets not only to lay people, but to fellow practitioners as well.
Documentary prompts conversion
His conversion began after watching Lee Fulkerson’s 2011 documentary “Forks Over Knives.” That led him to reread T. Colin Campbell’s “The China Study,” which purports to analyze the effects of protein heavy, meat-and-dairy diets on rural Chinese populations. He then took a six-week nutrition course through the Campbell Foundation and Cornell University.
“The documentary interested me because it became clear to me that by modification of diet you could change the course of coronary artery disease, blockages in the coronaries,” Fullin said. “Because, by not eating animal fats, protein and (vegetable, seed and nut) oils, patients no longer needed bypass surgeries, and most of the patients no longer needed their (heart medications) anymore. That’s what made me see ... whether I could eat this way, and what it could do for my patients. So far, the experience has been very good.”
Campbell, professor emeritus of nutritional biochemistry at Cornell, published The China Study in 2005 with his son, Thomas M. Campbell II, a physician. It analyzes the connection between eating animal products and the effects on a variety of chronic illnesses, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancers of the breast, prostate and bowel. As of January, the book has sold 750,000 copies and remains among the best-selling books on nutrition.
Campbell, one of the directors of the 20-year study begun in 1983 and conducted jointly by the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine, Cornell and the University of Oxford, looked at mortality rates from 48 forms of cancer and other chronic diseases from 1973-75, correlating the data from 1983-84 dietary surveys and bloodwork from 6,500 people.
The study’s conclusion: Those with high consumption of animal-based foods were more likely to have higher death rates from so-called “Western” diseases versus those with plant-heavy diets. The authors further concluded people who follow plant-based/vegan diets will avoid, reduce or reverse development of chronic diseases.
There are those who call findings and conclusions in Campbell’s book and Fulkerson’s film to question. (See, for example, “Forks Over Knives: Is the science legit?” at http://rawfoodsos.com/2011/09/22/forks-over-knives-is-the-science-legit-a-review-and-critique.)
Treating illness through nutrition
Still, the film introduced or reintroduced Fullin to the idea of treating illness and disease not solely through drugs and surgery but by way of nutrition as championed by Drs. Dean Ornish, Caldwell Esselstyn, Neal D. Barnard and John A. MacDougall.
After delving more deeply into their work, Fullin began advising his patients to switch from diets heavy on animal products to plant-based alternatives, but not before he accepted the challenge himself and committing to the necessary lifestyle change. “If I’m going to recommend it to my patients, I figured I should go on it myself,” Fullin said.
Fourteen months later, a significantly slimmer Fullin says he feels much better and has greater energy than he did on the diet he’d followed since childhood. With considerable help from his friend, contractor/carpenter Brian Rippon, Fullin now grows much of the fare he consumes, producing it in his own garden.
That’s something else he strongly advocates, when, one night in early May, still clad in pale blue doctor scrubs, he makes his second pitch in three weeks on the subjects to an audience at Kenosha Medical Center, 6308 Eighth Ave., in a conference room just across from the hospital cafeteria.
First up, a sample buffet prepared by the hospital’s food service staff from recipes Fullin supplied. Included are a raw veggie tray, fresh fruit, toasted pita wedges, fresh hummus, a white bean and red sweet pepper spread, black bean salsa with mango. Admittedly it doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of vegan possibilities, but it’s enough to introduce some of the flavors in a light and colorful way.
Next, Fullin intersperses commentary with a slide show, some of which features shots of his own dish creations, his garden and the plants grown there in various stages of development. Oh, and there is kale. Lots and lots of kale. Fullin, it seems, can’t sing praises enough about the nutritional value of the dark, leafy green plant and its seemingly miraculous health benefits.
“Anyone who knows me knows I love to eat,” Fullin said, projecting a photo of a former favorite, a whopping concoction of some sort oozing bacon, other meat and cheese. But, alongside it, he projects a list of “diseases of excess” topped by obesity and its related health complications: diabetes, heart disease, cancers, osteoporosis and more.
Pleasing to the palate
Later, he acknowledges changing to the diet/lifestyle he now advocates requires that foods be pleasing to the palate. He ticks off a lengthy list of veggies, grains and plants as heart and weight healthy can-do’s. He shows numerous slides of vegan meals that appear to appeal to the audience. Then, he pauses.
“Are you starting to see that eating plants is not a doomsday scenario?” Fullin asks. “In order to change things, you have to change your pantry. You have to change your refrigerator.”
He offers numerous tips to get from point A to point B, whether eating at home with others not prone to giving up meats and dairy or dining out and going to house parties. For example, bring your own dish to a get-together. Steam cook instead of frying in oil. Substitute various types of vinegar in place of cooking oils. Eat fresh whenever possible versus downing pre-processed foods.
“By the way, mushrooms have more protein than meat. Mushrooms are 54 percent protein. Your protein needs are so low you get all the protein you need from plants,” Fullin assures the audience. “You’re going to get plenty of nutrients. A plant-based diet is nutrient dense.”
In 36 years as a cardiologist, Fullin adds, he has never admitted a patient for protein deficiency who wasn’t also deprived calorically.
Health wise, switching from ingesting animal products to eating plants is where it’s at, Fullin tells his audience, not a few of whom started out eyeing him more than a bit skeptically when he began with: “What’s meat? Anything that has a mother and a father.”
He urges restricting dairy and limiting oils and oil-producing nuts/seeds to 10 percent of dietary intake. Doing so, he says, citing several studies, helps prevent and reverse coronary disease, “what we treat with stints, surgery and medicine.”
“The primary treatment,” Fullin advises, “actually is diet. It’s better treatment than anything we can do medically.”
I thought I would share some of the facebook pages that we 'Like' and follow in our feeds. I thought these would be good for people to see who are NOT already Vegan. They have lots of good thought provoking posts and photos. It seems funny to me that the ones that don't need to see it or read it are the ones that are already seeing it. I think other people who are not already Vegan should see it and get some good facts!
Here are the Facebook pages that you should consider "Liking" at least for a while to see how you like them.
One of our good friends gave me a recipe for Vegan Dill Dip for veggies and such. I tweaked it a bit and here is the final recipe for you!
One full container of Non-Dairy PLAIN yogurt (I used Almond Dream brand, it is just a tad on the sweet side, even though it's PLAIN. You can experiment with different ones. There should be a coconut milk based one as well as a rice milk and probably even soy, but your favorite grocer may not have them all in the PLAIN flavor). I do like this one though in this recipe.
The same amount of Vegenaise (Vegan Mayonnaise) as the yogurt. You can even use the yogurt container as your measuring cup! You can also use your choice of Vegan Mayonnaise, there are tons of different brands and flavors. This one is really good though. You could trick anyone. The flavor is extremely similar to regular mayonnaise.
Add 1 TBS of Dill Weed. I really, really LOVE Dill, so if you don't want quite that much you can definitely use less.
1/2 TBS Beau Monde
What is Beau Monde? Basically a gourmet seasoning salt consisting of spices like cloves, cinnamon, salt, bay leaf, allspice, pepper, white pepper, nutmeg, mace and celery seed. It gives the dip a depth of flavor and that little something that makes people go, 'Hmmm, what's in that?'.
1/2 tsp. Himalayan Pink Salt (you don't have to use this particular salt, you can use any salt you have on hand). I like Himalayan Salt because it contains the full spectrum of 84 minerals and trace elements. It is an unrefined, unprocessed "raw" salt that's hand-mined from abundant salt caves that were formed 250 million years ago as ocean salt settled in certain geologic pockets around the earth. I found this at Costco pretty reasonably priced and it will last us a pretty long time.
Mix everything together and you're done! Put it in a covered container and store in the fridge. The kids absolutely love this dip too. They eat their veggies without it, but they eat WAY more with it!
Our favorite dipper is carrots, but you can dip any veggie in it!
The discovery of whole-food, plant-based eating has transformed the way I think about health, both personally and professionally, all thanks to Forks Over Knives.
As the director of prevention and wellness at St. Luke’s Hospital in St. Louis, I had always considered myself knowledgeable about the importance of diet and exercise, tried to eat “healthy,” tried to stay active, and counseled my patients to do the same. My “healthy” diet centered on eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean meat, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains (although I wasn’t averse to an occasional bowl of ice cream!).
In the fall of 2010, I sustained a knee injury that required surgery and didn’t do a very good job with post-op rehab. The resulting decline in physical activity led to weight gain. In July 2011, I had a physical, which showed, much to my surprise, elevated cholesterol, borderline high blood sugar, and borderline high blood pressure. My primary care physician talked about putting me on cholesterol-lowering medication, but I was reluctant.
A short time later, I chanced across Forks Over Knives while browsing Netflix one night. After watching the film and reviewing the medical literature regarding the health benefits of plant-based diets, I realized that it would be unconscionable for me to not to try a whole-food plant-based diet for three months and then answer three questions: 1) How hard was it to shop, prepare meals, eat out, etc.? 2) How did it affect my energy level and mood? 3) At the end of three months, how did it affect my numbers (weight, blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol)? At the same time, I began to rehab my knee so I could begin exercising again.
At the end of three months, the results were nothing short of miraculous. I found that shopping for and preparing healthy, complete, flavorful meals was not nearly as difficult as I had anticipated. Eating out was more of a challenge, but many restaurants were more than willing to prepare a plant-based meal with advance notice. More amazing were the mental and physical changes that occurred. My mood and energy markedly improved—no more sugar lows mid-morning and mid-afternoon! Also, with a minimal change in physical activity (as I was just completing my knee rehab), I lost 25 pounds, my cholesterol dropped from 240 to 150, and my blood sugars and blood pressure dropped significantly and were now in the normal range.
Since then, as I have added more exercise and continued following a whole-food, plant-based diet, I have lost almost 60 pounds total, have completed five half-marathons and four triathlons, and will soon compete in my first half-Ironman.
As I have a shared this message regarding the power of whole-plant-based eating with my patients, those who have embraced it have had the same astounding results that I had, oftentimes being able to stop the medications they were taking for diabetes, cholesterol, or high blood pressure. It is now clear to me that almost every chronic disease I was trained to treat (often with the help of prescription medication) is directly or indirectly related to living a lifestyle discordant with the one we are designed to lead—we eat things we are not designed to eat, we don’t eat things we are designed to eat, we don’t get enough physical activity, and we deal with stress in ways we were not designed to. This discordant lifestyle has profound effects on the health of our society as well as the health of our planet, and a whole-food, plant-based diet can play a transformational role in improving both.
James Loomis, Jr., M.D. practices internal medicine at St. Luke’s hospital, where he also serves as director of prevention and wellness. He has served as team internist for the St. Louis Rams and the St. Louis Cardinals as well as tour physician for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Loomis, who enjoys cooking and competing in endurance races, lives with his partner Elise and has three sons.
I've been thinking about making a chai tea smoothie for awhile and yesterday I decided to give it a try.
The black tea in chai is rich in antioxidants because of the inclusion of cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and nutmeg so it is a very healthy drink if you make it yourself. Chai mixes you can buy at the store contain alot of sugar and just don't taste as good as that from your own loose or bagged chai tea. Normally, we have hot chai tea but on this warm afternoon I wanted to serve something chilled. Since the kids were going to be drinking this, I made sure the chai tea was decaffeinated.
If you have never have tasted chai tea before, the spice combination reminds me of pumpkin pie.
Ingredients: Decaf chai tea bags, almond milk(we use Blue Diamond), frozen bananas, flax seed meal, dates and cinnamon.
This smoothie was an experiment and it was TASTY!
3 tea bags of decaf chai tea steeping in cold Almond milk for at least 20 min( I gave it about 30 minutes but you could leave it in the refrigerator overnight).
4 dates with the pit taken out.
Frozen Bananas + chai tea/almond milk liquid + flax seed meal(1 teaspoon per serving). I realized I needed more liquid for 5 servings so I used the original 3 tea bags and let them steep in a second round of almond milk for about 10 minutes.
Some cinnamon on top to be a bit fancy and add some more nutrition!