Food News

5 Recipes that Prove “Healthy” is the New “Delicious”

shellyWith adventurous food tastes and concerns ranging from personal health to ethical agriculture and livestock practices, more people are exploring alternative diets.

But that’s not always easy – or palatable.

You have paleo and primal diets, pescatarian and raw foods, vegetarian and vegan, and they all have wonderful merits, especially when compared with the processed foods many Americans continue to eat.

“My focus is on easy-to-follow healing foods recipes that make delicious, completely nourishing meals. Some will appeal to those who adhere to a strict diet, such as vegan, and all will make people feel noticeably healthier without sacrificing any of the enjoyment we get from sitting down to eat.”

Alexander offers five recipes that can be used for any meal of the day or night, including:

  • Mango chia ginger granola (raw, vegan): 2 ripe mangos, peeled, cored and sliced in one-inch cubes; 2 cups Living Intentions chia ginger cereal; 2 cups nut or seed milk. Put ingredients in a bowl and enjoy! The cereal is gluten-free, nut-free, and raw- and vegan-diet friendly, and extremely nutritious. Preparation takes five minutes or less and is hearty enough to satisfy appetites the entire morning. The ingredients can be substituted for dietary needs or preferences.
  • Portobello mushroom and grilled onion burgers (vegan): Marinade for the mushroom is essential – 2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar; 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil; 1 tablespoon wheat-free Tamari or organic Nama Shoyu soy sauce; 1/8 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika; 1 peeled garlic clove (grated or minced); 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper; 2 teaspoons organic maple syrup – grade B. The burgers include 4 large Portobello mushrooms – cleaned and patted dry; 1 large white onion (peeled and cut into thick slices); olive or avocado oil to cook mushrooms and onions; 2 sprouted whole grain hamburger buns –toasted; Dijon mustard; ¼ cup baby romaine lettuce – washed and patted dry. Marinate mushrooms and onions for 30 minutes. Drizzle with oil and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes, turning mushrooms halfway through. Serve immediately.
  • Wild blueberry smoothie (raw, vegan): 3 cups vanilla Brazil nut milk (there is an additional recipe for this); 2 cups fresh or frozen wild or organic blueberries; 1 peeled banana – organic or fair trade; 2 to 3 cups organic baby spinach; 1 small avocado – peeled and pitted; ¼ teaspoon cinnamon; (optional) a preferred protein powder or superfood. Blend until creamy. Blueberries are an amazing fruit packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients.
  • Raw corn chowder (raw, vegan): 4 cups organic corn kernels (best during summer months); 2¼ cups unsweetened almond milk; 1 clove peeled garlic (remove inner stem); 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice; ½ teaspoon smoked sweet paprika; 1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract; ½ avocado (peeled and seed removed); unrefined sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste. Blend ingredients and strain; top with corn kernels and diced organic red bell pepper. Among other nutrients, corn provides lutein – an important carotenoid that protects eyes from macular degeneration.
  • Dijon honey chicken wings: 1/3 cup Dijon mustard; ½ medium peeled lemon – remove all the white pith; ¼ cup raw honey; 1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt; 2 large, peeled garlic cloves – grated; 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper; 12 whole chicken wings – rinsed and patted dry; ½ teaspoon paprika. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Blend ingredients in a blender, except for wings and paprika, until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove tips of cleaned wings and store in freezer for future stock. Place wings on lightly greased baking dish, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, place in oven. After 30 minutes baste wings with juices from pan, then brush mustard sauce all over wings, sprinkle with paprika and continue baking for an additional 25 to 30 minutes. Wings should have internal temperature of 165 degrees when done. These are a healthy and tasty alternative to deep-fat-fried wings.
Food and Health

Vegan hiker hits the 2,655-mile Pacific Crest Trail to promote vegan diets and Mercy for Animals

JoshHiking1Josh Garrett is carrying more than a backpack as he hits the grueling Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,655-mile trek from Mexico to Canada – he’s carrying a message about the benefits of a vegan diet and the plight of animals on factory farms.

Garrett, 30, a college track coach and exercise physiology instructor, first hiked the trail in 2009 and called that trek the greatest experience of his life. Now, a vegan for 18 months who feels stronger than ever, he wants to get back out there, this time to promote the benefits of a plant-based diet and raise money for the group Mercy for Animals.

Garrett hikes fast. In 2009 he thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 88 days, a comfortable pace for him but about half the time taken by most hikers. He is confident that fueled by plants and compassion he can trounce his previous speed – barring fires, snowstorms, or snake bites. In fact he has to cut his time down, at least to 76 days, just to make it back in time for the exercise physiology class he’ll be teaching at Santa Monica College in Southern California this fall.

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey thinks Garrett can do better than that – Mackey thinks Garrett can break the current 64-day Pacific Crest Trail speed record and is sponsoring Garrett by providing hiking gear, support, food and water. Mackey, who shares a passion for plant-based eating, hiked with Garrett on a portion of the Continental Divide Trail last summer.

“Josh is not only a very nice person, but is also the strongest hiker I have ever had the privilege to hike with,” Mackey said.

To break the record Garrett will have to average 42 miles per day across terrain such as the blazing Mojave Desert and the steep Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, often carrying a 30-pound pack. He’s happy to give it a go as long as he can get the word out about the animals as he walks.

“When it comes to helping animals, Josh doesn’t just talk the talk, he literally walks the walk,” said Mercy For Animals executive director Nathan Runkle. “We hope that Josh’s selfless journey inspires others to take steps in their own lives to help prevent the horrible suffering of animals on factory farms by adopting a healthy and humane vegan diet.”

JoshMFAShirtAn investigation done by Mercy for Animals, which Garret saw 18 months ago, helped inspire Josh to change his diet.

“I was a big meat eater, wild about dogs but not letting myself think much about other animals,” he said. “Over Thanksgiving 2011, I met two turkeys rescued by a friend. They were friendly and fun, and clearly conscious. Then I saw a Mercy For Animals undercover video where a slaughterhouse worker was using live turkeys, suspended upside down on a conveyor belt, as punching bags. I was sickened. And my own consciousness started to change.”

After seeing the movie Forks Over Knives, he realized a plant-based diet would not only ease his conscience but also benefit his athletic performance, overall health, energy, and endurance. “There was just no half-decent reason not to go vegan,” he said.

Today Garrett feels great, and wants to help Mercy For Animals conduct undercover investigations like the one that had such an impact on him.

“I was deeply disturbed to learn that many animals confined on factory farms are locked in cages and stalls so small they can’t even walk, lie down comfortably, or turn around,” says Garrett. “I want to use my freedom to advocate for theirs. I’m walking because animals can’t.”

Garrett has never been a tweeter but is picking up the habit just for this cause and was delighted to find the handle @VeganHiker available. Follow him there and visit learn more about his quest and sponsor his hike.