Here are ten easy recipes for balanced, plant-based meals for health and happiness.
10 Reasons to Eat Less Animal Foods
- Germs. Factory farms, transport and storage introduce most of the listeria, e-Coli, flu etc. we get
- Pollution. Our soil, water and air is being devastated by methane, runoff
- Water supply. It takes enormous quantities of water to grow beef etc.
- Fossil Fuels. In addition to transportation, petroleum-based fertilizer is used to grow animal feed
- Suffering. Cows, pigs and chickens are scared and stressed when imprisoned, drugged, tortured, raped, and murdered. We not only know about it, we are also consuming their flesh. We suffer too.
- Karma. As factory farms have increased, so has our drugs, violence, stress, etc. We reap what we sow.
- Health. Eating beef, pork, poultry, eggs, and dairy brings heart disease, obesity, diabetes, infection, cancer, depression, bipolar disorder and Alzheimers, just to name a few.
- Vanity. Animal foods age us, worsen our smell, attract bugs, and make us selfish
- Economics. It costs less to eat a plant-based diet, and saves the environment from ruin.
- Love. Cats, dogs, hamsters, turtles, birds and fish are pets, why not cows, pigs and chickens?
1. Brown Rice 100 Ways
Brown rice comes in short, medium and long grain, jasmine, basmati, black and sweet varieties, from various regions. There are several ways to prepare it (boiled, pressure cooked, flour, noodles, mochi, milk), and there are several ways to help it cook faster and more completely, for better nutrition (sea salt, kombu, bay leaf, ume plum). There are also many other foods you can cook into it, from other grains, to beans, to nuts, mushrooms, and more.
You can also use more water, or less water, and of course you can reheat and repurpose rice into such things as rice balls, sushi, fried rice, rice porridge, etc. There are over 100 different ways for you to enjoy rice, so don’t be bored! Whole Foods has a wonderful Bulk Food booklet which shows how to cook grains, but it’s very simple: Rinse and soak for a few hours or overnite; use a 2:1 ratio (or 1.5 for pressure-cooked) of water to grain, and boil for about :40. Check part way and add more water if necessary.
2. Azuki Beans with Winter Squash
Soak 3/4 cup azuki beans overnight. If they are hokkaido beans (from Japan), you may keep the soaking water, otherwise toss it. Rinse and boil in at least 2.5 cups spring water for :45 (or until almost soft), with a pinch of sea salt or a stamp-sized piece of kombu, then add 1/2 cup of cubed winter squash (butternut or kabocha work well) and a dash of shoyu.
Bring back to a boil and simmer for another :20-30 and serve. You can use a pressure cooker, and cut the cooking time by 1/3.
3. Sautéed Vegetables w/ Noodles
Get your pot with boiling water ready for the udon.
Cut pieces of vegetables and sort by cooking time. Winter squash, daikon, carrots, turnips, parsnips together, then onions, mushrooms, summer squash, zucchini and broccoli, then green cabbage, scallions, leeks, kale, etc. Hot pan, cold oil (sesame, optional mix with toasted sesame oil), then add long-cooking veg. and separately, cook udon until el dente. Add a pinch of sea salt or some sea veg (wakame, nori or dulse are nice), then stir in medium-length cooking veg., then add optional peanuts or almonds, fresh garlic, etc.
Rinse pasta, add shortest cook veg. and prepare 1/4 cup water, plus 1/4 cup shoyu or tamari, add to pan along with noodles and cover. Optional: add 1 TS ginger juice or lemon juice, and serve.
4. Miso Soup
Add two cups spring water to a pot, along with a dozen or so bits of wakame sea vegetable, 1 chopped shiitake mushroom (dried okay), a chopped scallion and 1/4 cubed firm silken tofu (optional, others work fine as well). Bring to a boil, and simmer for :02. Then take 2 ts miso paste (white miso for taste and appearance similar to restaurant miso soup; I usually mix half white and half barley, for less sweetness and more health benefit) and create a slurry with 2 TS of the simmering liquid. Then add to the soup, and simmer for one more minute. Be careful not to bring back to a boil, so you don’t kill the healthy bacteria in the miso. You can also add a few pieces of kale or collards with the miso.
5. Tempeh Mock Tuna
Open, rinse and chop one package Tempeh (soy or mixed grain are both fine) into 1″ cubes. Boil in 2 cups spring water for :15, then drain, and mash with a fork or masher with 1/4 cup umeboshi vinegar. You can also use fresh plums or paste, particularly if you are on a healing diet. Cover and chill for an hour if you have time.
Add 1/4 cup chopped celery, 1 ts dill, dash pepper, and 2 TS vegenaise (or 2 TS soybean, sesame or olive oil if trying to reduce sodium, etc.). Then make sandwiches with sourdough bread and top with cucumber slices, alfalfa sprouts and a romaine leaf.
6. Baked Tofu Steak
Slice one half package of The Bridge Tofu (or other extra firm variety) into 1/2″ slices. Lay onto a baking tray that has been pre-oiled with sesame oil and covered with a pinch of sea salt (SI or Celtic) or sea weed sprinkle.
Top with a slice of shiitake mushroom and a slice of scallion, then spray with olive oil. Bake at 400 F for :15, then add a sprinkle of shoyu (or tamari), shut off oven and let it bake for another five minutes. Serve hot or cold.
7. Tofu Salad Sandwich
Chop one package of The Bridge Tofu (or other extra firm variety) into small cubes. Boil in spring water for :05 then add 2 TS umeboshi vinegar, 2 TS vegenaise, 1 ts grey poupon mustard, 1/4 cup chopped celery, 1 chopped scallion or 1/4 cup chopped yellow onion, 1 TS dill, and a dash of pepper, turmeric and cumin.
Top sourdough bread with the salad, lettuce and nori slices and enjoy.
8. Oatmeal with Carrots and Onions
Chop 1/4 cup total of carrot and yellow onion, and sautée in sesame oil with a pinch of sea salt for :03. Separately, place 1/2 cup steelcut oats plus a pinch of sea salt in a pot with 1 cup boiling water, cook for :15. Then add the vegetables and simmer for an additional :10, adding a bit of water. For faster cooking, use rolled oats and cut later cooking time to :03.
9. Tempura Vegetables
Your family will go nuts for this. Prepare the batter with 1/3 cup whole wheat flour and 1 cup white flour, with a pinch of sea salt. Sometimes I add a bit of chili powder and black pepper to this. Wisk then add 1 cup seltzer, or 1/2 cup seltzer and 1/2 cup beer. Add a bit more spring water until it has the consistency of thick maple syrup.
If you have time, cover and chill for :30 to an hour. Meanwhile, get started cutting and then rinsing (to wet thme) the vegetables. My favorites are:
Butternut squash, Zucchini, Broccoli, Carrot, Summer Squash, and Lotus root. Do them separately, and don’t forget the lotus root, it’s the best one! Get a large fry pan, and add 1.5-2″ of safflower oil, or a mix of safflower and sesame oil. In a pinch, you can use up to 50% olive (not extra virgin) or canola oil. Heat well, test with a drop of water, then flour the veggies (optional). This will help the batter to stick.
Then dip in batter, shake (loose batter in the oil makes a mess) and drop gently into the pan. Cook 3-5 minutes on medium heat, then turn for 3 more minutes and put into a strainer to lose the oil and cool. Try to resist salting them. Better to add a bit of seaweed shake, gomasio (sesame salt), or dill.
Create a nice dip from 1/4 cup shoyu or tamari, plus 2 TS rice vinegar and 2 TS spring water. You can also add some mustard to that.
- Don’t overeat. When you finish cooking, put the first part (cooled) in the fridge for another meal.
- Have a pickle afterwards. Better for digestion.
- Open a window and use an exhaust fan while cooking. This stuff gets all over!
10. Berry Kanten (Jello)
This one is easy and fun. Does not replace ice cream or cake or chocolate bars, but it allows you to stretch yourself out in between unhealthy binges.
Bring 1 cup apple juice and 1 cup water to a boil. Add a pinch of sea salt, and two heaping teaspoons of kanten flakes (also known as Agar flakes, available at Whole Foods or from Natural Import Company). Stir well, then add a cup of chopped or sliced fruit, such as apples, pears, berries melon, or grapes. Turn off the flame, stir once more, then pour into a brownie pan or jello mold. Cool for two hours then serve, preferably with some rice or true whip on top. Fantastic!
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