How To Livekindly…Your “Go-To” Guide!


Yikes – I’ve been away for a little while, 25 days to be exact! My sincerest for the ghosting…lame, I know! But this is just a quick check-in/update on my whereabouts…

Over the last few weeks I’ve had the honor of contributing to Livekindly – a brand new online vegan magazine. Focusing on sustainable and compassionate living, the site is fast becoming a thriving community of epic proportions. With topics covering everything you ever needed or wanted to know about living a happy, healthy, plant-based life – you’re fully covered, and then some, right here.

With recipes, reviews, hot news topics, and nutritional information being just the tip of the iceberg in terms of its awesome content, there’s really something for everyone to enjoy, and more importantly find true value in! A rare combination these days…in that it’s abundant in both quality (a superb, dedicated, team of writers) and quantity (a constant steam of fresh articles)…I would highly recommend checking it out.

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Being honestly the best “go-to” online plant-based guide I’ve seen, be sure to subscribe to its newsletter if you decide to have a nosy – you DON’T want to miss out!

And, my dear friends, in having this arsenal of excellent material to get stuck into on a daily basis, you’ll have every resource imaginable to go forth and live compassionately…indeed, to Livekindly.

Happy reading!

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Tired Of Unhealthy Dietary Misinformation?

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…well, on the off-chance that you are – just like me! – I’d like to point you in the direction of the extremely talented Dr. Hilary Greenebaum, who’s wonderful website I had the honor of contributing to this week. I had a lot of fun writing this guest post, as it gave me the opportunity to really get stuck into some of the scientific minutiae substantiating a whole-food plant-based lifestyle, and, once again, fully appreciate the comfort that only facts and figures can sometimes provide! We are swamped in nutritive myths peddled by mainstream media on a daily basis, and it’s no wonder we struggle to see the wood for the trees when persistently drowned in dietary fallacies. But enough said here, if you fancy checking it out… just click this link.

A quick word about my good friend over at, Hilary’s work is just phenomenal. Dedicated to furnishing the – too often overlooked – facts only, she has created a wonderful 11-part video series which educates on the importance of adopting a WFPB diet, in addition to helping you successfully make the transition. Aptly titled “Knowledge is the Key to Good Health,” I couldn’t agree more, so…go get signed up, and open the door to a healthier, happier life, coz it’s way way too short!

To wrap up, I’m interested to know how you feel about mainstream media’s handling, or even mishandling, of nutritional information – would love to hear any thoughts/comments you may have, so stick them in the box below!

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Lani Muelrath’s, “The Plant-Based Journey”: The Essential Guide To Staying The Whole-Food Plant-Based Course

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The Root Of The Matter

Cover to cover Lani Muelrath’s, “The Plant-Based Journey” reveals itself a true gem. Whether you’re beginning your plant-based journey, or simply looking to sustain it, page by page she dispels all prevailing mythologies surrounding this lifestyle, and in turn, any doubts you may have about either undertaking, or, even continuing with it. Relaying only the truth, together with a plethora of practical guidelines, this trusty combination proves itself a foolproof formula for success.  

And you can take Lani’s word for it, a plant-based veteran with 40+ years real-life experience under her belt, I believe there’s no one better to pay heed of – this being underlined, of course, by the impressive preface, and foreword, respectively given by WFPB powerhouses, T. Colin Campbell and Neal Barnard. With Campbell stating that he “knew it was the companion volume to Whole that needed to be written,” you just know, even before you turn the first chapter page, that you’re in good hands, and for sure, that’s totally the case. Having already begun my own plant-based journey, I have to admit I was beginning to feel the need for some more hands-on advice. I had the science part down but recognized there were areas, especially in the kitchen, and socially, where I was starting to struggle.

Reaping The Rewards

First, in terms of cooking, trying to build up a repertoire of simple recipes was surprisingly proving itself difficult. I have spent months, along with many wasted internet hours, trying to get a set of reliable “go-to’s” sorted, and although I’d figured out a few easy concoctions, they were beginning to stale. So, just as I secretly feared boredom might loom, and with it a not so graceful fall off the wagon, in sweeps Lani! And, with her guidance, I’ve discovered all that I need, and will ever need, not to merely survive this chosen path, but fully enjoy it.

Providing a sample of her own typical week was one of the first real high points in the book for me, as it demonstrated what a “pro” plant-based plate really looks like. From this, I could quickly ascertain whether or not I was including the most appropriate balance of starches, non-starches, legumes etc. Turns out, I was actually a little off track, so now, after reading, I feel completely reassured as how to best re-organize my breakfast, lunch and dinner. While Lani stresses her personal food diary is not meant to be taken as a definitive meal plan, but rather a blueprint from which you can build, I’m sincerely grateful she chose to include this particular glimpse – as I now have something solid to work with, and more importantly refer back to, should I ever veer off lane.

Added to this, another favorite was the provision of a series of recipe templates which she uses to construct her own simple, easy to prepare, meals. I’ve never seen recipes presented this way, and wish more cookbooks would take this route. So, what are these templates? Essentially they’re the bones of how she puts together her week-in, week-out, staples. Then, with this baseline given, once you get the original down you can let the imagination run wild with your own variations. This, to me, is simply ingenious, as it caters to both the unskilled, and skilled, in the kitchen – proving to the novice that you don’t need to be of Gordon Ramsay caliber to get started, while demonstrating to those who are, that there’s still room for plenty of flair on a whole food plant-based diet. Falling somewhere in the middle, I’m already excited to try out the delicious sounding “Plant Burger” template, with ideas to customize already flowing!

With A Cherry On Top Too?

But one’s plant-based success story does not begin and end at home, and Lani, in her wisdom, thankfully gives us the tools to survive every aspect of life outside of it. Covering work, travel and social situations, she has your back. You cannot NOT win with this. In terms of travel, I wish (separate post is coming on this…) I had this arsenal of invaluable info to hand on a recent trip back to Ireland. Navigating the airport was a disaster, and this little treasure would have helped so much. Anyway, I’ll keep that adventure, as I said, for another day! Regarding social occasions, well, these are also nicely squared away, with some extremely useful script offered to take cue from when inevitably confronted with food pushers. Detailing three tried and true strategies of her own, I will definitely be borrowing these going forward. I’ve already had a few not so hectic experiences on this front, and as most of you reading know by now, it ain’t fun, and could – depending on your will – be the make or break of an otherwise steady WFPB ride!

So you’ve gotten some of the good news above, but want to hear something even better? These are just some of my own highlights, aspects of the book that resonated with me from where I’m personally at on this adventure. But make no mistake, as she promises in her introduction this is indeed a book for everyone. And from beginner, to seasoned vegan, I would highly recommend. Of all the volumes, and there are many, that I have purchased since beginning this journey – this is the one I know will be my “lean-on” going forward. I feel confident with Lani’s instruction and advice. You know when you just know you’ve hit the knowledge jackpot? Well, this is it – no need to look further!

Sprouting Knowledge

Lastly, a couple of things to finish on, as I feel this review wouldn’t be complete without mentioning that for those of you who are right now contemplating this as a possible next move, Lani’s breakdown/explanation of the mammoth weight of scientific evidence supporting the WFPB diet, is just amazing. It’s the best I’ve read as regards it’s framing in layman’s terms – that’s a gift. I’ll be referring back to this portion of the book myself as time goes on, being not only helpful for you to remember the nuts and bolts, but also expertly relay it (perhaps to those food pushers!) in turn. In addition, she also furnishes a separate set of complete (not template) recipes, along with a section detailing the replacements you’ll need for dairy milk, eggs and oil. So, you literally have no excuse not to “plantify” your food. People, go get this book! And Lani, thank you for caring enough about this way of living to write it, so the mistakes made in the past will not derail those of us who want to remain on this wonderful path for the very long haul.

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Fancy Supporting The Beginning Of “The End of Meat”?


Today feels good! I just donated to an Indiegogo Campaign that’s aimed to get the movie, “The End Of Meat,” to market. Funds are needed for the post-production effort/final push it seems, and I’m all for it. As of right about now, they are steadily inching towards the €23,500 mark, out of a goal set to €40,000. Yesterday, after I came across a May 11th post on the film’s Facebook page asking for help, they were just over €21,200. That was lunchtime. So, in less than 24 hours after the first check-in, it’s clear the might of social media is not to be underestimated.

Another thing that shouldn’t be underestimated is the growing strength of the plant-based movement. This fundraiser is testament to it, as the rise of veganism appears to be a precise reflection of the increasing levels of compassion felt for our non-human counterparts. It’s inspiring, and reminds me of a brilliant 2006 talk given by evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins, on the shifting moral zeitgeist. Discussing, in general terms, the historical trend that is “the steadily shifting standard of what’s morally acceptable…[that moves] in parallel, on a broad front, throughout the world,” this phenomenon indicates that advances in animal rights will, thankfully, continue to progress (YouTube).

FullSizeRender (13)And, as regards such positive developments in this arena, Dawkins, in this fresh UK Times article, provides more specific comfort on the matter. Sharing his belief that “the 21st century’s “speciesism” [will] one day be viewed in the same way we [now] view the 20th century’s racism,” I’m confident we’re truly, finally, headed in the right direction ( But this current momentum has to maintain a pulse, and by giving to endeavors like “The End Of Meat,” we can rest assured this effort to keep its March 2018 release date on track is something worthwhile, and actually life-changing. We all know by now the precious impact these kinds of documentaries have had in recent years – think, for example, Forks Over Knives, Plant Pure Nation, Cowspiracy etc. They have been runaway successes on Netflix, with the education provided therein motivating millions to adopt an environmentally sound, legitimately salubrious, lifestyle. The way I see it, it’s really a case of…the more the merrier! So, the more opportunity there is to expose more people to the resounding “evidence [concerning] meat consumption’s negative impact on the planet and on human health,” the happier, in the long run, we all will be (

Therefore, in the spirit of promoting these efforts effectively, the filmmakers have not made this campaign just about the financials. If you can’t afford to give, that’s ok, they simply ask that you consider spreading the word on your social media platform of choice. It’s a brilliant request, through which the certain growth of community will, in turn, spark even bigger, more meaningful conversations, that will ultimately bring the end of meat nearer the horizon. It’s already within sight, now let’s ensure this ethical evolution stays right on cue!

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Note: Image is courtesy of “The End Of Meat” website (

Say, What Ya’ll Up To September 24-27th?


If “nowt” is the answer, you may want to think about attending this year’s International Plant Based Nutrition Healthcare Conference. Being held in Anaheim from September 24-27th, the agenda looks super impressive. I’ve signed up myself – with the opportunity to hear the who’s-who of the whole-food plant-based nutrition world speak, it’s just too good to miss. Their aim? To…

educate, equip and empower the gatekeepers of dietary-related advice…about the power of plant-based nutrition, providing compelling resources they, in turn, [can] use to inform and inspire their patients and clients to adopt the optimal whole food, plant-based dietary lifestyle” (, my emphasis). 

And with the likes of T. Colin Campbell, Caldwell Esselstyn, and Dean Ornish on the bill, I’m sure no one will leave questioning the benefits of what they term – and I like it – the “Ultimate Rx”. Also, in addition to the usual/standard lectures themselves, I’m thrilled to see they’ve set an hour aside for plant-based chef, Chad Sarno to demonstrate some “Foundational Cooking Techniques”. So, not only talking-the-talk, but for a change, actually walking-the-walk too. This, I think, will be super helpful, as we can know all there is to know on paper about the WFPB diet, but really, we need to be able to translate this knowledge in the place where it matters most – the KITCHEN!

To me, this inclusion is both critical and ingenious…especially, especially, when you are trying to get the message across that this lifestyle is far from complicated, and that its magic can easily be revealed through the most basic cooking skills. In fact, you could almost argue, that the less you do to your food, the better! But anyway, this is at the very core of truly equipping, and empowering, people to actually make a difference in their lives – and it can begin, so simply, with a peeler in one hand, and chopping board in the other!

That’s why I’m excited to go, to be further informed, further inspired. And, as to why I’m drawing attention to this now? Two reasons. First, as I just barely, just by-the-way, found out about it myself, I’d like to publicize its existence as much as is humanly possible. Second, I got my ticket at premium pricing rate, which up until May 15th is $945 – so time is running out! After this date, it will be $1245 for physicians, $1145 for non-physicians. Not the cheapest by any means, I know, but I’ve spent the same (unintentionally, and not all at once!) on the most throwaway of things over the years. This, I know, will be well worthwhile. I mean, it’s an investment in your health really – and in that, for sure – there will always be a great return.

(FYI – I’ll will be blogging throughout, and post, the conference – with a plan not only to review it, but to give you the lowdown on some of the best insights learned there.)

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Note: In this instance, logo is courtesy of the “International Plant Based Nutrition Healthcare Conference” website (

May The Force Be With YOU! So, Who Wants In On This Plant Strong Spud?


Well…I hope you all want a piece of the action, because, my oh my, these little starch bombs just explode with heaps of flavor! Was caught in a bit of a pinch food-wise yesterday after returning home from an early morning, extremely agonizing, foot surgery. With the cupboards seemingly bare at first glance, I took another (much more creative) look around – managing to pull together a few handy, and easy to assemble, ingredients! Still going strong on the old anesthetic round dinner time, I was determined to rustle something up myself. You know those times when only home-cooked grub will do…especially, especially, when you’re not feeling quite so chipper?!

So anyway, I spurned the offer of take-out, and on went the spuds. All in, this took about an hour to do. With the fillings being rustled up in about 15 minutes or so, I had plenty of time to get my R.I.C.E. on 😉

Being the best call I could have made in terms of getting properly nourished in a most critical moment, everpost-meal, I felt like I could take on the world, and its wife! Indeed, you could absolutely say, that once again, the force was well and truly with me! Yup, it was a proper lightsaber (oh yes, intended), so here’s how to make…


  • 4, medium sized sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup, plain hummus
  • 2 cups, raw spinach
  • 2 cups, frozen broccoli
  • 2 cups, frozen cauliflower
  • 1 can (425g), black beans (no salt added)
  • 1/4 cup, walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon, garlic powder
  • To taste, salt and black pepper
  • Additional toppings, if desired – Nutritional yeast, or, Hot sauce, or, whatever is your usual go-to “tay-toe” garnish


  • Begin by pre-heating the oven to 400°F for about 10 minutes.
  • Wash the potatoes thoroughly. Then wrap each one in a piece of aluminum foil, up to about midway or so (you’ve done this before!).
  • Place on a parchment lined baking tray.
  • Pierce the top of each about 5 or 6 times with a fork, and then grind a little sea-salt on top.
  • Let them bake for around 55 minutes, then when done, switch off the oven and let them sit with the door slightly ajar for a further 10 minutes to cool down – they will be piping!

So, while the spuds are doing their thing, you can get on with the fillings…

  • Wash the spinach, and set aside in a bowl.
  • Drain the black beans, then throwing them in a sieve, rinse off any excess slime/ liquid from the can under the tap.
  • Set them aside in a paper-towel lined bowl, and then pat them dry with another paper-towel over the top, and throughout, as best you can.
  • Boil your frozen broccoli and cauliflower together (this should take less than 10 minutes), adding a tablespoon of garlic powder for a little extra flavor while they cook.
  • Drain, mash, and again set the mix aside in a separate bowl once done. Stir in a shake or two of black pepper here for good measure!

Now, with your bits and bobs all ready to go, grab the potatoes and get stuffing… 

  • Slice the spud straight down the middle.
  • Spread some hummus on each side, then line with a few leaves of raw spinach.
  • Stuff in some of your broccoli/cauliflower mash.
  • Next, add the beans.
  • And, lastly, stick a few walnuts (about 3 or 4 half or full-sized pieces), right on top.
  • Enjoy as is, or add any of the optional toppings noted above that you might fancy.

Best practice with this, really, is to eyeball the amount of each ingredient going in. This will depend on potato size, your own taste preferences etc. Anything leftover can be used as a “mini” side (like the mash as shown above), with any remaining hummus, for example, being just a nice bit of extra dip!

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(Note: recipe original to “the balance brigade”)

Bobbing Along In A Sea Of Nutritional Confusion: Why Are We So Comfortable With Food’s Infinite Gray Areas?

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Been a couple weeks since I checked in, but my absence can be somewhat explained by the above photograph taken at Hook Head Lighthouse in Co. Wexford just a few days ago. The goal was to keep my blog schedule on track while on holidays, but even with the best of intentions, it fell by the wayside. I was, however, keeping the old Instagram feed going – being a nice diversion when family conversations started to run dry! I had actually posted this picture shortly after we got home from the coast, and as we sat down to dinner that evening I realized the image couldn’t be more apt for this next installment.

I knew going home was going to be tough, from a food perspective that is. Not only had I to explain my whole-food plant-based leanings, I had to hope that my parents would be accepting enough to let me practice them. Now, while they had been forewarned, I think the reality was a little unsettling for them at first. But, I’m happy to say, after a couple of days, and good dose of sarcasm about my ability to maintain a pulse sans animal protein, they were actually very good about it. So, no fuss with my new dietary inclusions/exclusions at all, and totally fine with me making the necessary adjustments to my plate at mealtimes.

Happy days, you may say! But while the war I thought I’d be waging ended up being no battle at all, an unexpected struggle – and I think I was fated to be at home while this happened – instead reared its ugly head. Not wanting to impose my herbivorous lifestyle on the folks the first few days of the visit, I said nothing while the typical/traditional Irish diet they were enjoying was dished up before me. And, I can tell you, that after a while, it was unbelievably difficult to sit there and watch the veggies play second fiddle to whatever meat was on the menu that night – even if it was in the interests of having a conflict-free vacation!

But then a letter arrived about half-way through, and with the results of recent blood-work revealing my dad’s LDL, or “bad”, cholesterol being at 210 mg/dl, I knew it was time to stake a claim on no man’s land. Just for context here, 190 mg/dl is considered “very high” according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Although being informed that he was absolutely in line for a heart attack, stroke, or worse was beyond shocking, I think the most disturbing part of this communication was the laxity of its delivery. Simply told to check back in 3 months time, whereupon repeat tests would be carried out, the doctor was confident that with the help of the accompanying leaflet on how to amend diet and lifestyle accordingly, my dad’s cholesterol would lower considerably.  No argument there, but as this life-saving pamphlet wasn’t actually included with the mail, the report by itself, in being meaningless to its retiree recipients, was promptly shelved.

Until, (thank God!), I found it. And, then I knew it was time to unleash everything I had learned from The China Study, and through eCornell’s Plant-Based Nutrition course. The first conversation fell on deaf ears, the reason being, that as the doctor hadn’t followed up with a phonecall, they were of the opinion that the issue was not grave enough for them to be in any way concerned. It was infuriating, but on went the dialogue, and together with some intense Googling, they eventually accepted they had a situation that they not only needed to be worried about, but immediately address. And this is where the fun, quite literally, started. Oh yes – and in having seen their initial attempts to transition to a whole-food plant-based existence, the report’s disappearance began to make much more sense!

So, no, they may not have understood its technicalities, but on some level, I think they were cognizant of the practical changes that were going to have to be made. My mother’s a good cook, but not adventurous. My dad likes the basics, and therefore, you have a culinary prescription designed to stand the test of time – which it definitely has (42 years to be exact!). And, with that in mind, you can see why denial set in when told that it would be best advised to drop all meat and dairy, together with the extensive miscellany of processed foods stuffed into the kitchen cupboards. Life, in their eyes, was now going to be hell. But in trying to convince them otherwise, I came up with a simple plan – a list of all their favorite foods (minus the contraband), and what to do/how to easily prepare them. I also told them to keep a simple food diary, and to return to the doctor with it in about 4 weeks time, making a point to follow up with him, as opposed to being followed up with when it might be too late, and the unimaginable had already happened.

Here’s hoping they’ll implement last change. I gave them the tools, including a copy of The China Study, now it’s in their hands. If anything, it’s a lesson in how we end up in such murky waters, with the fear of change, the unknown, keeping us forever floating in life’s cosy gray areas. Now this is fine, until the time comes when you’re presented with a potential life/death scenario such as this, and you somehow know, that the glaring black and white of a situation is really your best guide, your only guide. And then you’re left with no option but to just follow the facts – which in this case, was/is to ditch the meat and be done with it. As human beings, we will doubtless falter from time to time in this quest – certainly, no one’s perfect. Testament to this was our first family effort in having the full-on whole-food plant-based experience on my last day together with them.

We were right on cue all day, with breakfast and lunch running smoothly, until dinner, when a planned rice and veggie stir-fry was mysteriously replaced with a couple of bags of french fries from our local chipper while I was busy packing. Insisting they were adhering to WFPB standards by going the potato route only (usually a burger and some battered sausages would be in tow), I let them off the hook, but at the same time leaving them under no illusion that this was suitable fare! There was discomfort, for sure, now that the chipper was firmly out of the equation as a take-out option. But I’d take that uneasiness any day of the week, if only to eliminate the convenient confusion that lies there in lieu. At the end of the day, no one ever really benefits when heads remain treacherously stuck in the sand. I’ll keep you posted on those LDL numbers!

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Hankering For Some Good Vegan Eats?

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Good! Then it’s time to hit ‘Little Pine,’ Moby’s Silverlake restaurant, ASAP! It comes highly recommended, by me, but, before I strike another key, here’s what the man himself has to say about this unique little spot:

“…i can write about food and veganism and architecture & design, but it’s a lot more compelling and interesting to open a restaurant and show actual, physical examples of food, community, veganism, and architecture & design. blogs and Instagram are great, but a picture of food will never replace an actual, beautiful plate of food served in a beautiful space…” (

See? Definitely a necessary interruption, as he duly points out the inadequacy of words, when actions are really what it’s all about. So, I’ll keep this brief. Yes, blogs etc. can spread the news, and quite effectively provide people with the opportunity/information they need to begin a whole-food plant based diet. But why not just drag a skeptic kicking and screaming to dinner…and let them get a taste of what they’re not missing. The whole purpose here naturally being – to reinforce the power of doing, over just saying. And, while not everyone will have the opportunity to open a (non!) greasy spoon in their lifetimes, this is the kind of effort anyone can make. I know I plan to return with as many cynics as I can squeeze in one sitting next time!

Serving beyond delicious Mediterranean inspired California cuisine, “featuring 100% plant-based produce and ingredients”, Moby’s restaurant is exactly as he describes it above….plus 10% cooler ( It has an intimate, but very relaxed, community feel – a vibe that so many places strive for, but completely miss the mark on. Now, this, to me, was awesome, as in having a celebrity owner, I was expecting a little pretentiousness. But, I guess, when you have a proprietor that gets the fact that we are all made of stars – then you’re really all set.

This “we,” of course, also includes all sentient beings, an equality the menu rightfully recognizes by stating that all profits go to animal welfare organizations. So, all the more reason to support a plant-based way of life that is not only commendable, but also sustainable. Blasting “Go – The Very Best Of…” in the car on the way home, one particular chorus jumped out at me, one I hadn’t paid any heed of in my omnivorous past life… “growing in numbers, growing at speed, can’t fight the future, can’t fight what I’ve seen” (Moby). But listening now, it suddenly had new meaning i.e. that fact that the future is truly vegan, as we can’t sustain a future without it…

Ok, this wasn’t brief, but words are all I have for now – unless you deem the ethical undertakings of my knife and fork to be suitable enough action. Oh, and here’s what we ate, together with some kick-ass sparkling wine cocktails…

  • Panzanella – Toasted Bread, Avocado, Market Vegetables
  • Brussels Sprouts – Apple, Fennel, Apple Cider Gastrique
  • Fennel Flatbread Pizza – Housemade Sausage, Fennel, Romesco, Spinach,         Parmesan
  • Mushroom Bourguignon – Crimini Mushrooms, Pearl Onions, Carrots, Cotes du Rhone, Mashed Potatoes
  • Garlic Basil Gnocchi – Pine Nuts, Pesto, Market Vegetables, Bread Crumbs

No dessert this time, as we were completely stuffed with this lot, but don’t worry, it’s happening…in the very near, vegan secured, future!

Copyright © 2017

The Whole-Food Plant-Based Diet…So Where Does this “(DNA)Fit” In?


So, I have a interesting story for you guys! Right around Christmas, just before my whole-food plant-based journey began in February, I sent my DNAFit swab away for analysis. I had been wanting to do this test for quite a while, and having spent some time checking out its mostly rave reviews, I was excited to “change the way [I] think about fitness and nutrition forever” (DNAFit). For those of you not in the know, this saliva test is used to uncover your genetic profile, one that is specifically geared up to reveal your body’s own unique response to exercise and diet. To be fair, the reports generated – which I received just after New Year – are super neat. And while they provide you with two healthy volumes on the latter, I feel the third, a one-page overall “state of the union” kind of summary is really all you need to get straight to the heart of your results.

The Lowdown? 

Ok, so while the exercise portion gave some seriously nifty info on my recovery speed, injury risk and power/endurance response (almost 50/50!) for example, I wanted to tell ya’ll about the food situation. As I said, with this reaching my inbox right around the first week of January, I couldn’t have been more hyped about getting a personalized diet plan. Having a post-holiday spare tire to shift, I was desperate to get my hands on what I was sure would be the quickest route to deflation! And hey-ho, with my optimal weight management regimen noted as being “Low-Carb,” I felt assured that science hadn’t failed me. With a reported high ‘Carbohydrate Sensitivity’ and normal (not raised) ‘Cruciferous Vegetable Need’, I was confident in what I had to change. So…no more bread and refined potatoes (ahem, fries!), and definitely no need for an extra broccoli or sprout boost.

Post Deflate-Gate

All set then, right? Well, with human nature being what it is, it took me some time to get back on track, and while in the middle of getting my resolutions in order, I began, as you know, exploring the whole-food plant-based thing. What I hadn’t mentioned in my previous posts, though, was that having finished The China Study, I decided to enroll in, and have now just completed, eCornell’s Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate. And boy-oh-boy, what an incredible education that was! Forgetting all about DNAFit’s recommendations, I instead adopted the high carbohydrate/low fat/low protein model as advised by T. Colin Campbell, and have been doing so, with great effect, for the last couple of months. By great effect I mean, higher energy levels, clearer skin, stronger hair, nails etc., but best of all, is the feeling of being completely satiated after every meal. Yup, all these lovely benefits from a fuel source I was supposed to curb. Granted, I think we all know by now that a close eye should be kept on refined/processed carb intake, but the sky’s the limit as regards whole grains, and as for vegetables – no increase will ever hurt!

I know it definitely hasn’t hurt my scales, with my weight, happy to say, fully recovered from the holiday fall-out. But, back to DNAFit, with their conclusions once again coming to the forefront of my mind this past few days, I was curious to find out if they even suggested a vegan, or whole-food plant-based option to their clients. Turns out, they don’t. Offering only Mediterranean, Low-Carb or Low-Fat plans, a company rep informed me that while their reports do not explicitly cater to herbivores, their separate online meal planning service does allow users to specify dietary preferences, whereby they can then avail of recipes that match their particular needs. Now this inclusiveness is awesome, for sure, but to me, it just stresses the fact that you really are your own best doctor. I say this, as if you aren’t really in the nutritional know – like me, round about 3 months ago – I think a person might be more inclined to unquestioningly accept the advice as emailed, especially if you’re in the midst of a battle with the scales!

Our “Made to Measure” Obsession

But, don’t get me wrong here, this is in no way a criticism, just an observation based on my own experience, and fresh education on the subject. And, with it under my belt, I think it kind of begs a sincere question i.e. why is a whole-food plant-based diet, one that has been proven to be the cure of virtually all ills, not automatically top of the list? My hunch, here, once again comes back to human nature, and that fact that no-one really likes a “one-size-fits-all,” simple, solution. Fancying ourselves as “one-off’s” that require a tailored fix, we are reluctant to accept the fact that as much as our DNA is wholly different, we are, at base, tantamount to the same. Anyway, each to their own – at the end of the day the DNAFit experience was fun, and informative in many ways. Yet, on reflection, I’m grateful that in the meantime I happened to stumble upon the Center for Nutrition Studies – and I can tell you, with utmost sincerity, that it was this adventure that truly allowed me to “change the way [I] think about fitness and nutrition forever”.

Copyright © 2017

Looking For A Kick-Ass Vegan Lasagna?


Well, if you are, you’ve come to the right place! Today was kind of an awesome day, one that was spent chopping, slicing and dicing to my heart’s content – thank you, Netflix! Just when you think you’ve already binged on every conscientious food documentary it has to offer, its “Because You Watched…” section always seems to plate up something new n’juicy.  And, although I somehow managed to miss the quite unassuming gem that is The Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue from 2011, I think I couldn’t have caught up with it at a better time. Running at a very short and sweet 52 minutes (perfect commute/lunch hour viewing!), whole-food plant-based diet advocate and presenter, Rip Esselstyn, provides viewers with the best hands-on approach to the adoption of this lifestyle that I’ve seen. Working with two families keen to kick their conventional eating habits, he spends about a half-hour of on-screen time with each, giving practical advice on how to go about a weekly shop, and then, more importantly, how to cook up the bounty of herbage they’ve returned home with.

And it was at this juncture, my dear friends, where I witnessed the magic that was Rip’s preparation of the mouthwatering, Raise the Roof Sweet Potato Lasagna. Taking a very “bish, bash, bosh” /Jamie Oliver approach to its assembly – a style I absolutely love, and one, I think, which makes us all feel like we can be rockstars in the kitchen – I knew I had found my new go-to mid-week dish! Truthfully, I had been at a loss for the last couple of months since scrapping the old Sunday Shepard’s Pie whip-up, and this recipe fits the meal-prep bill just perfectly. Better still, now it’s just out of the oven, I can confirm that it also tastes exactly as it looks on camera – bloody delicious!

Pun possibly intended there, but what wasn’t was the extra sprinkling of nutritional yeast that I used as an add-on to Rip’s specified ground cashew topping. Mentioning in one of the film’s grocery sprees that it makes a nice parmesan substitute, I was dying to give it a go. Result = Spot On! Another quick tip on this – the veggie/tofu mixture makes a ton, so be sure to have a decent size Pyrex dish on hand to squish it all in. I spent the entire 60 minutes of its cook-time trying to cope with the unadulterated fear of a possible overflow, and a night spent not eating but cleaning. Happy to say, though, that the aluminum foil covering, as recommended, relieved me of that chore – which is perfect, as one of Rip’s books, “Plant-Strong” just arrived in the mail, and with another 150 life-saving recipes to sift through, I know where my time is more wisely spent!

Copyright © 2017