Caryn Hartglass on the road, reporting on Food Myths (Fake News), Refrigeration and More.

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caryn-hartglass-with-booksIn today’s show, Caryn will be broadcasting remotely from the Bay Area. She’ll be covering some of the current food myths about complete protein and soy foods. She discusses the pros and cons with laundry machines, dryers and refrigeration and what we foods should be refrigerated and often aren’t. Plus you’ll get more tips on eating while travel and a reminder about the importance of gratitude.

TRANSCRIPTION:

Caryn Hartglass: Hi, everybody. I’m Caryn Hartglass. This is It’s All About Food on the Progressive Radio Network. I’m really grateful to the Progressive Radio Network and I’m going to wave hello to the folks in the studio there. Hello and thank you for broadcasting so much wonderful information for all of us. And giving me this opportunity to talk about my favorite subject: food.

I’m in the Bay Area this month with my partner, Gary De Mattei. We’re here for a number of reasons—not all food related actually. Even though I could probably connect the dots and relate everything to food like I like to do. We just went to a wedding this past weekend; Gary was the officiant at his niece’s wedding. Maybe I’ll talk a little bit about the wedding later because there were some food stories there.

We’ll be directing the musical The Music Man, and we’re doing auditions today and tomorrow. If you’re interested, you might check that out at playfulpeople.net. We’ll be back in December for rehearsals. So that’s going to be a lot of fun.

Now I want to talk about food because that’s what we do on It’s All About Food, and that’s what I like to do.

The first thing I want to talk about is the article by Jane Brody in the New York Times earlier in the month—in fact, I brought it up last week with my guest, Glen Merzer. The article really pissed me off. (chuckles) I find that Jane Brody’s articles are always frustrating. She writes a personal health column, and I always find that her information is usually a century behind. (chuckles) That’s pretty generous of me, actually. There’s always information that’s just wrong.

So I was gleefully happy—can I say that? I was delighted when I saw in the Opinions section of the New York Times (dated October 16, 2017): A Healthful Vegan Diet by Christopher Gardner and David Katz. Dr. David Katz, we’ve had on this program before. They’re both doctors from Yale and Stanford Universities, both are very reputable places. And I just want to read it you because it’s very brief and it gives me so much pleasure:

“The contention that foods must be dutifully combined in a vegan diet to provide the requisite protein for human health is obsolete. All plant foods contain all 20 amino acids, both essential and nonessential. Grains are proportionally low in lysine and high in cysteine, and beans the converse. The difference is simply a matter of concentration.

This would be of practical importance if someone ate only grains or beans throughout entire days. Such a diet would be inadvisable for many reasons beyond amino acid distribution.

There is no more reason to stress the ‘complementary’ choices required of vegan diets than to remind omnivores that they must carefully ‘combine’ their meat with citrus fruit to avoid scurvy. A diet of wholesome foods in a balanced, sensible assembly is the only combining required in either case.”

Is that beautiful? I’ve been rereading it, over and over. It’s just perfect. Anyway, I hope Jane Brody reads it, and maybe one day this myth of plants not having complete protein will be buried, along with so many other myths.

We’ve been dealing with fake news in the nutrition world for a very, very long time. It’s called fake news today. We called them myths. People like to spread them because it makes them feel good for eating things they know they shouldn’t. Which doesn’t make any sense to me because eating healthfully is delicious. It can be delicious. Just takes a little knowledge, a little practice, just like anything.

Okay, let’s move on to something else I want to talk about. I want to talk about some of the greatest inventions. I remember reading—and I don’t remember where—that the laundry machine was considered the greatest invention, and it indeed is a great invention. Can you imagine taking your clothes to the stream and washing them over a washboard? Oh goodness, the laundry machine is fantastic.

Now, every good invention has its benefits and its drawbacks, the laundry machine included. There are some laundry machines that are far more efficient and use a lot less water than others. Hopefully, we’ll going in that direction using more efficient laundry machines as time goes on because water is precious and energy is precious. And using laundry detergent that don’t damage our water supply with toxic ingredients that may help in the cleaning but don’t help when they get into our water table. Things to look forward to.

The laundry machine often comes with a dryer. The dryer has a lot more downsides than benefits. Okay, it’s convenient. But there are more articles coming out today talking about how dryers really aren’t very useful.

Number one: let’s not even talk about the environment, let’s just talk about your clothes. Dryers beat up your clothes. Many women have known this for a long time, and they handwash all of their delicates in cold water with a gentle soap and hang it up to dry.

I lived in Europe in the early ‘90s—it’s probably changed a bit since I’ve been there, but electricity was really, really expensive. As a result, nobody had dryers. Nobody! Everybody lined dried their clothes. If you couldn’t hang them outside on a line, you hung them inside.

There’s actually many, many benefits to drying your clothes inside and/or outside. Drying clothes takes up tremendous, tremendous energy and contributes to global warming. I think we’re at a time, I hope, where we want to turn around this global warming thing. If indeed we haven’t gone too far.

So let’s talk a little bit about drying because I think it’s fun. I’ve read that if the average household in the U.S. chose to give up their dryer, you could save more than $200 a year on electric or natural gas or propane gas bills. Now, that may not seem like a lot. But it adds up.

The thing I like about drying clothes, not just because it protects my clothes—I like that hanging my clothes up is actually a physical activity. Where most people tend to want to reduce the number of physical activities they have in a day, I like making as many activities as I have physical. We walk to the store for our groceries, we carry our bags. It’s a weight lifting exercise, it’s good for you.

There’s a line from the musical Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim where Cinderella says, “Sometimes I even enjoy cleaning.” And it’s true. House cleaning is a great physical activity. There’s a lot of bending, reaching. I like cleaning my apartment because it’s a workout.

The same is with drying clothes. It depends on how you’re drying them, but I also find it a zen activity where I’m in this quiet, peacefulness of hanging one thing at a time in a calm and peaceful pace.

Drying clothes outdoors—if you can—has some great benefits too because you get that air freshness. Unless, of course, if you’re in the Bay Area for the last couple of weeks where there have been wildfires. You don’t want to be drying your clothes outside ‘cause then you’d get a smoky fragrance. Not too pleasant. But normally drying clothes outside gives clothes a really fresh fragrance.

I’ve got this thing—I’ve got a lot of things, but I try and use a very clean and natural detergent that isn’t too detrimental on the environment. I don’t add any of those extra things. I don’t add the Bounce thing because I don’t use the dryer. I don’t put in fabric softeners. All that stuff is just pollutants and neurotoxins with their crazy fragrances. I just like to wash my clothes and get them clean. I don’t want to add stuff to them. It’s an extra expense and it’s just more unnecessary toxins in your life. It’s funny because we’re putting our clothes in the laundry to get them clean and yet we’re adding toxins to them. We’re not really cleaning them. Think about that.

So we dry our clothes occasionally in the dryer. We actually live in an apartment where there’s a laundry room downstairs and there’s a bunch of big dryers. Most of the time, I prefer to dry the clothes in the apartment. We have rules where we can’t dry our clothes outside, unfortunately, and perhaps one day that will change.

In the winter, drying clothes inside really can be beneficial because it adds moisture to the air. In the wintertime especially, the air is so dry that drying damp clothes makes it a little more pleasant and it keeps all of that static out of the air. It’s genius. So that’s drying clothes. I recommend at all possible, when possible to line dry your clothes outside or hang them up inside.

I’m talking about inventions, and this isn’t even the invention that I wanted to talk about. I didn’t really want to focus on laundry machines and dryers, but I thought, “Okay, that’s worth talking about.” What I really wanted to talk about is refrigeration. I’m kinda hung up on refrigeration ever since I read Drawdown, Project Drawdown. We had Eric Toensmeier on the program a few weeks ago talking about Project Drawdown; their website is drawdown.org. They list eighty solutions to reduce global warming, and the number one solution, as I’ve mentioned before, is refrigeration management.

The refrigerator is a great invention. But just like I’ve mentioned before, inventions come with benefits and downsides. The big downside, as I mentioned in Project Drawdown, are the fluids that are used in refrigerators as well as air conditioners. They contain chemical refrigerants. What they do is absorb and release heat, and that enables chilling refrigerants. We’ve had CFs and HCFCs. They were problematic for polluting the ozone layer, and we took care of that with the 1987 Montreal Protocol. They’ve been phased out.

Now we have these HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons), and they’re gentle on the ozone layer; they spare the ozone layer. But they have a 1,000-9,000 times greater capacity to warm the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. This is a problem, big problem, and we need to learn how to manage these fluids. Especially when we discard the refrigerators and the air conditioners.

Okay, this is something to think about, but I want to talk about the benefits of refrigerators right now. Here’s why I wanted to talk about refrigerators.

We’re here in California and we were staying with a friend of mine last weekend. He was really excited, he wanted to make some food for us; he wanted to make his pancakes and he was going to make them vegan. It was a nice Sunday morning and he was making his batch for his pancakes, and I thought, “Why don’t you add some flax seeds to that?” ‘cause I knew he had some flax seeds. So he added the flax seeds. The pancakes were beautiful, nice, fluffy, and lightly golden browned. Beautiful stack. You could actually see them on my blog What Vegans Eat.

We all kinda took our bites, and my friend said, “I can taste the flax seeds.” I thought, “No, you can’t. You can’t taste flax seeds when they’re cooked into something, baked into something.” But then I tasted my piece of pancake, and I knew what he was talking about. I didn’t want to bring it up right then and there ‘cause it was kinda embarrassing.

The flax seeds we used were rancid. They’d gone bad. They had that stale, bad taste.

This is why I wanted to talk about the refrigerator because we really want to use the refrigerator for the right things, and some of those right things are raw nuts and seeds. As soon as I buy all of my raw nuts and seeds, even if they’re not refrigerator in the store, they go in the freezer. Every one of them. It keeps them really, really fresh and fresh tasting.

Walnut and seeds are filled with oil, and oil can go rancid quickly. Once nuts and seeds are not in their shells, this will happen. Flax seeds especially. A little flax seed can last—I think it can probably last forever. I read that they last being in a cool, dry place for two to three years. I think flax seeds in their shells can really go a very long time, as long as they’re not heated.

Once you grind the flax seeds—and you absolutely must grind the flax seed before you eat it, if you want to get any nutrition out of them. Those shells are really hardy. Not only do they protect what’s inside from going rancid, but you can’t get in what’s inside unless you grind them. The problem is once you start to grind them, you’re going to start to degrade them. Ground flax seeds absolutely must be kept in the freezer.

Some people only make enough for the day, some people make enough for two weeks. I tend to make a whole jar and keep it in the freezer, and it lasts about a month or so. We like to use about a tablespoon-two tablespoons for flax seeds per person per day. This is an important nutrient and has so many benefits.

But you don’t want to eat ground flax seeds if they’re rancid. I know a lot of people buy ground flax seeds in the bag, already ground, and they may be okay kept in a vacuum sealed bag. As soon as you get them home, pop them in the freezer.

Another problem with raw nuts and seeds, especially with ground flax seeds, is where you’re going to store them. I say put them in the freezer where they’re kept dark and cold.

My friend had a cabinet which was up over his coffee and espresso machine, which he used religiously every day. And right over to the side was the stove. This cabinet that had the ground flax seeds also had his herbs and spices, and they were all exposed to regular heat from the stove and from the coffee machine. So not only were they not kept in the freezer, cold, they were also getting unnecessary heat. That’s why they went rancid, and that’s why they tasted bad.

We also wanted to make some pesto because he had a tremendous amount of basil growing in a pot on his back patio. It was really gorgeous. I couldn’t help myself; just grabbing a few leaves and I was just nibbling on them. I love fresh basil. At first I thought, “Okay, we’ll make a walnut pesto.” He had a lot of walnuts; he bought a big bag from Costco. How many people who have Costco memberships and buy big bags of things? Hey, it’s fine saving money and buying things in bulk, but you have to be able to store foods properly. And walnuts need to be kept cold.

Now, I keep my walnuts in the freezer. I remember having a conversation with John Robbins when we were putting together our Plant-Powered and Thriving course, and I said that I put walnuts in the freezer. He said that he had read that walnuts shouldn’t be frozen, that you could have some problems with them. He puts them in the refrigerator.

That’s your choice. I’ve had no problems with putting them walnuts in the freezer or the refrigerator. I had a lot of problems when I keep them room temperature or when I let them get unnecessarily warm like keeping them in a cabinet that’s exposed to heat.

We spoke with a dietitian in this program, Mark Rifkin. He was on the show about three years ago, and now that I’m thinking about him, I’m thinking that I should have him back because I always learn so much from him. He talked about walnuts and how they can actually be harmful, toxic when they’re rancid. So please: keep your walnuts cool, calm, and collected in the refrigerator. Or the freezer. Along with all of your raw nuts and seeds. Especially those ground flax seeds.

I’m thinking that maybe people may not like some of the new plant foods that they’re trying, that they learn are healthy because they’re eating them and they’re stale; they’re rancid. The same things go for flours and grains; they need to be stored at the very minimum in a cool, dark, dry place.

I remember staying in a hotel space for a group that was very focused on healthy food advocacy. I have a great deal of respect for them. It was a house actually, it was a rented house—a house that they owned that they used for guests. The pantry had some rice in it. Granted, maybe there aren’t a lot of people that come through and stay in this rented house; maybe they don’t cook while they’re there. But I was hungry and I thought I might try to put something together. I took the rice out of the pantry and I sniffed it, and it was stale! Stale and probably rancid because it had probably been there a very long time.

Food does not taste good when it’s bad! (chuckles) It’s also not good for you when it’s bad. So I’m thinking that could be part of our problem sometimes convincing people to try new foods. They might buy a food—either keep it in their refrigerator and never touch it or keep it in the pantry and never touch it, then find it when they think about it. It’s not good anymore; it doesn’t taste good.

So please spread the word. Eat food when it’s fresh. If it’s food that you want to keep around for awhile, keep it in the refrigerator or freezer. Don’t let it go bad, okay?

There were a couple of other items that I want to mention because I love them so much from Project Drawdown, some of the other solutions that are listed. One of them is educating girls, number six in their list of eighty solutions to reverse global warming. They say that:

“Education lays a foundation for vibrant lives for girls and women, their families, and their communities. It also is one of the most powerful levers available for avoiding emissions by curbing population growth. Women with more years of education have fewer and healthier children, and actively manage their reproductive health.”

That’s beautiful. The last one I wanted to mention is kinda similar and that’s probably why it’s linked as number seven: family planning.

“Securing women’s right to voluntary, high-quality family planning around the world would have powerful positive impacts on the health, welfare, and life expectancy of both women and their children. It also can affect greenhouse gas emissions.”

I don’t think our current federal government got that memo about family planning as they take away all of the financial aid to support family planning, but this is something that we need to continue to fight for.

All right, I wanted to talk about Dr. Fuhrman. We had Dr. Fuhrman on the show a couple of weeks ago because he had a brand new book out and it’s released today (October 17th): Fast Food Genocide. It’s a book that reveals the many ways fast food is derailing the American dream.

Dr. Fuhrman is not only putting out this book, Fast Food Genocide, but he also wants to make this day (October 17th) a day without fast food. He wants us to say no to fast foods, especially today on October 17th. Today (October 17th) is when we say enough is enough and share this information with our family, friends, and neighbors by saying no to fast foods. Today is a day without fast food.

That is unless your fast food consists of what I think fast food should be. That’s when you don’t have a lot of time and you need to grab some food, and you run into a grocery store, you go to the produce section; you grab a couple of bags of greens, maybe a bag of carrots, bag of celery; you can run over to the fruit section, grab some apples, bananas, maybe a bag of walnuts and seeds; pay for it and run out. That’s the best fast food you could possibly eat: greens, some carrots and celery. Fantastic. That’s my kind of fast food.

There’s a new report out by international food consultants Baum + Whiteman in chapter three of their 2018 Food & Beverage Forecast. They predict that 2018 trend of the year is that plant-based foods go mainstream. This is exciting; I’ve heard this before in various different ways. But this is very exciting. They bring up some really important points.

Now, there aren’t a lot of people that will say that they’re vegan or that they want to be vegan. There aren’t many people that want to say that they’re vegetarian. But there are more people that are practicing meat-free meals. 31% of Americans practice meat-free days. More people are looking for their protein from sources other than red meat. 66% of consumers who eat alternative proteins believe that they’re healthier than red meat, and about 83% of U.S. consumers are adding plant-based foods to their diet to improve their health and nutrition while 62% do so for weight management.

There are a lot of good numbers that support plant-based eating, and the numbers are showing that more people are getting the message. Slowly. It’s slow, but it’s encouraging.

58% of adults drink non-dairy milk. 58% of adults drink non-dairy milk. And I thought I’d just digress here for a moment and talk about non-dairy milk. There are a bunch of politicians that are wanting to get the federal government to say that we can’t call non-dairy milk, milk. They say that it’s misleading to customers. It’s not misleading folks. We know when we’re buying almond milk. (chuckles) We know when we’re buying soy milk. We know when we’re buying rice milk, oat milk, and hemp milk that it’s not from a cow! We know.

I was at the Hyatt Place in Sacramento, Roseville this weekend. I mentioned that Gary and I went to his niece’s wedding, Gary was the officiant. We were staying at the Hyatt Place, and it’s always fun for me to go down to breakfast and see what the hotel is offering. I have to tell you: I was blown away because in their collection of pitchers of whole milk, skim milk, apple juice, orange juice, there was a gorgeous pitcher labeled “almond milk.” Yes, we know it’s almond milk. We know it’s not cow milk. And we want it!

I was kinda intrigued, actually, that it was almond milk instead of another non-dairy milk, but I think almond milk is really making it. For a long time we were drinking soy milk, those of us who wanted non-dairy milk. And I still drink soy milk; I love soy milk ‘cause it’s with soybeans and water, nothing else. No added vitamins, no salt, no sugar, no thickener—just soybeans and water. I like it that way.

Rice milk came around, and a lot of people make fun of rice milk because it’s kinda thin and watery. But very helpful for people who don’t want to consume dairy, they have an alternative. And for people who are allergic to soy, rice milk came in handy. But almond milk is really happening. I’m seeing more coffee shops using almond milk.

I think in many circle soy milk and soy foods unfortunately got a bad rap from fake news! Fake news! Those myths about soy saying that soy is an unhealthy food. The only kind of soy that’s unhealthy is the soy that is highly, highly processed. Isolated soy proteins that are used in pho, meat analogs, and other products. Highly, highly processed foods. The minimally processed foods, the organic, non GMO versions of tofu, tempeh, miso, and edamame—these are good foods that have been eaten for hundreds, maybe thousands of years.

Soy got a bad rap, so almond milk is kinda coming through. Almond milk’s delicious. Soy milk, too, is an acquired taste. Soy milk has a beany (chuckles) flavor because it’s made from a bean. Almond milk doesn’t have it. So I can see why almond milk is many people’s choice, and this particular hotel, Hyatt Place, had it and I was very, very impressed. Thank you.

Back to this report saying that plant-based dining is 2018’s trend of the year. The past year, Google’s trend mappers say that there’s been a 90% increase in vegan searches, and I have to tell you that at Responsible Eating and Living, our nonprofit, we see that. We see an uptick in traffic for people looking for vegan recipes, for what vegans eat—which is why I named our blog, What Vegans Eat, because people want to know. This is very, very encouraging. I’m hoping that as it ramps up, at some point, it takes off and everybody gets it. I can dream, can’t I?

This article mentions that the restaurants are the ones that are dragging their feet and are not offering enough vegan options. It really depends on their location, but I have to say it’s true. I’m often disappointed. But as time goes on, I see hope.

For example, when we’re out here in California, we often eat at a restaurant called Aldo’s with Gary’s family. Gary’s family is Italian, they’re all San Jose Italian. This is in an Italian restaurant. They actually like eating the classic Italian foods. This particular restaurant never really had anything vegan on their menu. You could get a pasta with vegetables, get a salad and have them leave off the cheese. But nothing was ever really imaginative.

We ate there last night, and the food was fantastic. Still, they don’t offer anything vegan on the menu per se, but they were offering a white bean salad with red onion, olives, basil, arugula, tomatoes, olive oil, and feta cheese. We ordered ours without feta cheese, and I’ll tell you something: I’m going to be making this salad all the time. Fantastic! The arugula, the basil—of course, I’ll leave off the olive oil or maybe only use just a teeny bit. But this was a hearty, satisfying, fantastic salad.

Then, like I do many times when I’m in a restaurant, I scan the menu. I see what vegetables they have in different dishes, and then I ask the waiter if they can make a sauté of the vegetables that I have chosen. It doesn’t always work out, and sometimes the chef just ignores (chuckles) the vegetables choices that I’ve made and just throws something together. It’s usually broccoli, carrots, something like that—you know, you’ve gotten it.

This time I asked for—make a note of this ‘cause you’re going to want to do this when you’re in an Italian restaurant; it was really fantastic: spinach, olives, artichokes, garlic, potatoes, broccoli… I think there were onions in there. It was just fantastic, and it had some fresh herbs in it. Of course, a little too much olive oil; I can’t tell them no olive oil. But I did tell them no salt. It was a wonderful meal. But restaurants need to know.

My friend, Linda Long, got this when she put this book together, Great Chefs Cook Vegan. She put together a book of non-vegan, renowned chefs and asked them each to prepare a vegan dish that she photographed and that she put the recipe in her book. The idea was that restaurants will do better when they can accommodate more people with different demands.

People are seeing this now with allergies, of course, because restaurants—if they’re serving food and they don’t have gluten-free options, there’s a big chunk of the population who either can’t eat gluten period or they have severe allergies or intolerances. Cutting out a big population really decreases your market share and profits. The restaurants that are smart offer vegan options. It’s exciting but it’s too slow. Too damn slow.

As I mentioned, we’re in the Bay Area. We’re here for about a month. It really requires some effort and some focus to not eat at restaurants. Because we’re on the road, we don’t always have cooking facilities, we don’t always have storage facilities. That’s why it takes extra effort. I’ll be honest with you: I don’t like eating out all the time. It doesn’t feel good. When you’re used to eating really clean, food that you like that’s good for you and clean—eating in a restaurant, it’s fun, it’s a treat. But day after day after day, I feel it wearing me down.

So what do we do when we’re traveling on the road? I want to talk about some of the foods that we eat. We do this at home too, but what happened is we are limited with the ingredients that are available to us. We try to buy just enough for where we’re staying. We try and buy foods that don’t need to be refrigerated, or few foods that need to be refrigerated.

If you’re in a hotel, for example, if you’re lucky to have a refrigerator, they’re small. Or maybe it’s one of those refrigerators where they sell the little snack foods and drinks that you have to pay for; maybe you can move things around and there’s a tiny space of real estate in there where you can squeeze a container of soy milk, something like that. You don’t want to have too much.

Here are some of the things that we got: vegetable broth (low sodium)—and I’ll tell you how fantastic this was in a moment. We got some tofu, sweet potatoes, and fingerling potatoes. We found these beautiful rainbow gem fingerling potatoes, so they’re different colors; not just the white potatoes but purple potatoes, and you know how much I love colorful potatoes! So good.

We got a jar of tahini, and my favorite brand is Artisana organic tahini. It’s probably one of the most expensive, but it doesn’t have all of that added oil. Frankly, I think—I don’t know this for sure—a lot of tahinis add oil. You see all that oil sitting on the top, or the tahini’s so liquid. It’s easy to use, but it’s loaded with oil. I’m not even sure if it’s sesame oil. I don’t know, don’t hold me to it. If you’ve tried as many tahinis (sesame butters) as I’ve had, you know what I’m talking about. Artisana is thick, very pale, white, freshly-grounded sesame seeds. It’s delicious, it’s fantastic. Worth every penny.

And we get some fresh lemons, apples, and bananas. Raw nuts and raisins, rolled oats, and chia seeds. I like to eat chia seeds when I’m traveling because they don’t have to be ground like flax seeds do. It’s better for you if they are, but your teeth do a pretty good job of crunching those nuts. They’re not as hard to digest as flax seeds are.

Another great invention that we love are beans that you can get in those little brick packages. Not in cans because cans are heavy and cans require a can opener. (chuckles) What if you don’t have a can opener? The kind that come in the soft brick packages. Do you know what I’m talking about? They look like little rectangles. They’re about an inch and a half thick, maybe four inches high, maybe two and a half inches wide. Whole Foods has them. You can them salt-free, they’re fantastic.

Cooked beans, I just rinse them. You don’t even have to cook them. I’ve had a package of beans for lunch several times now on my trip. Just because it’s easy, it’s satisfying. You don’t need to do anything other than rinse ‘em. You don’t even have to rinse them. I prefer getting off all that aquafaba off the beans, even though it does pain me a little to pour that aquafaba down the drain. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, aquafaba, which was discovered in 2015, is that bean water. The bean water has been found to act just like egg whites in many, many applications. Look at my lemon meringue pie recipe at responsibleeatingandliving.com, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. But sometimes you have to let that bean water go ‘cause you can’t use it.

With the vegetable broth: we haven’t had access to a burner, but with a microwave that many hotel rooms and many hotel lobbies will have, you can do this. We heated the tofu and the sweet potatoes in the vegetable broth. We also had a box of baby kale. Some of these things will last a few days without refrigeration. We cooked them until the sweet potatoes got soft, and then added to it some kale, some lemon juice, and a little tahini. This was just a fantastic soup. You can also add some quinoa to it; quinoa cooks really fast. This is great soup even if you’re not traveling. I found it was fantastic, and we had some leftovers that we were able to squeeze in our little refrigerator and have for another time.

We all like to make beans with avocados when you can afford them because they’re so expensive these days! We happened to find some that were reasonably priced with some corn tortillas. Again, you can eat the tortillas up or not. If you have access to a microwave, you can warm them up or toast them a little on the stove. Or just eat them not cooked; they’re fine, they’re already cooked.

So these are some things that are really easy to make. Oats and rolled oats can be combined with some apples, bananas, and raisins. You can eat it just like that, dry. Or if you have access to a non-dairy milk, you pour that on it and refrigerate the rest of the milk if you have a refrigerator.

These have been the things we have been living on. In some ways it makes deciding what to eat a lot simpler. (chuckles) We only have a few ingredients. These are our favorite ingredients, the kinds that we use all the time.

Can I take a moment to praise tahini (sesame butter)? We took those rainbow gem fingerling potatoes and cooked them. Chopped them up into chunks; they were soft so they were smashed. Not entirely creamed and pureed, but chunky and smashed. Topped with some green onions and lemon tahini dressing. It was like warm potato salad only better. Only so much better. Mm, I’m getting hungry. and I cooked up some fingerling potatoes. I may be just making that right after I finish this program.

You may remember in my What Vegans Eat blog a few weeks ago, I made Staffordshire oatcakes. It was something that I had made maybe twelve-fifteen years ago. I had found a recipe, I really liked it, I made it. That older recipe is not what I had made this time. It was always in the back of my mind that I should make them again ‘cause I had a good memory of it.

The original recipe required making a batter and letting it sit overnight, and had yeast in it. The yeast would make the batter rise. The recipe that I used, you just let the batter rise for maybe an hour. You don’t need to do it for overnight; you could but it’s not necessary.

This is a really simple recipe. You use rolled oats that you grind in a blender with the flour. I used all-purpose gluten-free flour to mix with the oat flour. You could use a wheat flour if you want to, but I like keeping my recipes gluten-free.

We were surprised with how much we loved these oatcakes for a number of reasons. One is that they were fine; they were easy to make and we love pancakes. We made a lot, and they were especially thick. Like a half inch thick or more.

The insides were a little gooey. I could’ve cooked them a little longer so that they were drier inside. I took them out and I saved them to cook another day. What happened was we realized that they could be used like English muffins. You can make these pancakes, refrigerate them, then the next day or so when you want them, you can fork split them and toast them. Or bake them in the oven. Instant English muffins. Better than English muffins. A great, great discovery. I’m sharing that happily (chuckles) with you.

In our travels here, we like to hit all of our favorite eateries, the ones that do cater to vegans happily. Of course, we went to the Vegetarian House which is in San Jose and I highly recommend it; I can’t recommend it enough, it’s our home away from home. We went there twice since we’ve been here, and the last time was kind of a difficult day. We needed to go to a place where we knew we would be comforted by their wonderful food.

What happened was—maybe this has happened to you—we had a rented car, obviously, and we did some shopping to get ready for the wedding we were going to. When we were all done, we thought we would go to Veggie Grill, which is another great vegan fast food restaurant; I know we’re not eating fast food today, it’s October 17th. No fast food for Dr. Joel Fuhrman and his book, Fast Food Genocide. But this is vegan fast food, and a lot of it is pretty healthy.

Well, we didn’t go there because as we were walking over to it—it was right by the mall we were shopping in, Gary realized that he didn’t have the car key. And we spent quite a while running around the mall, retracing our steps, trying to find the key—which we didn’t find. Then we had to call Hertz. Is this a new thing where car rental companies don’t have the spare keys anymore? They told us they don’t have spare keys anymore, so we had to get our car towed. Then they were going to make a new key from some digital information that they had at their facility. So we had to wait, we had to pay for a tow truck, and pay a $250 fee for making a new key. It was quite an expensive day.

We didn’t end up at the Veggie Grill like we had intended. Instead, since we picked up our car at the San Jose Airport—our next car with the key in it, it was very near the Vegetarian House. It was just so nourishing and comforting to be there. This place is filled with so much love, and it’s a very calm and joyful place to eat. If you’re ever in San Jose, if you know the way to San Jose (sings a ditty), please stop into the Vegetarian House.

We also stopped into our other favorite places around here in the Bay Area, in Los Gatos. We go to Andalé, which has a pretty nice selection for vegans, although I think the next time I go there I’m not going to get the tofu fried. I’m going to try it not fried. They’re very accommodating and vegan friendly.

Then there’s the Pressed Juicery. Now, I used to turn my nose up to the Pressed Juicery when it first came out because it makes bottled cold-pressed juices. I like make juice places that make juice fresh: right in front of me or where I can choose my own ingredients. I’m kinda a snob about this. But there are more places that are popping up that serve green juice that’s already made in their facility early that morning or relatively recently. I guess I can’t be a snob about this anymore because it’s just a good thing that more people want to eat healthfully and are choosing these cold-pressed vegetable juices, some of them have fruits in them, instead of drinking a coke. This is a much better option.

The thing that is bringing more people to the Pressed Juicery these days—at least, what’s bringing me there—is the Freeze, and the Freeze is a fantastic frozen dessert. It’s what all ice creams should be made of: whole foods. Their Freeze is made up of a base of almonds and dates then some other flavors. There’s vanilla, there’s strawberry, there’s chocolate. I’ve really been into the green matcha.

I was looking online for the ingredients that are in the green matcha, and I couldn’t find it. I asked when we were there—because we got some a couple of days ago, and I was so thrilled because I love this frozen dessert concoction and it’s got kale in it! It’s got spinach in it. (claps hands) It’s packed with vegetables, but it’s lovely, sweet, creamy, and cool. I am so excited that it exists on the planet. Thank you, Pressed Juicery, for the green matcha Freeze. Mm!

I think this is a good time while I’m sharing my gratitude for the Pressed Juicery to also share my gratitude and invite you to think about what you’re grateful for. We sometimes do this at the beginning of the program, but I’m going to do it now at the end.

These are some really interesting times. As you know, I live in New York. I spend a good deal of time in the Bay Area, and the Bay Area has seen some pretty horrific wildfires in the northern area. Actually, there are some in southern California too. This does happen periodically, but the ones that have been going on these past few weeks are supposed to be the worst in recorded history.

I know people who have lost their homes, who lost all their possessions. You may know Dr. John McDougall, he is one of them; he lost his home and everything. Can you imagine? I know people who have lived in the Santa Rosa area and haven’t been able to return to their home yet. The air has been really interesting here. We had a couple days where it was really smoky. We stayed inside as much as possible.

It really shakes you up in many ways. There are so many things that seems out of our control, like our environment. To some extent, it is out of our control. I think you know where I’m going, a lot of it is within our control.

For those who have lost things in the recent fire or lost things in the recent floods in Texas and in other places, and the hurricanes that have devastated so many places: Puerto Rico, for those of us who have not experienced these types of disasters—I was thinking, for example, when we lost our car key, I thought that this is something that I cannot get upset about. Because there is so much to be grateful for. We have our health, we have our home, we have food to eat, air to breathe—(chuckles) even though it may have been a little smoky for a few days, for the most part, clean water to drink. There’s much to be grateful for.

At the same time, we need to be vigilant because those wildfires, the ones that are happening right now and for the last few weeks, we don’t know what started them, for the most part. It could have been an accident, it could have been intentional. It really is not known. The area has been ripe for fires, and a lot of our own activity has led to this.

It’s climate change at its best. Some places are really, really dry and some places are really wet. The contrast, the imbalance, the differences we see all over the world are going to get more and more dramatic. Like I’ve been saying for years, animal agriculture is one of the most devastating things that’s going on in the planet today. It affects climate change in a negative way. It affects our air quality and our water quality in a negative way. And we need to be eating more plants.

For those of us who are eating mostly plants or entirely plants, this information needs to be shared with everyone all around us in a loving, non-judgmental, compassionate way. How do we do that?

I know Thanksgiving’s coming up soon. It may be that time where some of us have to make a choice whether we want to sit down at a table and share our gratitude while other people are enjoying a dead bird on the table. It’s a very delicate balance that we have when we want to share such critical information to people that we care about and love, but don’t want to do it in a way that’s going to be disrespectful or a way that’s going to turn them away. I think it’s our biggest challenge. But it’s important to find a way. It’s important to find a way.

One way to do it is to make the most delicious vegan recipes you possibly have and share them as often as you can. Make meals for people. For those of you who don’t like to cook, I understand. Then find restaurants or places like grocery stores that have prepared meals that you know are really, really good and share them with people. People need to know that plant foods are not only good for us but delicious. Because if they know that they’re not going to be deprived, they will be more apt to want to include these fantastic foods more often in their own diets. Which is really an imperative, a vegan, plant-based imperative if we want to keep the human race going.

Now maybe we don’t! (chuckles) I want to try. I have hope. I really want to believe that we have the potential to become something great. I want to see that in my lifetime, and I think we’ll see some dramatic improvement. But it’s really up to all of us. Okay?

Think of the most delicious plant-based foods you’ve ever eaten and share them with people. I can think of a gazillion, and I put them all up at responsibleeatingandliving.com, my nonprofit website where we share free recipes and lots of wonderful information about the benefits of plant-based eating.

If you have a recipe that you like or a favorite food that’s vegan that you like to share, share with me! I’d like to hear about it. You can send me an email at info@realmeals.org and let me know. Because I find that plant-based eating is the most exciting way to eat, the most versatile, and the most variable. There’s such a great variety, it never gets old.

I’m hungry so it’s time for me to eat. Thanks for listening, everybody, and have a really delicious week. I’ll be back next week. I’m Caryn Hartglass, and you’ve been listening to It’s All About Food.

Transcribed by HT, 11/2/2017

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