Plant-Based Health Food Coach, Author and Food Photographer
Author: BJ Reed
I am BJ Reed aka Coach BJ, a plant-based health food coach. I have committed to altering my lifestyle in order to improve my quality of life. By modifying my eating habits to a whole food, plant-based lifestyle and exercising regularly, several health issues have been resolved and the sidebar is that I lost some weight. I completed and have sustained this way of eating since 2010. As a plant-based cook, I develop original recipes and have e-Published three cookbooks. I enjoy the art of taking my own food photography. Join my healthy eating team!
Rustic Smashed Potatoes are so yummy! Here is a quick method to use and cook a variety of potatoes. We usually have yellow, red and sweet potatoes on hand. Use yellow potatoes as the base, red potatoes are so creamy and sweet potatoes, of course, add a slight sweetness. OR use any type you have. So just grab a few…no peeling needed…easy to mash with a simple hand-held potato masher. In no time you’ll have a pot full of cooked potatoes. Add your favorite leafy greens to make an outstanding side dish.
6 medium yellow potatoes, 1 1/2″ cubed (do not peel)
1 medium red potato, 1 1/2″ cubed (do not peel) 1 medium sweet potato, 1 1’2, cubed (do not peel) 3/4 cup non-dairy milk, as needed 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast 1 tablespoon Dijon style mustard 1/2 teaspoon onion powder 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste 1/4 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
Place prepared potatoes into a medium pot and cover with cold water. Boil about 15 minutes until potatoes are easily pierced with a knife. Drain (reserve hot water to wilt leafy greens) and add nutritional yeast, mustard, onion powder, salt and pepper to a serving bowl. I use a hand-held masher to smash the potatoes by adding milk, little by little, until desired consistency is reached.
Nutrition Facts Calories 117 Calories from Fat 4, Total Fat 1g, Saturated Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 127mg, Total Carbohydrate 23g, Fiber 3g, Sugars 0g, Protein 3g
Add leafy greens:
To make the potatoes even more nutritious, add your favorite leafy greens
Tear greens into bite-sized pieces and place into the reserved hot potato water for 2 minutes to wilt
Drain and stir greens into potatoes
I have eaten rustic smashed potatoes for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I love the chunkiness and creaminess of this dish and you can’t beat the lovely color!
This easy-to-prepare meal is sure to become a favorite! A mix of spinach and basil, along with other ingredients, for the pesto results in a tasty combination. Add the pesto to Angel Hair or your favorite pasta and enjoy the deliciousness!
Serves: 4, Prep Time: 20 min, Cook Time: 15 min
1 (13-ounce) package whole wheat pasta angel hair or your favorite whole grain pasta
1 cup fresh spinach
1/2 teaspoon salt For Pesto:
1/2 cup cashew nuts, soaked
1/2 – 1 cup water (depending on consistency desired) 1/2 medium onion or 1 shallot, quartered
1 clove garlic, sliced
2 cups fresh Spinach
1/2 cup fresh basil
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1/2 lemon (juice)
1/8 teaspoon salt Optional: red pepper flakes and Parm-Like Cheeze
To Make Pesto: In a small bowl, microwave cashews in about ½ cup water or enough water to cover cashews for about 1 or 2 minutes. Place softened cashews and remaining ingredients in a blender. Blend, adding tablespoons of water until desired consistency is reached.
To Cook Pasta: Cook pasta according to package directions. To the boiling pot, add fresh spinach during the last 2 minutes. Drain and add salt and Spinach/Basil Pesto to the pasta, gently toss. After plating, add ParmLike Cheeze and red pepper flakes.
Nutritional Facts: Amount per Serving, Calories 446, Calories From Fat 84, Total Fat 8g, Saturated Fat 3g, Sodium 328mg, Total Carbs 76g, Dietary Fiber 11g, Sugars 4g, Protein 18g
Today, guest blogger and friend, Dr. Liz George of Mercersburg, PA shared an essay on Magnesium. Dr. George created a community service Healthy Eating Adventure (HEA) in 2010 to encourage a lifestyle of whole food, plant-based eating. HEA holds a minimum of 3 adventures a year in our community. Tom and I have been a volunteer since 2010.
The research supporting a whole food, plant-based diet is convincing. Still, practically every month another article appears in a medical journal adding additional evidence. In this column I’ll present some of that research – knowledge gives us power and conviction to follow and spread a WFPB way of life.
Magnesium – Another reason to follow whole foods plant based life style.
An article in the Journal of Cardiology, 2016 reported that persons with the highest intake of dietary magnesium have lower blood pressures and cholesterol levels, thus contributing to a 41% relative reduction in stroke risk.
Another article in Diabetic Care reported, that higher magnesium Intake reduces the risk of Impaired glucose and Insulin metabolism , reducing the progression of pre-diabetes to diabetes! People know that they may be able to lower their risk of type 2 diabetes by losing excess weight and eating less sugar. But few know that getting enough magnesium may also ward off the disease.
To HEA folks who have experienced improved blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol control, it will come as no surprise that many of our favorite foods including dark green veggies, legumes, whole grains and seeds are great sources for magnesium. For example magnesium is at the heart of the chlorophyll molecule, so no wonder dark leafy vegetables are on the list. Just an aside (and you’ll see why I include this later) -both chlorophyll and chlorophyllin bind with some cancer-causing substances, which may block the amount absorbed during digestion and help lower your risk of developing cancer; this is a promising area of research. So how does magnesium work its magic? Looking closely at its function gives us a hint of the “complexity of life” – not to be philosophical but read on. It turns out Magnesium participates in more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate diverse biochemical reactions in the body, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control (including insulin sensitivity), and blood pressure regulation.
Additionally, Magnesium is required in energy production pathways. It also contributes to the structure of bone and is required for the synthesis of DNA and RNA. Magnesium also plays a role in the movement of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes, a process that is important to nerve impulse conduction, muscle contraction, and normal heart rhythm.
Sound complex? It certainly is! In fact every nutrient or vitamin that we might discuss has similar, multi-system, complex roles. And that’s why we can’t look at just one nutrient such as magnesium – or focus on just one food as “the best”. It takes eating a variety of foods in all 4 food groups – fruits, veggies, legumes and whole grains, to have our complex systems function at their best. If we leave things out – we might miss out on something beneficial like chlorophyll.
Will taking a supplement help prevent diabetes or hypertension? No studies have shown this. And, as I noted, a multitude of other nutrients in the foods that contain magnesium play a role in how the gut absorbs it and utilizes it in the processes noted above. We also know the other nutrients in these foods – vitamins and antioxidant play significant roles in cardiovascular and metabolic health.
Yes, the magnesium is important – but it’s also the whole food. It’s not about “this food is highest in magnesium, so eat this” – it really continues to come down to following the 4 food groups – fruits, veggies, legumes and whole grains. Eat a variety and don’t let any manufacturer process the “goodness” out of the foods you eat. Remember to balance this diet with daily physical activity. It’s the Whole Picture that’s important and key to our health.
Int. J. Cardiol. 196: 108, 2015 (copy/paste into google and read the article)
Diab. Care 37: 419, 2014;
https://www.nlm.nih.gov/…/002…United States National Library of Medicine
ONION – POTATO STOCK: Sometimes you need a lighter colored stock especially for creamy soups. Use this stock in potato soup, New England no-Clam Chowder or others. This stock will add a wonderful base without overpowering other ingredients. Stock can be prepared with yellow potatoes (cubed with skins). If you need an even whiter stock, use red potatoes (peeled and cubed).
3 medium yellow potatoes (cubed with skin) or for whiter stock use red potatoes (peeled and cubed)
1 pound (3 cups) yellow onion, cubed
8 cups (2 quarts) water
1/8 teaspoon salt
PRESSURE COOKER instructions: Prepare the onions and potatoes; cut into cube sizes. Place in pressure cooker with the water. Cook on medium pressure for 4 minutes. Remove the pot from the hot burner. Once the pressure has been released, blend the ingredients in the pot with an immersion blender.
(NOTE: To prepare the stock in a soup pot on the stove, cook until the potatoes are soft then blend the ingredients in the pot with an immersion blender.)
Nutrition Facts Calories 55 Calories from Fat 0, Total Fat 0g, Saturated Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 37 mg, Total Carbohydrate 13g, Fiber 2g, Sugars 3g, Protein 2g
View the Healthy Eating Adventure (HEA) Newsletter MAR 2018. Check out the events that our community HEA has been participating in this year and the end of last year. See the happy faces of the Shippensburg University’s and Penn National’s adventure goers, recipe from CoachBJ, Tom’s In The News article, Dr. Liz’s Corner article, Patti’s garden path, latest information about Wilson’s Fulton Farm CSA, dates for the next Wilson’s summer 2018 HEA adventure and more.
So I had this bag of Bob’s Red Mill DARK RYE FLOUR and wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it. Don’t you just love their products. Didn’t want to make bread. I turned the package over and there it was… a recipe to make Rye Crackers! But of course it wasn’t whole foods, plant-based. No sweat, this was a simple one to revise.
Here’s how I revised their recipe to make it WFPB:
Subbed Whole Wheat All Purpose Flour for white flour
Less salt and less sugar
Subbed Peanut Butter for margarine/butter
Used Almond Non-Dairy Milk, needed to add a bit more to be able to form into a ball
Because I didn’t roll really thin, it needed more bake time
Here are the crackers with a dab of our homemade apple butter…they were so yummy!
Roasting red bell peppers without oil results in delicate pepper pieces full on nutrients. Use in salads, hummus, sandwiches, pastas and you name it. Roast the peppers until the skins wrinkle and the peppers are charred as shown below.
How to Roast Red Bell Peppers: Preheat oven 400° F. Thoroughly wash red bell peppers, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast the peppers in the oven for about 40 minutes (depending on size), turn several time during roasting. After roasting, place peppers in a bowl, cover the bowl with a dish for 10 minutes to steam (so the skins can easily be removed). Strain and save off juices. Remove and discard the core, seeds and skin. Don’t wash peppers, at this point, or they lose much of the nutritional value. Wipe remaining seeds out with a paper towel and strain juices.
Now they are ready to use – make a lovely sammy or enhance various recipes. We freeze some in zip lock bags, then add to marinara sauce. So yummy!
One of my favorite sides – coleslaw with fruit! It’s easy to make tasty plant-based coleslaw with pre-packaged coleslaw mix or, of course, you can make your own slaw. To add visual interest and ramp up the taste, just add various fruits. In this case golden raisins, Granny Smith apples and colorful grapes. The bottom line…it is nutritious, easy on the eyes and fabulous tasting!
1 (12-ounce) package coleslaw mix
1/2 onion, quartered
1 clove garlic, quartered
1 cup golden raisins (divide)
1/3 cup raw cashew nuts (soak overnight or microwave)
1/3 cup water (to be used for cashew soak)
1 Granny Smith apple (core and cube with skin, soak in lemon juice)
1/2 lemon juice
1 tablespoon Stone-ground or Dijon style mustard
1/4 cup or, as needed, non-dairy milk
1/4 cup (or more ) black or red seedless grapes, halved
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds (sprinkle on top)
Pre-soak: In the 1/3 cup water, soak 1/3 cup cashew pieces overnight or soften in the microwave for a few minutes.
Dressing: In a food processor, puree pre-soaked cashews with onion, garlic, lemon juice, 1/4 apple with skin, 1/3 cup golden raisins and mustard. Add non-dairy milk, as needed, for desired consistency. Blend in food processor until dressing is smooth.
Combine Dressing with Slaw: Place slaw in a large serving bowl. Mix the prepared dressing into the slaw. Add remaining 2/3 cup raisins, 3/4 cup cubed apples and grape halves to the slaw; toss gently. Sprinkle celery seeds on top. Refrigerate a few hours so that the flavors meld.