Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for the ‘Non-animal diet’ Category

Butternut-Kale Soup (aka Lotsa Lutein Soup)

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After I posted about the brain’s strong preference for lutein as an antioxidant (picky brain!), I of course started thinking about tailoring some of my eating to the brain’s preferences. (I am aware, of course, that it is my brain making these choices.) I picked up a bunch of Lacinato kale and a butternut squash (found in this post) and figured I’d make a soup. I also got some corn tortillas made locally. (See this table for corn tortillas — a double win: both lutein and zeaxanthin.) I figured I would eat the tortillas with the soup.

A quick search found at this recipe by Ramses Bravo, executive chef at TrueNorth Health Center in Santa Rosa, California and the author of the cookbook, Bravo! The ingredients:

4 cups diced butternut squash
2 cups tightly packed chopped kale [and I might use collards sometimes – LG]
2 cups diced yellow onion
8 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons chopped ginger

Changes I’ll make:

• Red onion instead of yellow (because red — darker than yellow — has more nutrients)
• Add 4 cloves garlic and 1 good-sized turmeric root (and black pepper for the turmeric)
• I don’t have veggie broth, so I’ll use water with some MSG (it’s okay) and salt substitute (which brings in some potassium and some iodine — and omits sodium). And I probably won’t use half a gallon, as he does. More like a quart n— I want it thick, maybe even a purée.
• Maybe a couple of Serrano peppers.
(Red cayenne season seems to be over, alas.)
• Maybe some beans or lentils
• The name — new name is Lotsa Lutein Soup.

Written by Leisureguy

2 October 2022 at 2:03 pm

Avoid rancid brain fat by eating brain-healthy foods

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This is a fascinating video in showing how one can look into a person’s eyes to check the health of their brain — and, at the end of the video, the specific foods that help the brain stay healthy.

From the video, comparing the lutein/zeaxanthin content of some foods:

I’m going to make this:

Kale Kicker

• a few sprays of extra-virgin olive oil
• 2-3 cloves garlic (Russian red garlic for me), chopped small
• 1 bunch scallions (or 1/2 large red onion), chopped
• 1 bunch Lacinato kale (aka Tuscan kale, dino kale), chopped
• 1-2 teaspoons dried marjoram
• 2 tablespoons vinegar

Put the chopped kale into a food processor and chop it further — finely chopped is what we’re going for. Let it rest 45 minutes so we can get the benefit of the sulforaphane. 

Mince garlic and let it rest 15 minutes.

After those have rested, spray skillet with a few Evo-sprays of extra-virgin olive oil, then sauté the scallions (or onions) and the garlic for few minutes. Then add the kale and marjoram and vinegar, cover, and cook for 10-15 minutes or so over low heat, stirring occasionally.

I haven’t made this yet, but I’m going to, and I’ll eat 1/2 cup of that with each meal.

Update: See also this recipe: Lotsa Lutein Soup.

BTW, cooking kale reduces the lutein content by half, but kale contains so much that you still get more than most foods. However, that does suggest baby-kale salads (raw kale) is a good idea.

Other foods high in lutein include winter squash, collards, and peas.

See also this report (brought to my attention by a reader, Montreal Steve), and in particular this table in the report. Pesto is a terrific source, a wonderful thing to know. And I’m going to start eating corn tortillas with my meals.

Written by Leisureguy

30 September 2022 at 6:25 am

Broccoli in garlic sauce, incidentally vegan

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This recipe looks interesting — and presented at a good clip. I particularly found the Marmite tip of interest: use it in a sauce to add umami (and B vitamins). 

I certainly would not use white rice, which lacks the minerals found in the bran. I would use brown rice or — more likely — a more nutritious grain (like kamut or rye) or pseudo-grain (like quinoa). Those are more nutritious than rice and also tastier, IMO.

Another change I would make: after cutting up the broccoli, I would let it rest for 45 minutes to prevent the loss of sulforaphane. (The video at the link provides a workaround to preserve the sulforaphane if you don’t let the broccoli rest.) I routinely use the “hack-and-hold” method when I cook broccoli (or kale or cabbage or any other cruciferous vegetable). I like doing that better than using the workaround.

I would also probably skip the sugar and molasses, but that’s me.

Written by Leisureguy

29 September 2022 at 5:06 pm

Eat More Dairy, Less Red Meat to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

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I wish I had known this long ago. Miriam E. Tucker reports in Medscape:

Among animal protein foods, low-fat dairy consumption may minimize the risk of developing type 2 diabetes while red meat raises that risk, a new analysis finds.

“A plant-based dietary pattern with limited intake of meat, moderate intake of fish, eggs, and full-fat dairy, and habitual consumption of yogurt, milk, or low-fat dairy, might represent the most feasible, sustainable, and successful population strategy to optimize the prevention of type 2 diabetes,” lead author Annalisa Giosuè, MD, of the University of Naples Federico II, Italy, told Medscape Medical News.

She presented the findings from an umbrella review of 13 dose–response meta-analyses of prospective cohort studies on September 20 at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) 2022 Annual Meeting.

The study is believed to be the first comprehensive overview of the available evidence from all published meta-analyses on the relationship between well-defined amounts of animal-origin foods and the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Giosuè and colleagues focused on animal-based foods because they represent a gap in most guidelines for type 2 diabetes prevention, she told Medscape Medical News.

“The existing evidence and dietary recommendations for type 2 diabetes prevention are mainly based on the appropriate consumption of plant foods: high amounts of the fiber-rich ones and low consumption of the refined ones as well as those rich in free sugars. And also on the adequate choice among fat sources — reduction of saturated fat sources like butter and cream and replacement with plant-based poly- and monounsaturated fat sources like nontropical vegetable oils. But not on the most suitable choices among different animal foods for the prevention of type 2 diabetes,” she explained.

The new findings are in line with the Mediterranean diet in that, while plant-based, it also limits red meat consumption, but not all animal-based foods, and has consistently been associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. Vegetarian diets have also been associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, but far less data are available for that, she said.

Asked for comment, session moderator Matthias Schulze, MD, head of the department of molecular epidemiology at the German Institute of Human Nutrition, Berlin, told Medscape Medical News: “Decreasing intake of red and processed meat is already a strong recommendation, and these data support that. You have to make choices for and against [certain] foods. So, . . .

Continue reading.

There are substantiated health risks in eating animal protein foods in general, so rather than cutting back animal protein intake to “limited intake of meat, moderate intake of fish, eggs, and full-fat dairy, and habitual consumption of yogurt, milk, or low-fat dairy,” it made sense to me to eliminate all of those from my diet and stick to whole-food plant-based foods. I get plenty of variety, the food is tasty and satisfying, and avoid all the problems associated with eating animal proteins. Plus it is simpler just to eliminate animal protein entirely rather than trying to figure out “moderate” intake. One doesn’t need those foods, they carry risks, so why eat them? (I know: they’re tasty. But so are whole-food plant-based foods — or at least they can be. Recent example.)

Written by Leisureguy

27 September 2022 at 6:16 am

Ribollita My Way

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After I had the Tuscan White Bean and Kale Soup blogged earlier, I decided I could make a better (more nutritious and — who knows? — tastier) version of my own. And then I came across a Wikipedia article on ribolitta. That sounded like just the ticket, though I would do it my way (hence the title), which for one thing meant no bread (an essential ingredient in ribollita) — not a whole food. But oat groats certainly can thicken as well as any old bread and have the benefit of being a whole food (and a grain, to complement the beans).

When I start thinking up a recipe, I hope a TextEdit page and list ingredients. Here’s the list I came up with, after being modified slightly in the making — modifications in square brackets

• Black beans (have more nutrients than white beans — lentils would be even better)
• Kale — Lacinato kale, I think; seems appropriate
• Red cabbage, shredded and allow to rest 45 minutes
• Leek or spring onion or scallions; maybe red onion as a fallback [red onion it was]
• Some diced carrot — 1 medium regular carrot or 1/2 Nantes carrot [1/2 Nantes]
• Diced purple potato [used half of an enormous Stokes Purple potato]
• Tomatoes [6 Roma — the season for San Marzano seems over]
• 3/4 cup oat groats [next time 1 cup oat groats — or hulled barley — & cook before adding]
• 2 Red Habanero Pepper, seeded [should have worn gloves — fingers on fire]
• Garlic [4 cloves Russian red garlic — enormous cloves]
• [2 garlic scapes I found in the fridge]
• Ginger [I used only part of the root shown
• Turmeric + Black Pepper [4 turmeric roots, chopped fine]
• Dried Marjoram [about 2 tablespoons]
• Dried Thyme [about 1 tablespoon]
• Mexican oregano [about 3 tablespoons]
• Salt substitute [about 2 teaspoons]
• MSG [about 1 teaspoon]
• Water [enough; I used water from cooking beans and then a little more]

Half the Stokes Purple potato

I Evo-sprayed my 6-qt wide diameter pot well — probably 2 teaspoons (8 sprays) and prepared the vegetables, putting them in the pot as I went. 

I wanted to sauté some of the vegetables, so I held back on tomatoes, beans, and oat groats. Everything else went into the pot (except black pepper — wanted to add that after pot had liquid because pepper can burn). Because prep took a while, the garlic and red cabbage (which I did first) had some time to rest.

I sautéed what was in the pot for a few minutes, stirring frequently, then added the tomatoes, beans, oat groats, black pepper, and water — the water in which the beans were cooked and more water to boot. Here’s what it looked like (on the left, before cooking; on the right, after cooking — and you can click on any of these photos to enlarge):

I cooked it roughly an hour, all told. The “timer” in this case is the grain: once the oat groats are cooked, it’s ready. (The beans were cooked until not quite done in the expectation that they would finish cooking in the ribollita.) 

I just had a small bowl of the soup to test it. The habaneros are certainly present, but they are not overwhelming (probably because of the amount of soup and presence of potatoes, carrots, beans, and grain). The grain will probably open a bit more after it sits overnight in the fridge and then on being rewarmed.

Some observations after having a few small (“tasting”) bowls:

  1. The intensity of the habaneros quickly faded. Now the soup is just warm (in the spicy sense).
  2. I added some of Simnett’s vegan buffalo sauce on top — very nice.
  3. Encouraged by the buffalo sauce, I decided to have a small bowl of soup after putting in a spoonful of cashew butter. Also very nice.

I think this worked out really well, and I’m sure I’ll make it again. All the purple vegetables (red onion, red cabbage, purple potatoes) are full of nutrients — see this post.

I’d stack this up against regular ribollita any day, strictly on nutrient value. And next time I’ll use Du Puy lentils instead of black beans (already bought them), and that will take the nutrient value up a level.

Written by Leisureguy

26 September 2022 at 5:31 pm

Made Simnett’s vegan buffalo sauce

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And adjusted the recipe as follows:

In a blender [or in an immersion blender’s beaker – LG] add:

• 3/4 Cup of Frank’s RedHot [I used Original and XTRA Hot, 50-50 – LG]
• 3-4 Tbsp of Cashew Butter [I would say 4-6 Tbsp – LG]
• 1 tsp Garlic Powder [I used 2 cloves of garlic, chopped – LG]
• 1/2 tsp Paprika [I used Spanish smoked paprika; will use 1 tsp next time – LG]
• 1/4 cup of water [I would start with 2 Tbsp water, more if needed – LG]

BLEND! [Since the garlic is blended, no need to crush. Just chop. – LG]

I used a locally made cashew butter. Ingredients: cashews.

Written by Leisureguy

23 September 2022 at 11:14 am

Nordic walking makes a big difference after just 3 weeks

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This post will be of particular interest to readers who have type 2 diabetes or know someone who has it. At right are what my Contour app shows after this morning’s fasting blood glucose reading. Just before I resumed daily Nordic walking on September 1, the averages were 6.2 right down the line: 7-day, 14-day, 30-day, and 90-day. 

The benefits of exercise — particularly aerobic/cardio exercise — in reducing fasting blood glucose levels cannot be denied, but I should also point out that I follow a whole-food plant-based diet and that I stop eating at 5:00pm. Absolutely no food goes into my mouth (i.e., not a bite or even a taste) after 5:00, though I do drink iced tea (hibiscus + white tea) in the evening. I also have cut out eating between meals during the day, and I think that helps as well. This abstaining from food part of the day is a version of intermittent fasting

Fasting after 5:00 make a big difference. I have found, for example, that if I have a snack at 8:00pm, that definitely raises my morning blood glucose reading.

The figures shown are in mmol/L, the usual measure, though the US uses mg/dL. To convert from mmol//L to mg/dL, multiply by 18.018. Thus 6.1 mmol/L = 110 mg/dL, and 5.7 mmol/L = 103 mg/dL. (My former average of 6.2 mmol/L is 112 mg/dL.)

I’d like to get my average down to 5.5 mmol/L (99 mg/dL). Maybe…

Written by Leisureguy

23 September 2022 at 7:28 am

Store-bought vs. homemade, soup division

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I just had some soup from a little neighborhood market. I went in to look, and wanted to buy something. (Looking was rewarded: they have Red Boat fish sauce, which can be hard to find locally.)

The soup was pretty good, but I immediately thought of making my own version. I had checked the label and found that the ingredients were on the whole okay — well, take a look.

That’s Allen Family Foods Tuscan White Bean and Kale soup. I could certain do without the Agave syrup (pure refined fructose), and while I”m glad to see turmeric included, it is the very last ingredient. The major ingredients are all fine, and the minor ingredients are very small in proportion. (For example, note that this soup has less white wine than sea salt.)

Note also that the word “Tuscan” is important to increase the appeal of the soup. “Tuscan White Bean and Kale Soup” is more appealing than “White Bean and Kale Soup.” See this post for more on the importance of recipe names.

Here’s the first cut of an ingredient list for a version I think I’ll make:

Exotic Black Bean and Kale Soup — or, Ribollita My Way

• Black beans (have more nutrients than white beans)
• Kale — Lacinato kale, I think; seems appropriate
• Leek or spring onion or scallions; maybe red onion as a fallback
• Some diced carrot — 1 medium regular carrot or 1/2 Nantes carrot
• 2 Cayenne Peppers (or 1 Red Habanero Pepper, seeded)
• Garlic
• Ginger
• Turmeric + Black Pepper
• Dried Marjoram
• Dried Thyme
• A little ground cinnamon
• Salt substitute
• MSG 
• Water

and after some reading:

• Oat groats (about 1/2 cup)
• Red cabbage, chopped and allowed to rest 45 minutres
• Purple potatoes, diced 

Depending on mood, I might include some pumpkin seed or walnuts, either in cooking or added when served. I’ll probably cook the black beans separately, then add them (already cooked) to the soup. I might spray in a little olive oil — in fact, perhaps sauté the the non-bean ingredients, then add beans and water to make a thick stew. 

I might also include mushrooms along with carrot. I could also include tempeh, but this already has beans. So perhaps some sort of grain cooked in the stew — a millet, or hulled barley, or oat groats, which would make a nice thick stew. Now that I write it, I like the sound of using oat groats, perhaps half a cup for the batch of stew. That would thicken it, which is what they were going for with chickpea flour and tapioca flour, but using a whole grain (with the beans, a better protein). 

I might add balsamic vinegar, now that I see that they’ve done that. Acid brightens the taste, and balsamic vinegar would bring a little of that along with some sweetness (that was the point of the Agave syrup, I imagine). Or instead I might blend a couple of peeled lemons and add that pulp to the stew just before serving.

Update:  In terms of nutrients, lentils would surpass black beans — Du Puy lentils would be nice. Or I could keep to the original color scheme with chickpeas.

I’m thinking Lacinato kale for the kale. And possibly tomatoes. Definitely the oat groats. 

More ideas: A Wikipedia article on ribollita gave me more ideas. Oat groats will work well in lieu of day-old bread (for thickening and for grain — and oat groats are a whole food, whereas bread is not), and I think I’ll include some red cabbage and some chopped purple potatoes. I’ve added those to the recipe.

Written by Leisureguy

22 September 2022 at 11:22 am

The best foods to feed your gut microbiome

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It’s important to feed your gut microbiome good food because it feeds you. This Washington Post article (gift link, no paywall) by Anahad O’Connor provides a good summary of current knowledge.

Every time you eat, you are feeding trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi that live inside your gut. But are you feeding them the right foods?

Scientists used to know very little about these communities of microbes that collectively make up the gut microbiota, also known as your gut microbiome. But a growing body of research suggests that these vast communities of microbes are the gateway to your health and well-being — and that one of the simplest and most powerful ways to shape and nurture them is through your diet.

Studies show that our gut microbes transform the foods we eat into thousands of enzymes, hormones, vitamins and other metabolites that influence everything from your mental health and immune system to your likelihood of gaining weight and developing chronic diseases.

Gut bacteria can even affect your mental state by producing mood-altering neurotransmitters like dopamine, which regulates pleasure, learning and motivation, and serotonin, which plays a role in happiness, appetite and sexual desire. Some recent studies suggest that the composition of your gut microbiome can even play a role in how well you sleep.

But the wrong mix of microbes can churn out chemicals that flood your bloodstream and build plaque in your coronary arteries. The hormones they produce can influence your appetite, blood sugar levels, inflammation and your risk of developing obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

The foods that you eat — along with your environment and your lifestyle behaviors — appear to play a much larger role in shaping your gut microbiome than genetics. In fact, genes have a surprisingly small effect. Studies show that even identical twins share just one third of the same gut microbes.

Your ‘good’ microbes feast on fiber and variety

In general, scientists have found that the more diverse your diet, the more diverse your gut microbiome. Studies show that a high level of microbiome diversity correlates with good health and that low diversity is linked to higher rates of weight gain and obesity, diabetesrheumatoid arthritis and other chronic diseases.

Eating a wide variety of fiber-rich plants and nutrient-dense foods seems to be especially beneficial, said Tim Spector, a professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London and the founder of the British Gut Project, a crowdsourced effort to map thousands of individual microbiomes.

Even if you already eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, Spector advises increasing the variety of plant foods you eat each week. One fast way to do this is to start using more herbs and spices. You can use a variety of leafy greens rather than one type of lettuce for your salads. Adding a variety of fruits to your breakfast, adding several different vegetables to your stir fry and eating more nuts, seeds, beans and grains is good for your microbiome. [See the Daily Dozen and Heber’s palette of colorful foods. – LG]

These plant foods contain soluble fiber that passes through much of your gastrointestinal tract largely unaffected until it reaches the large intestine. There, gut microbes feast on it, metabolizing and converting the fiber into beneficial compounds such as short chain fatty acids, which can lower inflammation and help to regulate your appetite and blood sugar levels.

In one study scientists followed more than 1,600 people for about a decade. They found that people who had the highest levels of microbial diversity also consumed higher levels of fiber. And they even gained less weight over the 10-year study, which was published in the International Journal of Obesity.

Clusters of ‘bad’ microbes thrive on junk food

Another important measure of gut health is a person’s ratio of beneficial microbes to potentially harmful ones. In a study of 1,100 people in the United States and Britain published last year in Nature Medicine, Spector and a team of scientists at Harvard, Stanford and other universities identified clusters of “good” gut microbes that protected people against cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes. They also identified clusters of “bad” microbes that promoted inflammation, heart disease and poor metabolic health.

While it’s clear that eating lots of fiber is good for your microbiome, research shows that eating the wrong foods can tip the balance in your gut in favor of disease-promoting microbes.

The Nature study found that “bad” microbes were more common in people who ate a lot of highly processed foods that are low in fiber and high in additives such as sugar, salt and artificial ingredients. This includes soft drinks, white bread and white pasta, processed meats, and packaged snacks like cookies, candy bars and potato chips.

The findings were based on an ongoing project called the Zoe Predict Study, the largest personalized nutrition study in the world. It’s led by . . .

Continue reading. (gift link, no paywall)

Written by Leisureguy

20 September 2022 at 5:41 pm

A Plant-Based Take on Buffalo Sauce and Wings

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I am particularly interested in the sauce. From the Description of the video on YouTube (which also has the recipe for Cauliflower Wings):

Vegan Buffalo Sauce

In a blender [or in an immersion blender’s beaker – LG] add:

• 3/4 Cup of Frank’s RedHot [I used Original and XTRA Hot, 50-50 – LG]
• 3-4 Tbsp of Cashew Butter [I would say 4-6 Tbsp – LG]
• 1 tsp Garlic Powder [I used 2 cloves of garlic, chopped – LG]
• 1/2 tsp Paprika [I used Spanish smoked paprika – LG]
• 1/4 cup of water [I would go with 2 Tbsp water, more if needed – LG]


From Wikipedia:

Frank’s RedHot is a hot sauce made from a variety of cayenne peppers, produced by McCormick. The Original blend ranks low on the Scoville scale, with 450 SHUs [Scoville Heat Units – LG], but the XTRA Hot variety measures 2,000 SHUs.

Frank’s RedHot Original is the usual choice, but I’m going to try Frank’s HotSauce Xtra Hot.

Here are the recipes being made:

Written by Leisureguy

18 September 2022 at 8:04 am

Summer joy: Cooking fresh vegetables

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Just cooking some dinner. Starting at upper left and going roughly clockwise, we have:

• Russian red garlic — I used two of the (enormous) cloves
• ginger root — I used all of the piece shown
• turmeric root — just below the ginger and mostly hidden — chopped fine
• red habanero pepper — just to the right of the ginger; I seeded this and chopped it
• 2 red cayenne peppers — above the habanero; I chopped these without seeding
• 3 garlic scapes — mostly hidden; cut into short sections
• 2 long sweet peppers, 1 red, 1 yellow — seeded and chopped
• 1 zucchini — quartered lengthwise and cut into good-sized pieces
• a few kale leaves — chopped
• diced red kidney bean and millet tempeh, marinated in Smoky-Maple overnight
• 1 leek, chopped including leaves
• a few scallions, ditto
• several crimini mushrooms, sliced
• a few spears asparagus, chopped
• 1 San Marzano tomato, chopped

That’s my Bulat knife in the photo. Not shown but added:

• a couple of pinches of MSG
• a good amount of ground black pepper
• roughly 2 tablespoons dried marjoram
• roughly 1.5 tablespoons dried mint
• good shaking of salt substitute (potassium chloride, iodized)
• good dash of tamari — a tablespoon or two
• about 1/4 cup Bragg’s apple-cider vinegar

I added all of the above to my 12″ MSMK nonstick skillet which was sprayed with about 1.5 teaspoons olive oil, covered the skillet, turned the induction burner to “3,” and cooked it for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.


And here it is after cooking.

It tastes good, and the presence of the habanero is definitely noted. It was a good decision to use only one. (I bought three.)

The Smoky Maple Marinade is a hit, and the tempeh tastes great. I think I probably should have used the entire 8 ounces I made. I’ll add the rest now and cook the dish a bit longer. 

Overall, a good meal. Other elements of the Daily Dozen I got earlier — for example, the chia pudding included spices (cinnamon and cloves), walnuts, flaxseed, and berries (frozen berries plus dried barberries plus 1 teaspoon amla). And I had a 1.71-mile walk (3.32 mph, so 31 minutes).

Update: I added the rest of the tempeh, including the marinade, and cooked for six minutes. I just had a bowl of that — also delicious. Also, the aftereffect of the habanero (and cayenne, I imagine) is a sustained warmth in the mouth — not heat, not painful, but warm and pleasant.

Written by Leisureguy

16 September 2022 at 4:31 pm

Smoky Maple Tempeh Marinade

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While I was walking, I got to thinking about dinner and decided I wanted to marinate my tempeh before I used it in a stir fry, so I did a search and found this one (a couple of adjustments made in the version below):

Smoky Maple Tempeh Marinade

• 1/4 cup tamari (or soy sauce)
• 2 tbsp maple syrup
• 1 tsp liquid smoke
• 1/2 tsp Spanish smoked paprika
• 1/4 tsp black pepper
• 1 garlic clove, crushed

  1. … Add all the ingredients into a bowl and stir until combined. Alternatively, add all the ingredients into an air-tight jar and shake until combined. You can either store the marinade in the refrigerator or freezer as is or marinate the tempeh (steps below).
  2. Pour marinade over tempeh in a freezer-safe container or bag and toss until tempeh is fully coated in the marinade. Each marinade is enough for 8 ounces of tempeh.
  3. Immediate Use: Refrigerate and let the tempeh marinate for at least 30 minutes (preferably overnight).
  4. Freezing: Transfer the marinated tempeh to the freezer and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to cook, place the frozen marinated tempeh in the refrigerator overnight or until completely thawed. Alternatively, place the tempeh in a bowl of hot water and change water as it cools until thawed. Now the tempeh is ready to be cooked!

I cut off a chunk of my red-kidney-bean-and-millets tempeh that weighed 7.9 oz. (Good eye, eh?) I diced it bite-size put it in a Glasslock storage container, and poured the marinade over, snapped the lid in place, and gave it a shake. It will marinate a total of two hours, and then I’ll make my stir-fry.

Written by Leisureguy

12 September 2022 at 3:00 pm

Taking mycelium growing to the next level

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Chuchu Huang is a fermentation scientist at Mycorena in Gothenburg, Sweden. Credit: Francesco Rucci and Francesco Marinelli/contrasto


As readers know, I grow mycelium myself, which I harvest to serve as a food. (I’ll have some tonight for dinner.) However, my incubator looks nothing like the one above. Linda Nordling writes in Nature:

I work for Mycorena, a biotechnology company that grows fungus-based vegan protein. We launched in 2017 and are based in Gothenburg, Sweden. The mycoprotein we grow can be used to manufacture a variety of products, from vegan leather to animal feed and meat substitutes. Our food product, Promyc, is already available in Swedish shops and restaurants, and we are collaborating with companies that will sell it elsewhere in the European Union.

As a fermentation scientist, I develop and optimize the company’s procedures for growing mycoprotein in big vats called bioreactors. In this picture, I’m studying a desktop version of the process. I can vary the bioreactor’s parameters by using different nutrients, changing the stirring speed to regulate the airflow or adjusting the pH, for example.

Our product looks nothing like the mushrooms in a forest. We grow mycelium, the microscopic filaments from which such mushrooms grow. The mycelium is fibrous, like animal muscles, and its neutral taste means that you can add any flavour you like. Food protein grown in this way produces fewer carbon emissions than does conventional meat production, while still providing abundant nutrients.

I have studied fungi for many years. I earned my PhD at the University of Copenhagen last year, studying how different microorganisms interact. Fungi are amazing. With some . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

12 September 2022 at 11:52 am

Antioxidants in a pinch

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I just revised my chia-seed pudding recipe to beef up the antioxidants. I just taste-tested the new recipe, and it seems good to me. I make a serving in the evening and put it in the fridge, then have it the next morning with my 3 pieces of fruit.

This brief video on antioxidants shows why I added cloves (and why I favor marjoram in cooking my meals).

Written by Leisureguy

11 September 2022 at 10:40 am

Red Kidney Bean and Millet Tempeh done

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This is the red kidney bean and millets (fox-tail millet and little-millet, both unpolished) that I started three days ago. It fermented about 75 hours total. The very pale areas in the photo are an artefact of the lighting. 

It turned out okay, though I think the millet was a bit challenging. Here is a cross-section:

This will meet my bean and grain quota for a few days. I think I had better luck with my soybean and kodo millet tempeh, and also with my chana dal and barnyard millet (which was more matched in size).

It definitely has a different look.

Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2022 at 6:26 pm

Does Adding Milk Block the Benefits of Coffee?

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The short answer is yes, but if the coffee is bad (bad beans or badly roasted or badly brewed), milk can serve as defensive measure. Better, though, to drink good coffee (light or medium roast, not dark roast) that tastes good without sugar and without milk. (There are more resources cited — and also a transcript — if you view the video on this page.)

Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2022 at 9:35 am

Antibiotic Resistance Genes in the Guts of Vegetarians vs. Meat Eaters

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I continue to encounter many reasons why a good diet — i.e., with good variety and a sensible selection of foods — that excludes meat, fish, dairy, eggs, and alcohol (and also refined and highly processed foods) is much better for one’s health than a diet that includes those foods. Moreover, I have been happy to discover that a whole-food plant-based diet, which is what the previous sentence describes, is also a good diet in terms of enjoyment: the foods I prepare are tasty and satisfying and not like the foods I previously ate. 

And now here’s another reason to avoid meat:

Written by Leisureguy

8 September 2022 at 4:10 pm

Peppers galore!

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Our produce market had many peppers of different varieties so I got a selection:

• Red cayenne peppers
• Red habanero peppers
• Pale green Hungarian peppers
• Banana peppers, some red, some yellow, some orange
• Dove peppers, some yellow, some red

I just made a dish to use a bunch of the peppers. I sprayed my MSMK 12″ nonstick skillet with a few sprays of EVOO and then added:

• 3″ or so of ginger root, sliced thin and then minced
• 3 large clove Russian red garlic, sliced thin on garlic mandoline

I let that rest for 10 minutes, then put it into the skillet along with:

• 2 San Marzano tomatoes, diced fairly large (quarter lengthwise, then cut into pieces)
• 1 seedless lemon, peeled and then diced (as described at the link)
• 1 large yellow zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into thick pieces
• 3 red cayenne peppers, chopped small
• 1 Hungarian pepper, seeded and chopped
• 3 banana peppers (2 red, 1 yellow) seeded and chopped
• 1 bunch scallions, chopped
• about 1/4 cup walnuts
• about 8 oz soybean and Kamut tempeh, diced medium-large
• about 8 stalks asparagus, chopped
• 4 or 5 leaves kale, chopped
• 1 large baby bok choy sliced
• about a tablespoon of dried mint
• about a tablespoon of dried majoram
• about two tablespoons dried oregano
• about 1 teaspoon MSG
• about 2 tablespoons Red Boat fish sauce
• about 2 teaspoons Windsor salt substitute (iodized)

I covered the skillet turned my induction burner to “3” and cooked it for six minutes. The I stirred to mix, covered again, and cooked on “3” for another six minutes (the last two minutes with cover removed).

This will be enough for several meals. I have some Kikkoman Hoisin Sauce and some Kikkoman Stir-Fry Sauce and I’ll use one of those on a bowl. I also have some fermented raw Stokes Purple potatoes, diced, and I think I’ll put some of those in a bowl, top with the dish I made, and add some sauce.

When I write up what I’ve done to make a dish, I’ll often forget an ingredient or two; when I remember, I return to the post and revise the recipe — in fact, I just remember something I left out: a diced peeled lemon — so I’ll add it now.

I’m having a bowl. Damn good.

A couple of additional notes

First, I use tempeh just because I like it, and also it takes care of two Daily Dozen categories: each meal (if you follow the Daily Dozen) includes both beans (or lentils) and grain (or pseudograin like quinoa, amaranth, or buckwheat). By making tempeh that includes both, in a 50-50 ratio, I can use a serving of tempeh to meet that requirement. And, as I said, like tempeh. I also like to make it. But certainly one could just eat some beans and also some (intact whole) grain.

Second, I put the above meal together by just looking around and seeing what I had on hand. But take a look at how it relates to the Daily Dozen and, parentheses, what I had in mind.

• ginger root – Other Vegetable (good health benefits, says Johns Hopkins University)
• garlic — Other Veg (good taste, health benefits, with excellent prebiotic fructooligosaccharides (FOS))
• tomatoes — Other Veg (good source of lycopene if cooked; umami; adds liquid)
• lemon — Fruit (vitamin C, acid to brighten taste, adds liquid)
• zucchini — Other Veg (good fiber, good taste, adds liquid)
• cayenne peppers — Other Veg (capsaicin good for diabetics, good taste)
• Hungarian pepper — Other Veg (good taste, vitamin C, fiber)
• banana peppers — Other Veg (ditto)
• scallions — Other Veg (good fiber (FOS), good taste, leaves with good flavonoids)
• walnuts — Nuts&Seeds (omega 3, good fiber, good texture and taste)
• soybean and Kamut tempeh — Beans and Grain (fiber, protein, minerals, taste)
• asparagus — Other Veg (FOS, taste, phytonutrients)
• kale — Greens; Cruciferous Veg (fiber, minerals, phytonutrients)
• bok choy — ditto
• mint, marjoram, oregano — Spices&Herbs (loads of antioxidants, good taste)
• MSG — umami and flavor enhancement
• fish sauce — umami
•  Windsor salt substitute — potassium, calcium, magnesium, and iodine; no sodium; taste)

One thing I omitted that I should have included: turmeric (and of course black pepper so I can get the benefit of it). I have some fresh turmeric root, or I could have used dried turmeric or turmeric paste. I’ll add that when I warm up a serving.

Written by Leisureguy

8 September 2022 at 3:20 pm

New batch of tempeh: Red Kidney Bean plus Little and Foxtail Millets

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I had a small amount of Foxtail millet, so I added enough Little millet to make a total of 1.5 cups before cooking. I also cooked (separately) 1.5 cups red kidney beans (measured before cooking).

The millet seems to want to clump and stick together, so I’m a little apprehensive about this batch. In the future, for a 3-cup batch I might go with 2 cups beans and 1 cup millet instead of 1.5 cups of each.

Still, there it is bagged after cooking, drying, cooling, adding vinegar, and adding starter culture. It is now on the rack in the incubator for the next 24 hours. If all goes well, I’ll have a new batch of tempeh ready about this time on Friday afternoon. 

I am following my usual method of making tempeh.

Tempeh done

I called a finish after about 75 hours. Cross-section is at the right, and more details can be found in this post.

I’m not totally happy with how it turned out. I think a couple of problems might have been a) the red kidney beans were a lot larger than the grains of millet, and b) the millet tended to clump.

Still, it’s perfectly edible, and before I know it, I’ll be fermenting the next batch.

Written by Leisureguy

6 September 2022 at 2:13 pm

Nordic walking effects on my fasting blood-glucose levels

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I resumed Nordic walking on 1 September (with a distance of 1.5 miles), so I have walked for 5 days. (Today’s walk will come later.) When I started, I took a screenshot of my fasting blood-glucose averages as of that day (photo at left). The figures shown are, as indicated, in mmol/L — 6.2 mmol/L, or 112 mg/dL, the latter being the common unit of measure used in the US. 

I have been following a whole-food plant-based diet, a diet that has been repeatedly demonstrated to be a healthful diet and one that is particularly helpful for treating — reversing and even curing — chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes. (See How Not To Die, by Michael Greger MD for more detailed information — that’s the book that got me started on my diet.)

But I had stopped exercising. I was interrupted by surgery (to install a pacemaker), which required me to take it easy for six weeks, particularly with my arms (so definitely no Nordic walking). However, on 1 September I received the FutureMe letter I had mailed a year ago, and I decided to tighten up on all fronts (details in this post).

For diet, that mainly meant absolutely no food after 5:00pm. (I had been having the occasional small snack — a few walnuts, for example, or a couple of Medjool dates, or a small portion of my Big Red One fermented vegetables.) I also started eating smaller portions and totally quit eating between meals. (I’ve lost 2.8 lbs since 1 September, but that’s a side effect, not the goal. My focus and goal is to adhere closely to a good WFPB diet with no eating between meals or after 5:00pm.)

And one big change I made on 1 September was to resume Nordic walking. I had the insight (discussed in this post) that the walk’s duration and speed were secondary — that I did not need to concern myself about those but could let them take care of themselves. My focus and primary concern was consistency — that I walk every day. 

If I walked daily, I would (without conscious effort) find myself walking faster and longer as I became fitter. I would not have to push myself to do that because I would gradually increase speed and distance because I was enjoying the walkMy conscious priority was simply to walk every day — the only “pushing” I did was to push myself out the door each day and start walking.

In fact, it’s been surprisingly easy. Once I was telling myself, “Today’s main priority is to take a walk,” I got to it and did the walk. Already I notice that the walks are e.getting easier and, without trying, I’m walking a little faster — 3.12 mph on 1 Sept, 3.31 mph on 5 Sept (yesterday) .On today’s walk, I could try to improve on that speed, but I won’t try. My focus is taking the walk and letting the speed take care of itself. I’ll walk as fast as I feel like walking. If my speed improves, well and good. If it doesn’t, that also is fine. The key is to take the walk.

Adhering to my diet and walking every day is benefiting my fasting blood-glucose levels. At the right you see my new average readings as of today. The average of the past 7 days is 5.7 mmol/L (103 mg/dL) — and this morning’s reading was 5.4 mmol/L (97 mg/dL), and that’s in the normal range. 

This is not exactly unexpected — lifestyle changes (such as quitting smoking, quitting alcohol, adopting a whole-food plant-based diet (or at least eating meat, fish, and dairy rarely and highly processed foods not at all), and exercising regularly are recommended precisely because they improve one’s health. That’s the whole point of the book How Not To Die, whose recommendations are solidly backed by research results (from studies identified in the books endnotes).

Still, I am pleased to see such rapid improvement — it’s not been even a week — and enormously pleased by the 5.4 mmol/L reading this morning.

Written by Leisureguy

6 September 2022 at 11:28 am

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