5.01.2014

brownie orange bites





April was a weird month around here.  Ditching the processed and trying to eat fresh food only has been a challenge...that is for sure.  But I'm starting to get the hang of it.  I'm amazed at how much kale we are going through.  I've figured out that dates are little miracle workers for replacing sugar.  Eating things like those brownie bites above are actually good for you so that is a bonus.  Larry is on-board which makes cooking a heck of a lot easier too. He went for a really long hike last Saturday and called me on the way home and asked what's for dinner. When I told him lentil loaf, I could feel the disappointment on the silent line but guess what? He loved it.  It's really good and here is the recipe I used.  It makes a great sandwich too.  Everything she makes is so beautiful.

We are spending about $10 more a week on food but that might be because I'm replacing things in my pantry with new staples.  I'm buying more nuts and different flours.  I think it will all balance out in the end.

I'd also like to mention that I'm not trying to eat like this to be some sort of saint.  To me it seems like the natural progression of my diet.  I love food and I love to cook.  I'm really not into deprivation or self punishment.  One of my biggest motivators has been watching my dear friend Melinda battle her stage 4 ovarian cancer.  The first thing the doctor did was put her on a vegan diet.  When she had a recurrence last year she went to a special nutritionist and they tweaked that diet to what I'm now doing. The results have been nothing short of a miracle for her.  I mean truly, she is a walking miracle and daily inspiration to me.  We've been trading recipes and encouraging each other and it's been great fun.  





So if you are interested, here is the recipe for those brownie bites.  I got the recipe from Melinda's cancer cookbook.  I made them twice their way and changed things up a little and now I'm really, really happy with them.  They require a bit of extra work, or maybe just getting the hang of using different ingredients but I think they are worth it.

Brownie Bites

Ingredients

2 flax eggs
1/4 - 1/2 unsweetened soy milk
1 banana
4 dates
1/4 cup avocado
1 Tablespoon orange zest

1 1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup spelt
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup carob chips or nuts (optional)

In a blender combine the first 6 ingredients.  Start with 1/4 cup soy milk, you may have to add more.
Batter will be thick.

Assemble next 5 ingredients into a bowl and then add the blender mixture.  Stir together.  Add carob chips or nuts.

Batter will be thick and similar to muffin mix.  You can either make muffins but I prefer to put the batter in a 8" square lightly oiled pan.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.  Let cool and cut into squares.

*Flax egg - 1 Tablespoon flaxseed meal mixed with 3 Tablespoons water



67 comments:

  1. Hi Janet - These look delicious and thanks for the recipe. I will be the first to ask---what are flax eggs?

    Deborah

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    1. oh sorry deborah. i'll add that note. a flax egg is 1 Tablespoon flax seed mixed with 3 Tablespoons water.

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  2. Hi Janet. For the GF folks, do you think we could substitute spelt for coconut flour? Pea

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  3. Coconut flour for the spelt? Pea

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    1. i would think it would work. but maybe someone else will have some experience with it. i've never used coconut flour.

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  4. yuuuum! I applaud your commitment to a healthier diet. I could never go back to eating the way I used to...I feel too good now. It just becomes a way of life. happy and healthy ♥

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  5. The lentil loaf recipe sounds delicious!
    Your brownies look good too Janet.
    I am impressed that Meilinda's doctor is using a multi pronged approach for her treatment. I hope she is doing well.

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    1. she is doing amazing. sometimes i have trouble keeping up with her!

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  6. These sound wonderful! We have been eating this way for a few years now. It seems as if I am constantly tweaking our diet after finding new information. I recently began reading the books by Kris Carr. She was diagnosed with a rare untreatable cancer ten years ago. She has controlled her cancer and lived with it for over ten years now with her diet. She has an AMAZING story and so inspiring! You can check out her website www.kriscarr.com. She also has a few books. Best of luck!

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    1. hi belinda, i have heard and read some of kris carr. i'm inspired by you eating this way for several years now. i feel so good i can't imagine going back.

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  7. Those brownies look delicious! Brownies are one of my favorite treats so I'll definitely have to try this recipe.

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    1. i'm a big fan of these brownie bites and i think if you've given up sugar you will find them sweet enough.

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  8. Hi Janet, I was wondering if you liked the texture of the lentil loaf - if it stood up to slicing? I've tried variations and they were a crumbly mess (real dry). I did check out the website you recommended and this recipe looks delicious.
    Thanks for the sharing,
    Julie

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    1. julie the texture is great. totally held together and makes a great cold sandwich.

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  9. That's great your friend is doing well, but I sorta doubt an oncologist would tell her to go on a vegan diet. Perhaps her naturopath? As a cancer patient, diet is very helpful but as I said, it would seem like an onc would tot tell her this. They are usually pretty traditional .

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    1. her first oncologist was a very doom and gloom kinda guy, so she switched drs. her next one (both from Kaiser) put her on the vegan diet and then when she had a recurrence she went to a highly regarded cancer center in chicago that changed it even further. i will find out the name of the place in chicago, it's escaping me at the moment.

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    2. My guess is her Oncologist is at Loma Linda University Medical Center....wouldn't surprise me at all they would recommend a Vegan diet. They are run by the Seventh Day Adventist church...they practice a plant based diet. My friend was admitted there years ago as a patient, she couldn't believe they wouldn't serve her any meat. It's too bad more dr's don't promote this way of eating to help their patients...usually just more drugs.
      Sue

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    3. Janet- Was it the Block Center? My best friend of 20 yrs has had a recurrence of her breast cancer from 18 yrs ago. Does your friend see any nutritionists/Drs locally? We both live in Temecula, CA, her dr is at Cedars Sinai in LA...he never mentions diet to her, just more drugs. I wish she had done what your friend did...find a new dr.
      Sue

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    4. sue, her current doctor is at kaiser. she was lucky to find one that integrated a holistic approach in her treatment. you are right about LLU.

      and yes, she did go to the Block Center. There are many, many websites that would be of help to your friend. Dr. Fuhrmans, Dr. Mcdougalls and check out the Engine 2 diet.

      hope this helps. :)

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  10. These both sound really good and I think I'll try both of them. I've been using my spiralizer quite a bit since you asked about it and I found a blog/website totally dedicated to spiralizing. She does use some meat but many of the recipes are meatless, paleo and GF. She's got some really interesting ideas about making "rice" out of sweet potatoes, rutabagas and plaintains. Creative stuff.

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    1. i think you will esp like the lentil loaf. what is the blog name?

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    2. I think it might be a site called inspiralized. (I was curious about the site and googled 'spiralizing.'). Her recipes aren't necessarily vegan but can be easily made vegan and she uses lots of veggies for 'rice' and 'pasta.'

      Thank you for the brownie recipe. My favorite brownie recipe calls for 2 cups of sugar and I'm really trying to cut out sugar too.

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  11. Janet, both these recipes sound great! I have everything in the house to make the brownie bites and almost all the ingredients for the lentil loaf. I have a recipe for some curry/cashew/lentil burgers w/ curry mayo that my husband loves. (I use Veganaise) Did you use red lentils for the loaf?

    Thanks,

    Linda

    P.S. Sold a dozen items on Ebay now...yay!

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    1. i think you will like them both linda. and i've used red and green lentils are both are good.

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  12. Oops...just scrolled down on the Veganista's blog and saw that she used green lentils. I have both red and green in my cupboard.

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  13. I'm hearing more and more good things about vegan diets. I'm not there yet but appreciate and try most of your recipes.

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  14. These recipes sound delicious. Thank you for writing about your motivation. That is what I love about you. Your sincerity and common sense. Apparently, I will be changing up our pantry a bit!

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    1. thank you kathy. at this point i'm still learning a new way to cook and using the many beautiful websites out there for inspiration and motivation. once i get the hang of things i hope to be able to create my own recipes.

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    2. Of all the wonderful vegan blogs in cyberspace, yours is my favorite.
      Will there be a pantry inventory update?

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    3. why thank you anon. :)

      yes, there needs to be a pantry update. so far not too many changes though. i'm adding lots more nuts, seeds and tons of greens. giving up some delicious vegan options, such as vegenaise and earth balance hasn't been easy. i have not completely eliminated them yet. working on it tho. x

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  15. How, if at all, have the changes to your diet effected eating out at restaurants or at the homes of others? Do you make exceptions in some of these situations? I have friends and family with a myriad of dietary preferences and frankly, it sometimes makes entertaining a bit complicated.

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    1. since we've reigned in our spending in order to pay off the house we've not been eating out but i have been looking at local restaurant menus to see what i could eat if i went there. it doesn't look too promising to be honest but i will probably have to order side dishes.

      pretty much everyone who comes to our house knows they will be served vegan foods so this next step shouldn't surprise them too much. but for instance i will still buy my grandaughter her favorite foods when she comes over which is mac and cheese in a box! lol

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  16. You never fail to amaze me with your eating habits (as I sit here eating a few peanut M & Ms - there are nuts in there, does that count for anything?!). You are inspiring me to think differently about food - baby steps, baby steps. Thank you for all your great ideas.

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    1. jeannine, lots of people are inspiring me to eat differently so i guess that how it goes...:))

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  17. What brand are the dates? Thanks

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    1. i've been using dates from a friends tree but i'll have to buy some by next week. i noticed trader joes carries them in their produce section so i'll check them out.

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  18. Wow, these sound extremely sweet and high-calorie with banana, dates, avocado, almonds, cocoa powder!!
    Obviously I had misunderstood you and it is only refined sugar you are avoiding, rather than avoiding sweet foods.
    I find that I don't like commercial levels of sweetness any more - there are raisins in my muesli, or honey (or maple syrup) in small quantities occasionally and fructose in fruit, so I haven't given up on sweet, either, just not what others seem to consider "normal". I dislike shop-bought fruit yogurt, even low-cal, because they are all far too sweet (even things like lemon), so only buy organic natural yogurt and put my own fruit in it…though I may add a touch of honey to rhubarb!

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    1. swissrose, actually they are not very sweet, esp if you compare it to a normal recipe but they are a good sweet to me. in brownies i subbed 1/4 c avocado for 1/4 cup oil. 1/4 c avocado has about 80-90 calories in it vs a 1/4 cup oil that has 480. and all the fruits and nuts contain lots of nutrients vs none for the oil and sugars.

      i haven't tried any commercially processed cookies since i've been eating this way but my guess is that i'll be like you and find them all too sweet. :)

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  19. I am adding the lentil loaf and brownies to my recipe board! They both sound amazing. I'm so happy to hear about your friend Melinda. It sounds like a trip to the FARMacy was what she needed! I wish her continued health and healing.

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    1. that is so cute emily. i'll have to tel melinda that!

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  20. I love all of your recipes, Janet. This one looks amazing. Can you tell me the name of the cookbook that you are using from your friend's cancer treatment center? Thanks a lot. Elizabeth

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    1. i will find out for you elizabeth. right now melinda has been printing them out for me so i'm not sure of the name of it.

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  21. Hello Janet:

    We have followed with much interest the ways in which you have in recent times worked hard to adapt both your life style and eating habits towards something which you consider to be more compatible with the way in which you wish to live. We are filled with admiration because these things are never easy and, furthermore, you are, or so we believe, making a very conscious effort to respect in all senses the finite resources of the planet.

    Here in Budapest we are fortunate to enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables from a daily market held almost outside our windows. The produce is entirely made up of what is in season and is brought into the Capital on a daily basis by the growers, the majority of whom are country people whose livelihood depends upon what they grow and sell from their gardens.

    Melinda's Cancer Cookbook sounds most interesting; we do wish her well.

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    1. i will send you well wishes to melinda. :)

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  22. After reading your recent post and the comments I googled 'flax eggs' and 'spiralized'. I am learning so much!

    I am really trying to overhaul my approach to food and sometimes find it a bit overwhelming. Having two young adult sons still at home is very challenging. They aren't too thrilled opening the fridge and cupboards these days. ---Son #1, looking into my packed fridge, "There's nothing to eat in here! It's loaded with nothing but 'ingredients'!" Oh, I know. I created a monster... HA. Now he will learn how to make a pizza dough rather than throwing a frozen, prepared one in the oven. And guess what? He has done just that! And loved it. baby steps..

    One question. How do you handle being a guest for dinner in someones home? I don't like asking the hosts the ingredients to the food offered. It begins to feel like a shakedown!

    Good Day! The sun is out here!

    ~diane

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    1. that is so awesome that your son is learning to make his own pizza. that's fantastic really!

      you know it's just not a big deal as far as eating out or at friends homes. everyone we hang with know i'm vegan and usually make something for the menu that everyone can eat - no just specifically vegan. it's just not a big deal anymore. glad the sun is shining where you are!

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  23. On a planet of 6 billion other humans, there are many reasons to be vegan: to not kill animals unnecessarily, to reduce one's impact on the environment and to achieve optimal health.

    Healthy vegans are living proof that one does not need to eat animal products to be healthy. Now, if you believe that it is wrong to inflict unnecessary suffering and death on nonhuman animals, then logically you should consider not eating them or their secretions.

    When we were first eating vegan I always informed the hostess in advance and offered to bring our own food and/or a dish to share. I try to let them know that I eat a little differently and am happy to bring our own food along with a veg dish for everyone's enjoyment. If the gathering is at my house, I make things that everyone can enjoy while keeping it clean. I never even mention that there is no oil in the salad dressing. People always ask me for my recipes!

    When people ask me what I eat, I often say that I eat everything except animal products and oil. It sort of takes the mystery out of it.
    There's such a big world of whole foods/plant based, that we use to create all the wonderful recipes we eat. I don't expect, any more, that I'm going
    to reform anyone but I can offer to create a great dish for a friend who might like to try something.
    Then I have created one moment we can share. Like any change, It's an evolution.

    I think if you are over age 50 you want to be putting things in
    your body that promote health and not detract from it.
    Somewhere on line there is a video in which dr esselstyn
    answers someone who ask who should be eating an animal product free and oil free diet and he says:

    "all males 65 years and older and all females 70 years and older who
    have been exposed to the trad western diet have cvd..."

    please watch at least the first 15 min of this great video:
    http://www.happycow.net/blog/leafy-gree ... -for-1874/

    and i love this Q & A from dr essesltyn':


    Q. Why should I change? My health is excellent.

    Answer: No one escapes in the end--eventually the traditional western diet guarantees some form of disease in all of us. While it may not be heart disease at the moment, eventually it will be or hypertension, diabetes, stroke,obesity, gall stones, diverticulitis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, or a greater likelihood of breast, prostate, colon, ovarian and uterine cancers. Even erectile dysfunction and dementia. The world famous Framingham Heart Study now approaching its 60th year looked at 1,000 people at age 50 who had normal blood pressure. They looked at the same group at age 70, and 90% now had high blood pressure. But there is something that you can do now to stop the cascading events that occur in the body and lead to disease. You can change your diet and begin safeguarding your health for the future.


    http://www.heartattackproof.com/qanda.htm
    I

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  24. thank you Janet for being a continuing inspiration. I am trying to go vegan but there are so many excuses to go off the wagon. I was wondering if you are also eliminating gluten from your diet? a young friend of mine has just completed over a year of vegan, gluten and alcohol free living. in the past she struggled with losing unwanted weight then gaining it all back. since she has been on the vegan, gluten and no alcohol regimen she has lost the weight and maintained the loss, also had more energy, she runs regularly. prior to becoming vegan she had been vegetarian for many years but the change has been dramatic since eliminating all animal products. I have been pretty healthy and active for most of my life, maybe even took my health for granted but now that I'm "getting up there" I want to maintain my active lifestyle.
    Darby

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    1. hi darby. i'm not planning on eliminating gluten from my diet b/c i have no adverse health reasons that would necessitate that. i'm so happy for your friend. you know i gave up alcohol for Lent and have yet to have a drink. ;)
      i'm sleeping so well right now i just don't want to mess with that. also, another thing i've noticed is that in yoga class i'm feeling so much stronger. don't know if that is diet related or not but it is worth mentioning. things change when we "get up there" that is for sure. :)

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  25. Hi Janet. I have no real desire to change to a completely vegan diet (trying to be honest), but these look really, really good (and I am trying to be open minded)! YUM. Going over the ingred list quickly, I don't even know what some of that stuff is. Just for fun, keeping in mind if a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of cake flour, you cant buy one tablespoon of cake flour - you have to by a package of it, looking at just this brownie bites recipe, what do you think the ingredients would cost if I went to the store and had to buy every ingredient, starting from scratch? Just curious! Ive been cooking and baking more and may just try them. Thought it would be fun if you could guestimate my shopping total for me beforehand. Thanks for the thoughtful posts and for being attentive to all the questions.. Lor

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    1. I buy cake flour in bulk at the health food store. You have "no real desire" to change to a vegan diet? You don't know what you are missing!

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    2. hi Lor, i appreciate your honesty and your willingness to try something new!

      if i came across a recipe that wanted 1 T of a particular flour that i did not have, i would just substitute what i had on hand.

      ok lets see, i got my last bag of ground flax seed at the .99 store but i believe it's about $3 a bag at Trader Joes. I buy the spelt and almond flour from my local health food store in bulk just like anon does. i believe it runs about $1.50 a lb, not cheap but i use it sparingly so it lasts. These brownies are good but they are not your typical brownies loaded with sugar, butter or oil. they are moist and slightly sweet and i think delicious. does this help?

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    3. Ahhhh...yes. "Substitution." Great concept. Hadn't even thought of that. I saw you substituted avocado for something or other. I'm a very subpar cook and only a mid level baker, so I would love to have that capability; I just don't have that "skill?" They look really good. I like more sweet but not so much the "chocolate" taste, so I may just have to do some "substituting" of my own and give it a shot! Thx Lady! Loving the blog....

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  26. GO VEGAN! Next to getting rid of debt, disconnecting as much as possible from the corporate feeding tube is the best thing you can do for your family's safety and security.

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  27. For those with "no real desire" to go vegan- think about the simple goal of attaining optimal health for yourself and putting yourself in the driver's seat of making intelligent decisions for your own weight/health. You can find a lot of good information. if you try for going vegan. I don't know if anyone can know *everything* about nutrition -- Jeff Novick and Dr. McDougall have devoted many, many years to the endeavor. The work is never done. Open your mind.

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    1. anon i agree. melinda and i were talking yesterday about how no one can know everything and we all just do the best we can with the info we've got. The tireless work these doctors have done is astounding.

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    2. Indeed. I am in awe of these doctors and they are not being compensated to promote one "diet" over another.

      I think one thing to dispel is the notion that the plant way of eating is difficult and drab. For me, refining my diet from veganish to no added oil/no sugar completely changed not only my well-being but my taste buds and cravings. As a former sugar/fat addict, I'm still amazed that these things hold no appeal for me any longer. Even unsweetened dried fruit seems overly sweet for me. I've never eaten better than I do now!
      People need to be educated not only about the health and environmental benefits, but also about the deliciousness of this way of life...

      If I could peer into a crystal ball and see my health future and it showed me that this whole-foods-plant-starch-based way of eating versus SAD was going to have zero impact on my health and longevity, I would still NOT EVER switch back to eating SAD. I love eating the way that I do now!

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  28. The brownies look great! I will have to try these. I've been thinking lately that I really want to transition into more plant based diet. Honestly I can't go vegan quite yet, but my body is wanting me to eat lighter and healthier. I've been incorporating more vegetarian dishes here and there, but I don't know how I can push further than this knowing my husband won't be excited about the choice. How did Larry and you discussed when you decided to be a vegan. Was he on board with it right away?

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    1. hi yuko. well there really wasn't a discussion involved. :) after i watched the movie Earthlings, i was done with animal products. that was it! larry still eats meat when we go out. he eats what i make here or if he doesn't want it, he'll order a pizza or get a burger. it's not a big deal at all. i would say he is 95% vegan so i guess that means he is on board! lol

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    2. After reading this, I can totally see how it works. I should remain flexible (when it comes to what my husband eats) while I stand firm on where I stand. You give me a lot to think about. If Larry is 95% vegan, I'd say he is doing great! ox

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  29. Check out this great video from Dr. McDougall which is my friend's story too. Love the hope that they embody.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=im5Xkwrv ... ploademail


    That was my friend. Long time sick vegetarian. Angina, insulin resistant, obese, gerd, depression, anxiety, etc.
    The hardest thing for my friend to hear was to get off all dairy and oil. She and I are both so glad she did. She is now off all the meds ! And in less than a year and with lots of her weight gone. She feels she has got her life back.

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  30. Could you share more regarding Melinda's cookbook?
    This recipe looks wonderful , slowly wrapping my mind around all these changes. You are so very encouraging.

    Karen M

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    1. hello karen. melinda is currently hiking in the utah desert so i can't reach her to get the name of the cookbook. when she gets back i'll ask and answer here for you ok? thanks.

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  31. Just want to thank you for the great lentil loaf recipe! I made it tonight and my husband and I both loved it. It was my first time trying a flax egg and I was impressed with how well it set up. Neither of us is full time vegan or vegetarian, but I strive to prepare healthy, whole food meals and like to take a break from eating meat. Anyhow, I'm looking forward to a loaf sandwich tomorrow :)

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    1. thank you kamila, altho the recipe is not really mine, i love it too. and the fact that larry loves is amazes me!
      it makes such good sandwiches too.:)

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