Feb. 9, 2013
This Week's Q&A (Talking Cookbooks, Cravings, Crockpots & PCOS)
You've got questions...
Q: I would like to get one of your cookbooks, but I don't know which one to buy. Help!
A: I recommend HHC, EHH, and HHA equally. If you can only purchase one of them, I suggest looking through the table of contents of each on Amazon to see which one speaks to you most — fits your tastes and personality, then you can expand from there.
If you're brand-new to a plant-based diet (or cooking), I can't recommend our meal plans enough. They're perfect for beginners and newbies, as well as those looking to lose weight and/or clean up their diet.
Q: I really want to go vegan, but I crave meat so much. I actually stopped for a while, yet ended up going back to the meat. I am horrified at the inhumane treatment of the animals and I am grossed out by thinking about it now, but I also feel like I could go out and eat meat right now. Gosh, this sounds like I am a meat addict... Are there any suggestions you have to redirect my thoughts in a way that may help me rewire my brain and train for going vegan?
A: You hit the nail on the head: You have an addiction. You're probably dealing with both physical and mental addictions to meat — you just have to make a commitment not to eat it, then not eat it. As time will go on, it will get better for you (the addictions will break) and eventually, meat products will completely turn you off. As for rewiring your brain: KNOW YOUR MOTIVATIONS and keep those in sight. If you think about a cow's suffering, you won't eat the burger.
Maybe try some of the vegan meat substitutes in the meantime to help with transition and read this post, "Dealing with Cravings and Food Addictions."
Q: Is there ever a reason to not drain and rinse canned beans?
A: Drain/rinse instructions for beans depend on the recipe. Most of the time, you need to drain and rinse, but some recipes need the liquid. For example, the HH Butter Bean Cookies and the Cassoulet in HHA.
Q: I am busy and would love to see you do a book/blog on OAMC (once-a-month cooking) — and why don't you use a crockpot?
A: Aren't we all :) OAMC is not realistic for me/my situation, but you can create your own OAMC cooking plan using the meal plans or my cookbooks, or a combination.
With the meal plans, we advocate cooking once a week, which is a better alternative than once a month. Spend a few hours one day a week and voila! All your meals are made — and without freezer burn or needing a big, deep freezer.
I don't own a crockpot for the simple fact that I can't be bothered to wait 8 hours when I can prepare something in 8 minutes. Plus all that overcooking — long hours in a crockpot — seems like it would deplete the nutrients. There are several vegan and vegetarian crockpot cookbooks out there, however, if it works for you.
Q: Can a plant-based diet help with PCOS?
A: I know of two women who had had luck treating their PCOS with a plant-based diet and have been successful being plant-based despite having PCOS.
Here is an article by Dr. McDougall about PCOS and being plant-based. (There are also about 10 forums on McDougalls site dedicated to PCOS).
I also did a quick Google search and found this.
Q: Being a vegan was recommended by my cardiologist because of my high BP and high cholesterol that can't be controlled with staton drugs. Any suggestions are deeply appreciated!
A: First, kudos to the doc for recommending a dietary change over pills or a procedure! Second, I highly recommend reading Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease if you haven't already — it's a great book.
Q: Have you any insight on where to find unsweetened, nonfat soy, or nonfat almond milk?
As far as I know, there is no such thing as nonfat almond milk. Almonds contain fat naturally. The only reason you can find nonfat soy milk is because the fat has been removed from the soy through processing (soy contains fat naturally).
You should be able to find unsweetened almond milk anywhere almond milk is sold, but it is not nonfat.
I know WestSoy makes a nonfat soymilk, but I think it only comes sweetened. I find unsweetened soy milk is fairly uncommon in general — forgetting nonfat or low-fat, though most "health stores" usually offer it.
If you're looking for a non-dairy milk that's low fat and unsweetened, try unsweetened rice milk (I like Trader Joe's brand). You can also make rice milk yourself at home — here's my recipe (with video) for rice milk.
Q: I bought the electric pressure cooker you suggested. But the manual says to use oil. Help! How do you cook in it without oil?
A: Simple — I just don't add oil. I use the pressure cooker all the time, never adding oil. No problems yet!
Q: Do you have a suggestion for a quick way to make garlic bread?
A: I don't have a recipe, but I've heard of people forming a yeast dough
(like my recipe for pizza dough) into breadstick shapes covering the dough with generous amounts of garlic or garlic salt before baking.
Q: If I want to turn one of your brownie recipes into peppermint brownies, how much peppermint extract do you recommend I add?
A: I find all the extracts are a little different in potency... I'd add a few drops, taste the batter, than add more as necessary.
Q: Are grass-fed and organic animal products safer?
A: It's the proteins in animal foods that cause cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc. It doesn't matter if the animal was organic or not, filled with hormones, or free-range. The proteins still exist and still wreak havoc. I recommend reading The China Study and The Starch Solution for more information.