Sept. 14, 2013
This Week's Q&A (Talking Tortillas, Rude Relatives, Seitan Woes, Probiotics, and Sodium)
You've got questions...
Q: I noticed 3-Day Reboot calls for corn tortillas rather than wheat in some of the recipes. Is it ok to have the taco on wheat rather than corn?
A: We use corn tortillas for two reasons: (1) Corn tortillas are generally the healthier choice available. Most corn tortillas are just water, corn (corn meal) and maybe salt and lime. Wheat tortillas, on the other hand, tend to have a long list of ingredients and they usually contain oil, which is off limits during the reboot and cleanse. (2) Wheat tortillas are made from white flour, which is highly processed and missing the important fiber. White flour/processed foods also give most people tummy troubles, which we don't want you to have during a reboot or cleanse. Of course, we're not dictators! There's no point in doing the reboot or cleanse if it can't work for you, so if you need to make an adjustment to make it work, do it :) But of course I always encourage striving for nutritional excellence ;)
Q: Any tips for a very opinionated relative's rude comments when it comes to being plant-proud? We are traveling and staying with relatives who are not supportive and I'm the only plant-based of the bunch. When I say that I do it for health reasons, I get a reply similar to: "You only do it when it's convenient for you." It makes it hard to stick up for myself and I try to avoid the SAD as much as I can, but it's not easy...
A: I hate to say it, but your relatives bring up a valid point. It's very important that you stick to your guns and don't cheat, even for the sake of "family peace." The only way your family members and friends will truly accept your new lifestyle (and eventually get over the teasing and commentary) is if you remain consistent. If you cave, they will assume you will always cave. They will assume you are not serious and it's not important. It's a fad. They can peer pressure you out of it. Prove them wrong! Be strong! I find it's also helpful to understand WHY people are negative and attack in the first place (hint: it's about them, not you).
See these posts for more information:
Q&A Thanksgiving Edition (covers this topic in depth)
Q: I just tried to make your seitan and after simmering for an hour, it completely disintegrated. I couldn't even get any amount salvaged and into the oven. Can you think of anything that could have caused this?
A: Sadly no — I'm at a total loss. I've had seitan come out too chewy or hard from over-kneading, but I've never had it fall apart of disintegrate on me. I'm not sure how that's possible with wheat gluten... are you sure you used the right flour? I've grabbed the wrong one before by mistake myself. If you boiled it or cooked it at too high a temperature, that might be the culprit, too.
Q: Do you have an opinion and/or have a post about probiotics?
A: I'm not a doctor, but based on my personal experiences (hint: it was dreadful) as well as what I've read, I don't recommend probiotics unless medically prescribed by your doctor for a medical issue such as leaky gut syndrome. You've got at least 1,000 different bacteria in your gut (all of which are living in a balance). Taking a pill (or, say, eating yogurt) with 8 or even 30 new ones isn't going to make much of a difference. What WILL make a huge difference is what you feed the ones you have (feed them well). For what it's worth, the European Food Safety Authority (Europe's "FDA") has rejected most claims made about probiotics, including that they help the digestive system, saying they are unproven. You can read more here.
Q: I read a study that says you can't eat more than 1200mg sodium a day. I find my food is bland without salt. Help.
A: If you eat a whole foods, plant-based diet, it should already be low in sodium since fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains are naturally low in sodium. With beans, dry beans are also naturally low, but you have to watch out for the canned ones. Same for canned vegetables like tomatoes. You'll need to buy no salt added. Salt (sodium) only creeps up in processed foods, and animal products, which you want to avoid anyway.
Most cardiologists agree that if you have heart disease, or are at risk for heart disease, you should follow a very low-sodium diet. Though even people without that risk still should be mindful of their sodium intake.
Salt, like sugar and oil (fat) is very addictive and the more you eat it, the more you crave it. Salt (like sugar) also overstimulates the taste buds, which damages our taste receptors. If you've been salting your food for a long time, that's why food taste bland without the salt. You can heal your tastebuds, thankfully. Just remove salt (and sugar and oil if you haven't already) from your diet. Food might be bland for a few weeks, but within a few months you'll regain healthy, sensitive buds AND you'll be shocked at how "salty" processed foods, desserts, and restaurant fare is.
One of the best things you can do for your health is to eliminate your taste addiction to salt :)
Here is an additional reading on salt, from Jeff Novick, a nutritionist I respect very much: The Truth About Sea Salt
Also check out my previous post and video I did on ways to replace salt and still get the flavor and my other article: Sodium: How Much is Too Much (+ How to Tame Your Salt Habit)
I also can't recommend our family and individual meal plans enough — they really show you how to eat flavorful foods without salt, sugar and oil :)