You've got questions...
Q: I know you don't eat nut butters but in your opinion, is it best to grind your own peanut/almond butter? I know many jarred butters contain added sugar and oil. I am amazed at the price discrepancy among brands. $15 for almond butter! Why?
Is raw butter better than roasted and is organic important here?
A: If I was going to eat a nut butter, I would get one that's just nuts. No added sugars or oils :) Raw tends to be just nuts. Roasted tends to contain salt (a lot of salt!) and other fillers but if you found something that was just roasted and not full of salt, that could be good. I generally don't fuss over organic or conventional. At the end of the day conventional blueberries are better than organic potato chips, right? :)
Q: I make a caprese pasta dish with tomatoes, fresh basil, chickpeas and olive oil but haven't been able to figure out what to replace the oil with to make it plant-based. Do you have any suggestions?
A: Veg broth with a little brine from the olive jar or capers jar. Or Italian dressing (see recipe in EHH).
Q: I went to the doctor and had blood work done. Today I was told that I have hypothyroid and need to go on medication. I was basically told this would be a forever solution. I know from reading books and watching documentaries that the plant-based community believe in diet being the cure. So, I am stuck as to how to approach this. I fully understand you are not a doctor, but would appreciate feedback from you.
A: I can't speak for the entire plant-based community, but most of the plant-based docs agree that there are some medical conditions that diet cannot prevent or cure, and in those cases medication and other treatment may be necessary. However, a plant-based diet can still help. It may not "cure" but it can alleviate symptoms, make it more manageable, etc.
Even if you do have a condition that diet cannot treat, you would still want to be on a plant-based diet to protect your health from other diseases and illnesses that are diet-related, like heart disease or Type 2 diabetes. A plant-based diet would give you your best shot. I have known some people to "cure" their hypothyroidism with a plant-based diet, but I have met others who had to stay on medication, albeit they are now on the lowest dose. I don't believe any two cases are the same. It certainly isn't going to make things worse and, in all likelihood, it will make things better.
Q: I am thinking of joining your family meal plan. Our 10-year-old daughter has a severe peanut allergy. Will that be a problem with your meal plans?
A: Once in a blue moon, you'll see a recipe with peanuts or peanut butter, but we always offer an alternative, nut-free recipe OR you could just use sesame seed butter in its place.
Also see this post: Dealing with Food Allergies (Making It Work and Allergy-Free Cooking)
Q: I'm trying to build my pantry. Help!