This Week's Q&A: Replacing Mushrooms in Recipes, Multiple Pulmonary Embolisms & Deep Vein Thrombosis, Rancid Tahini, What is Chinese-5 Spice, and Rotating Greens

Posted by:Lindsay S. Nixon Category: FAQ

You've got questions...

Q: Do you have any suggestions as to what I can use as a replacement for mushrooms? I don't like them.

A: Unfortunately, mushrooms are one of the few ingredients that have no alternative or culinary substitute (miso is another). If it's something with just a few mushrooms in a big mix of veggies, you could try adding another vegetable, but if the mushrooms are a main item, the center of the recipe or used specifically for flavor, you'll have to skip the recipe. (Sorry!) FYI, I hated mushrooms until I was plant-based. Now I can't get enough :) 

(Happy Herbivore Portobello Steaks pictured)

Q: Hi Lindsay, my husband has recently gone through two bouts of multiple pulmonary embolisms and deep vein thrombosis. He wants to know if a vegan diet can help him. Not looking for medical advice, but personal experience or research into it.

A: I'm so sorry to hear your hubby is going through this. Here are some links to research (and a forum I found helpful) for more info (Short answer: Yes! Yes, a plant-based diet can help!)

T. Colin Campbell Foundation: Deep Venous Thrombosis

Dr Weil: Pulmonary Embolism Condition Care Guide

NutritionMD: Deep Venous Thrombosis: Nutritional Considerations

DVT Forum on Dr. McDougall's website

Q: I know tahini goes rancid rather quickly, can you freeze it?

A: I hadn't heard tahini was highly perishable... I was under the impression it was the opposite: very stable, like peanut butter. Then again, I don't use a lot of tahini in my cooking ;) I've never tried to freeze it, but my instincts are no, that probably wouldn't be a good idea. (Hard as a rock!) Maybe keep it in the fridge and then let it warm to room temp before using?

Q: Is Chinese 5-Spice the same as all spice? 

A: They're very different. Chinese 5-spice is a blend made of these, or similar ingredients: star anise, cloves, cinnamon, fennel seed, pepper. All spice's name is tricky. It sounds like there would be a bunch of spices blended together in something called "all" spice — but it's just a single pepper. The name all spice was coined by the English, who thought it combined the flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Most supermarkets have Chinese 5-spice (sometimes on the "Asian" aisle), but you can also make it yourself from the underlying ingredients. Here is a recipe for DIY Chinese 5-Spice.

Q: May I ask your opinion on rotating your greens?

A: I generally buy whatever is on sale or what's cheaper, in season, or what I'm in the mood for. Different recipes also call for different kinds of greens. We eat a LOT of greens. We always have various "salad" mixes, romaine lettuce, spinach, and kale (lots of kale!) in the house. Certain times of the year we have a lot of chard, too. I don't pay too much attention to my greens I guess, except to make sure I eat a lot of them!

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