Towards the end of last year, I hard about a film called ‘Forks Over Knives’ from several different sources. It was released in 2011 but I had not heard about it before. I ordered it and watched it, quite fascinated. There have been favourable and unfavourable reviews about the film and criticism of some of the science used to prove the Doctor’s conclusion that we should eat a whole-food plant-based diet. If we don’t eat meat, fish, dairy or eggs and instead eat unprocessed whole grains, nuts, seeds and plants, we can avoid or even reverse “Western” illnesses such as diabetes, heart conditions and cancer. They basically promote a healthy vegan diet. The title of the book by the way does not mean that you should eat a salad (which you can eat with a fork) rather than a steak (which you need a knife for) although that is what the writers ask you to do. It means food over medicine (scalpel).
Whatever conclusions you may draw from the film, I do not believe there is any controversy over the health benefits of eating a diet full of vegetables and fruits (ok some debate about fruit but I am on the fruitarian side of that debate), wholegrains are better for you than refined and processed grains and we do not need any sugar added to our diet. There is a lot of debate and divided opinion about the pros and cons of eating animal products but it is undeniable that obesity levels in the UK, and other Western countries are at an all time high and the standard diet, full of high calorie and low nutrition food is best avoided.
Now I have not become a vegan and am not planning to be one. I am not going to give what I am eating a label. But I am increasing the amount of plant foods I eat. I am trying to avoid dairy and having seen the film, I don’t fancy meat or fish but I may do sometimes and then I will have it. When I prepare food for myself at the moment, it is mainly vegan. One exception was some crab I had for supper last week and when I don’t think about what I am using and add a flavouring like Thai fish sauce to a meal. I am not beating myself up about that though and if I come over to yours and you have cooked something in butter I will enjoy it. I may decline meat and cheese though.
Having eaten this way for about 2 weeks now, I am feeling better (apart from the rash which is driving me crazy with itchiness) and I have lost 10 pounds which is fabulous. I have eaten far more in terms of portion size than I usually do, because you have to eat more bulk of plant foods than animal products. On my Doctor’s advice I am avoiding nuts and seeds in case I have become sensitive to them and they are causing the rash. I really hope it is not the nuts because I do add them to lots of my food in various forms. We shall have to see.
So there we have it, my new lifestyle. I do also need to do a lot more exercise and that is where I have made no improvement this year. I can always make an excuse but will spare you those. I am intending to go for a long walk tomorrow, rain or shine.
I ate well again today. I began the day with a mug of hot water with some lemon and fresh ginger in it. The lemon looks anaemic because I put the peel in to a large jug of water with slices of cucumber and drink that during the day.
As it was a Saturday, I decided to relax in bed rather than get up and rush about like I usually do. I read some more of the Forks Over Knives Plan which is a 4 week plan to help you transition to a vegan lifestyle. NB the Forks Over Knives team do not use the term ‘vegan’ even though that is what the plan is. It is an interesting read and I decided to make one of their recipes for pancakes which Harvey was delighted about.In fact Harvey was so enthusiastic he helped me make them. They were very easy and quite delicious so we will be making them again. They are not like the light fluffy American style ones we usually make and serve with bacon and maple syrup. They were denser, very moist and slightly chewy and oh so good!
I served mine with some leftover apple sauce (which I made by peeling, removing the core and chopping up 2 apples, then slowly cooking them in a covered saucepan until they were soft and finally whizzing them in the Vita Mix to make it smooth) which I mashed with a banana and a tiny drizzle of maple syrup. The pancakes are cooked without any fat added. Make sure you have a good non stick frying pan and they do actually work! I confess I was a little dubious and had visions of chipping concrete-like pancakes off the bottom of the pan. We saved some mixture for tomorrow and I am looking forward to them. Multigrain Pancakes (from ‘The Forks Over Knives plan’)
Ingredients – makes about 8 pancakes and 2 each are very filling
1 1/2 cups wholemeal flour
1/4 cup cornmeal (I used polenta)
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 3/4 cups plant milk (I used soya)
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
2 tbsp maple syrup plus more for serving
Fresh fruit and apple butter (optional) for serving
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, oats, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg until well combined
- Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and add the milk, applesauce and maple syrup. Fold the ingredients together gently until just mixed together
- Heat a large non stick pan over medium heat until a few droplets of water poured in to the pan jump and sizzle
- Spoon 1/3 cup of batter for each pancake in to the pan until no more will fit. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the edges look dry and the bottoms are crisp and lightly browned
- Use a spatula to turn each pancake and cook for 2-3 minutes more.
- Serve topped with fruit and a little maple syrup or apple butter
The recipe book served the pancakes with strawberries and blueberries but I didn’t have any hence I used the apple sauce with a mashed banana
I found a third of the bread dough I made last weekend in the fridge and used half of it to make a wrap for lunch. I wasn’t sure how well it would work, being nearly a week old, but it was fine. I rolled it out and left it for about 10 minutes to come closer to room temperature before cooking it. All that was required of cooking was to place it in a very hot heavy pan and cook it until it went brown and bubbled up. I think I cooked it for about 3 minutes on each side. I ate it with a large dollop of salsa spread over it, lettuce and sprouts. Not a substantial lunch but the pancakes had kept me full so I didn’t need much. Dinner did not make a good photo but it tasted lovely. Rose Elliot’s Bombay potatoes and spinach dal and I added a spoonful of lime pepper jelly. I had a fancy for something sweet afterwards so made up this little bowl of yuminess. It is about 2 heaped dessertspoons of coconut yogurt, a chopped blood orange, 2 dates and some raisins. I then had 2 more dates as they were so caramelly and yummy. The orange was so sweet and juicy I could have eaten it all again but managed to resist. I do enjoy blood orange season and will be buying more of these this week.
So there you have it, my forks over knives lifestyle. With food this tasty, what’s not to like and who needs meat?