Author Archives: Vegetarians of Washington

Vegfest will be fabulous!

Parma etc busy scene - low resVegfest, the largest vegetarian food festival in the country, will be held on March 30th & 31st at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall on Mercer Street. We’ll have over 500 different kinds of food to try. Don’t have breakfast before you come!

Look for some new companies at Vegfest this year as well as some old favorites. Just some of the new products this year include Forager, Good Planet Foods, Casabi, Auntie Saros, Cinnaholic, Enjoy Life Foods, Red Plate, Pan’s Mushroom Jerky, Khalsa Salsa and even a little Black Magic, and too many more to list! Oh, and let’s not forget Zazubean chocolate! You’ll also find favorite brands like Field Roast, Daiya, Quorn, Litelife, Good Karma, Starlite and way more. Read more

Vegan Chocolates, anyone?

Chocolate bon bonsOn Valentines Day, many of us dream of being given a box of delicious luxury chocolates by someone close to us. They’re seen as a special indulgence that we may save for a treat on just such special occasions, but we also want to stay true to our values, so we hope for vegan chocolates, fairly-traded if possible.

Many dark chocolate bars readily available in the grocery stores are naturally vegan, and there are several brands which use fair-trade chocolate. But it can be harder to find luxury vegan chocolates.  Local fancy chocolate suppliers still don’t offer any vegan options, but fortunately new companies are springing up online to fill the gap, and some may even be found in local grocery stores.

  • Enjoy Life Foods has a selection of dairy-free chocolate minis, including some made with rice milk to give that milk chocolate sensation.
  • Rawkin Raw Chocolate offers special organic truffles packed with antioxidants, and sweetened with dates and spices to provide the best nutrition.
  • No Whey Foods offers luxury vegan chocolate boxes, such as their signature truffles, with many fancy flavors to entice every taste bud.
  • Rose City Chocolates also offers a good selection of vegan luxury chocolates.
  • Lake Champlain Chocolates has dark chocolate hearts in a gift bag.
  • Lärabar also offers several flavors of chocolate truffles in a resealable pouch.

Look out for some of these and other vegan chocolate companies at Vegfest on March 30 & 31.

Learn more about the health benefits of chocolate.

Chef Ramses Bravo at Vegfest

We are delighted to have Chef Ramses Bravo back with us at Vegfest this year.  Chef Ramses is the chef at the TrueNorth Health Center in Santa Rosa, CA.  He will be giving a cooking demonstration at Vegfest on both Saturday March 30th and Sunday March 31st.

Bravo Express_COVERAs a special treat for us, he shared a couple of recipes from his new book Bravo Express  where he demonstrates how a healthy, whole-foods diet can be not only delicious but also quick and easy:

  1. Yellow Curry Lentils
  2. Quinoa and Arugula Salad

Read more

Chronic Kidney Disease treated by plant-based diet

Kidneys cartoonHere’s the big news: a plant-based diet helps prevent and treat Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). This is a big deal because CKD is the 8th leading cause of death in the United States and sucks up 20% of the Medicare budget.

Vegans and vegetarians have a greatly decreased risk of kidney disease. One study showed that vegan have better kidney function than meat eaters. This only makes sense since vegetarians and vegans have much lower rates high blood pressure and diabetes two of the leading risk factors for kidney disease. While this is news to many people and patients, the medical researchers have known this for a long time.

Other studies show that a plant-based diet slows the rate of decline for those who already have kidney disease. This means holding off the need for kidney dialysis.

Now protein in the diet causes extra work in the kidneys of kidney disease patients, but only when the protein source comes from meat, fish, poultry dairy and eggs. Plant proteins don’t cause stress and this is one of the key advantages of a plant-based diet.

The kidneys have a vital role in keeping us healthy. They filter wastes products from the blood, keep our fluids in balance and help control our blood pressure. A plant-based diet gives the kidneys what they need to stay healthy all throughout our lives. As a bonus it also reduces the risk and treats other diseases such as heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and prostate cancer just to mention a few.

Prescribing a plant-based diet to patients at risk of or already suffering from chronic kidney disease seems like a simple solution which would lower the costs and the suffering that so many patients experience. Unfortunately, most doctors are not yet aware of the power of a plant-based diet to prevent and treat kidney disease and so don’t know to prescribe it to their patients. To help make doctors aware of this dietary option for preventing and treating chronic kidney disease, we wrote a detailed article addressing much of the research that has been done on this topic.  We’re pleased to say that this article was recently published in the medical journal, JOJ Urology and Nephrology.

Meet the farmers at Full Circle Farm

full circle - winter at the farm

We were curious how an organic farm is run here in the Pacific Northwest, so we asked Andrew Stout, founder and general manager of Full Circle Farm, a few questions.

How did you become interested in farming?

I started farming with my wife Wendy and my good friend John in the mid 90’s.  We all felt drawn to the noble occupation of growing good honest food for our community in an environmentally responsible way.  We were only a few years out of college and were looking for a meaningful career that challenged us mentally and physically while allowing our entrepreneurial spirit to thrive.  If farming didn’t work out, I wanted to be a teacher.  As it turned out I have the privilege of doing both – educating young and old, about the merits of organic farming, the importance of good food, the satisfaction of a hard day’s work and best of all the delights of a delicious shared meal. Read more

Christie Brinkley – a “flexible vegan”

christie brinkley

Supermodel Christie Brinkley was first discovered as a model in the early ’70s and went on to be the only model to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated three times — in a row. Since then, she’s walked thousands of runways, launched a skin care line, starred on Broadway and is now writing a book on health and wellness.

So how does she manage, now that she’s into her 60s, to still look so young and healthy? Here’s how she explains it: “I tried some pretty weird diets in the beginning. I did everything from juice fasting to eating one kind of food at a time, to eating a grapefruit first before everything. The only thing that really lasts is a well-balanced diet.”

Christie has been largely plant-based for years.  In fact she became a vegetarian when she was only 13, out of love for the animals.  She aims to eat a rainbow of different colored plant foods every day. “For many, many, many years I’ve always said I go for as many colors as possible in a day,” Brinkley said.

She starts her day with whole grains topped with fruit and walnuts. Lunch is always a salad of leafy greens, with various fruits and vegetables topped with nuts. For dinner, pasta and veggies are the most popular option. She has found some vegan dairy alternatives she really likes, such as a soy hazelnut coffee creamer and various vegan desserts.

Brinkley believes in being as kind as possible to your body and exercising to feel good and look good. She said, “Feeling good is looking good, and that can translate to an energy you exude.” She’s a huge fan of avocado toast, raw oatmeal, brown rice with lentils, and sweet potato.

While we hope she gives up eating the occasional animal products in her diet, we’re glad that she’s such a good role model for healthy plant-based eating.

Nutritious Collard Greens – recipes

collard greensAs a green leafy vegetable, collard greens are among the best available for your health. They’re actually a member of the cruciferous family, along with broccoli and cabbage, and as such they’re packed with vitamin C, soluble fiber, and numerous cancer-fighting phytonutrients.

Collards are available year round, but they are actually tastier and more nutritious in the cold months, after the first frost. For the best texture, they should be picked before they reach their full maturity.

Popular in southern cooking, they are usually stewed with meat for a long period of time, losing much of the nutritional benefit, but there’s many healthier ways to incorporate them into your diet.  They hold up to cooking much better than other greens, so they can be added toward the end of preparing soups and stews and still keep their texture. Sliced thinly, they can be lightly steamed and tossed with a vinegar dressing.  Steamed whole, they are strong enough to be used as wraps for a burrito alternative.

Recipes

Portobellos with Collards and Cannellini Beans

Collard Greens with Almonds

Tempeh Collard Wraps Read more

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