Don’t Eat Meat. Eat Japanese Eggplant and Lebanese Lentils

I had an “I seriously didn’t know that” moment about three years ago when I read the book  The China Study. Since then, though I’ve tried, It’s been hard to ignore the book’s findings:

“People who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease … People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease. These results could not be ignored,” said Dr. Campbell.
In The China Study, Dr. Campbell details the connection between nutrition and heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, and also its ability to reduce or reverse the risk or effects of these deadly illnesses. The China Study also examines the source of nutritional confusion produced by powerful lobbies, government entities, and irresponsible scientists.

The China Study is not a diet book. Consumers are bombarded with conflicting messages regarding health and nutrition; the market is flooded with popular titles like The Atkins Diet and The South Beach Diet. The China Study cuts through the haze of misinformation and delivers an insightful message to anyone living with cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and those concerned with the effects of aging. Additionally, he challenges the validity of these low-carb fad diets and issues a startling warning to their followers.

via ::: THE CHINA STUDY :::.

After I read the book I went cold-turkey-no turkey and was a Vegetarian for about 8 months.  I then jumped off the wagon when I got pregnant. I didn’t feel confident that I could eat only vegetables and make sure I was getting the nutrients my baby needed.  By foraging, I’ve learned quite a bit sense then about nutrition (see also Dr. Joel Fuhrman) and it is very clear, the notion that we need meat in order to be healthy is simply not true. In fact, meat’s not even good for us. A great movie to watch about this subject is Forks Over Knives which “examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting animal-based and processed foods.” You can see the trailer by clicking on this link: Forks Over Knives | About.
Now, I am hanging on to the Vegetarian wagon again (haven’t quite been able to get all the way in) and trying to eat mostly vegetables and no processed foods. I find that I am the most successful when I plan out my weekly recipes. The one featured here was incredibly hardy, quick and super yummy.

Lebanese Lentil Salad with Garlic, Cumin, Mint, and Parsley
(Makes 4-6 servings; recipe adapted from Garlicky Lebanese Lentil Salad in Saveur October 2010.)

  • 1 C green lentils (or use brown lentils, which will cook a bit more quickly)
  • 2 T + 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 10-12 cloves garlic, very finely minced (use more or less to taste and depending on the size of the garlic cloves)
  • finely chopped fresh mint
  • finely chopped fresh parsley
  • (use about 1/2 to 1 cup fresh herbs, depending on availability and how much you like fresh herbs)
  • 4 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Rinse lentils and pick out broken ones or any small stones. Put lentils in small pan with 3 cups water, bring to a boil, then simmer gently until lentils are tender, about 25-30 minutes. (Actual cooking time will depend on the freshness of the lentils. Older lentils will take longer to cook.)While lentils cook, very finely minced 10-12 fresh garlic cloves. Heat 2 T olive oil in small frying pan, add garlic, and saute over very low heat until garlic is very fragrant but barely starting to get some color, about 7-8 minutes. Turn off heat. While garlic cooks, finely chop desired amount of fresh mint and parsley. Whisk together lemon juice, other 2 T olive oil, ground cumin and ground allspice. When lentils are tender, drain well and return to the pan. Turn heat back on under pan with the garlic, add lemon juice dressing mixture and heat about 1 minute. Pour heated dressing over the lentils, then gently stir to combine so all the lentils are well-coated with the dressing. Stir in fresh herbs, then season the salad well with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

This salad will keep in the fridge for a day or two, but leftovers will taste best if you let them come to room temperature. You may want to add some fresh squeezed lemon juice to brighten the flavor when you eat it.

via:  Recipe for Lebanese Lentil Salad with Garlic, Cumin, Mint, and Parsley

Roasted Eggplant With Chiles and Mint
Serves four to six as a side dish.
Foraging Squirrel Note: I had to roast the eggplants almost twice as long to get the softness I wanted. Also, these little guys come out pretty spicy which i love. If you don’t want the spice then leave out the hot pepper flakes.

  • 1/4 cup unsalted peanuts
  • 5 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. peanut oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 skinny Japanese eggplant (about 7 inches long and 1-1/2 inches in diameter)
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes; more to taste
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 12 medium fresh mint leaves, coarsely torn (about 3 Tbs.)

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F.

Scatter the peanuts in a pie plate or other small baking dish and toss them with 1 tsp. oil and a generous pinch of salt. Roast, shaking the pan once or twice, until they are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool, and then coarsely chop them. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F.

Rinse the eggplant. Trim off their tops and then cut the eggplant in half lengthwise. In a large, shallow bowl, toss the eggplant with 2 Tbs. of the oil and the red pepper flakes. Put the eggplant cut side up on a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle generously with salt. Roast until the eggplant is tender when pierced with a fork and the flesh is a light golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small dish, whisk the remaining 3 Tbs. oil with the lime juice, honey, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Season to taste with more salt, if necessary.

With the eggplant still on the center rack, turn the broiler on to high and broil the eggplant until well browned on top, about 5 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to a serving platter. Drizzle with the dressing. Sprinkle with mint and peanuts and serve. via Roasted Eggplant with Chiles, Peanuts & Mint – Fine Cooking Recipes, Techniques and Tips.

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