Interview With Nathalie Thandiwe, Author of “The Yummi Cookbook: Delicious, Healthy, Affordable Meals without Meat, Dairy, Wheat or Soy & Nut Free!”

I welcome the opportunity to do written interviews with Black women authors about their books. This interview is with Nathalie Thandiwe, author of The Yummi Cookbook: Delicious, Healthy, Affordable Meals without Meat, Dairy, Wheat or Soy & Nut Free!

Khadija Speaking: Nathalie, before I say anything else, let me thank you for graciously taking the time to respond to these questions. As I warned you when we first discussed the idea via email, not all of the questions will be “softball” ones. There will be at least one challenging, “hardball” question—the sort of things that I always wonder about when I read books dealing with certain topics. Let’s start with some basic questions.

Question: What made you decide to write a cookbook?

Answer: I’m an herbalist by training. Herbs and supplements are wonderful, but food is your first medicine. Many of us eat at least three times a day and in a much greater volume than any herb, supplement or drug we might take. As an herbalist, I worked with clients on their diets, knowing that if you choose foods that promote health and prevent disease, you have a sustainable way to create health. Research indicates that plant based diets in which the majority of calories come from plant (vs. animal) sources appear to have the capacity to prevent and even reverse disease.

Even once clients understood the connection between eating and health, most found it difficult to make lasting healthy dietary changes. They thought healthy food tasted terrible. When I would demo my cooking or give them samples they would always say something like, well, if my food tasted like that, I’d eat healthy all the time too. I shifted from consultations to writing books to share helpful self health information with more people. I started with the Yummi Cookbook because so many people don’t really believe that healthy can be delicious everyday, every meal from our own kitchens. Our eating habits have gotten really damaging in the United States, and we’re passing them on to our children. We now see diabetes, obesity and other chronic diseases in very young children. We can turn around this dietary health crisis starting with ourselves, our families and those around us who are also interested.

In addition, food allergies are on the rise and diagnoses of conditions like autism and ADD/ADHD, speech and developmental delays are increasing in children. Interestingly one of the dietary approaches that many physicians and families report being helpful in alleviating and sometimes eliminating the symptoms associated with these disorders is a diet free of dairy, wheat, soy and other allergens.

Yummi can help people learn how to cook food that is “Delicious, Healthy and Affordable” and free of major allergens.

On a personal note, in my family we have issues ranging from gluten and soy intolerance, as well as dietary preferences including vegan and omnivore. I had developed a style of cooking to accommodate all of this with really tasty, healthy, filling food that meat-eaters can be happy with. I was sure that others would find this helpful as well.

Question: How long did this project take from idea to publication?

Answer: The Cookbook took about 6 months from start to finish and that included documenting the recipes I cook and making a companion demo DVD. I cook improvisationally- not from recipes or with specific measurements, so I had to get the food out of my head and our plates and on to the page. That was kind of challenging- cooking is like art or jazz for me- I get a muse, maybe something I’ve eaten and know could taste even better so I “make it over” using my culinary senses to create a recipe.

Question: Did you look to other cookbooks for inspiration?

Answer: Kind of, but reverse inspiration. I find cookbooks really frustrating– I have a a high-flavor palate and I expect food to be fabulous, as in delicious. Many cookbooks are filled with tons of recipes but a lot of the recipes are just ok. Given this, I find cookbooks most useful for getting recipe ideas, skimming the ingredients and then putting it back on the shelf and just doing my own thing from there.

I wanted to give people a cookbook in which if they follow the recipes faithfully they get delicious meals. I took the approach of quality over quantity for the Yummi Cookbook and every recipe delivering high value in terms of adding to your ‘Delicious, Healthy, Affordable” plant based meal repertoire.

I also wanted to give people a cookbook that would train them in strategies for eating healthy on a budget and the methods for cooking various types of foods so they could not only master these recipes but have the info they need to improv or create other healthy recipes of their own. Hence the 101 Guides including Grains 101, Beans 101 & Spice 101, which some readers have described as an easy crash course in how to cook the basics. The Spice 101 Guide is great for learning how to recreate certain flavors and cuisines you may have at restaurants but are not sure how to reproduce them on your own.

The recipes are organized so that a more creative cook can look at the format and easily figure out how to improvise changes to the recipe or create a new dish using the flavor building and steps/technique.

I actually found some inspiration in the movie Julia & Julia about a young woman who cooks all of the recipes of Julia Child’s The Joy of Cooking and blogs about the process. I watched it at a moment of utter “omg…what have I taken on” project overwhelm. And I saw that both Julia Child and Julia the movie character had the exact same sort of moments in the midst of their respective creations. It was an affirmation of sorts from the universe- as if to say, yes love, this feeling is part of the process and look these other women who took on and succeeded in such endeavors had this feeling too- you are on your way!

Khadija Speaking: I notice that, in your cookbook, you repeatedly emphasize strategies for food affordability (such as preparing meals from scratch, getting produce from farmer’s markets, and from food co-ops).

Question: What do you say to the audience members who feel that they have no practical ways of accessing such things?

Answer: Great question! Let’s assume you’re working with the neighborhood bodega/corner store. Bodegas usually have dried rice and beans, frozen vegetables, tomato sauce, spices, frozen fruit, bananas, onions, garlic and maybe even a fresh vegetable or two. You can actually make some tasty and healthy meals with that- soups, burritos, chili, rice, green veggies and beans platters, smoothies, etc.

But I want to examine this issue of no access. I’ve noticed that many of the same neighborhoods that are called “food deserts” for lack of fresh food grocery purveyors also have none of the clothing and electronic goods retailers found in malls and well developed shopping areas. Yet the residents somehow find the name brand sneakers, clothes, accessories, electronic gadgets, etc. of the outlets that refuse to open stores in their neighborhoods. Clearly retailer abandonment has not stopped people from acquiring other goods they desire. People will have to take the same approach with healthy food and goods-where there’s a will and a demand, there’s a way. The first step is to asset map–find out where the closest sources of healthy, affordable foods are–farmer’s markets, food coops and CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture)–look online or ask around. Ask if they offer any satellite services near you or on your commute, such as drop off/pick up sites or reselling via other locations near you. If they don’t, ask them to do so. If they won’t, collaborate with others in your area to get the foods you need from the most convenient location(s). Assume no one is coming to save you and get busy saving yourself and your family and work with others you meet already on the same journey.

Khadija Speaking: In your book, you explain that the Yummi Cookbook meals are made without meat, dairy, wheat, soy or nuts. And that the Yummi Cookbook’s meals are made from vegetables, beans, grains, seeds, spices, and oils. Here’s what makes me nervous about vegetarian and vegan nutritional practices: Too often, there are alarming parallels to religious fundamentalism in how many self-professed vegetarians and vegans approach those diets. As the blog host of the paleo diet blog, Free The Animal, says in his post The Vegetarian Menace,

And then there’s the enviro-crap, which is just original-sin religion in disguise. You’re a guilty sinner (destroying the planet), you must repent (eat unfulfilling food). and atone (sacrifice your values and desires to the diktats of “authorities”). Same con, different day.

Khadija Speaking: He also raises the concerns I have about the numbers of infant and child deaths that are caused by vegetarian and vegan zealotry. As he points out in the same blog post, when you google the phrase “vegan baby deaths” you get page after page of news stories of vegan parents inflicting malnutrition and death on their children with what these parents claim are vegetarian and vegan diets.

Question: How are the Yummi Cookbook’s meals different from the dietary practices that allegedly led to the deaths of various vegan and vegetarian parents’ children?

Answer: I’m going to address the preamble to your question as well. I find it suspect when people are super emotionally charged or fundamentalist about “THE Right Way to Eat” no matter what their position is–wether they are advocating for meat eating or veganism. It’s a privilege to be able to even contemplate how and what we eat in terms of choices- many people on the planet simply do not have that luxury.

In reality the U.S. factory farming practices require vast mounts of resources–water, topsoil and fossil fuels; it also produces environmentally contaminating waste, and disease promoting food products. That is simply an unsustainable model for feeding ourselves. If we look to earlier indigenous cultures or even a couple of generations back to our great grandparents for more sustainable food production models, at the end of the day it boils down to eating lower on the food chain–more plants, smaller game and less meat for the majority of our sustenance.

When I would visit one of my grandmothers for the day when I was a girl, eventually a family member would ask If I was hungry; if I answered yes, I had to stay put several more hours while a relative snatched up a chicken from underfoot, broke its neck, defeathered, butchered and stewed it. When you deal with the reality of that “you want it then you raise it and pick it/kill it to eat” model, as compared to the McEverything I McWant McNow model, you understand with a quickness that this devouring of all in sight as if it’s an infinite resource wether it’s meat or fossil fuels will hit a wall and all of us relying on it will hit that wall with it.

I was raised eating meat and am a plant-based omnivore; I have also been a vegetarian and a vegan–I began experimenting with meatless eating in my childhood. My diet is 90% or more plants at this point in my life.

I don’t think it’s really about veganism, it’s about finding a way to eat as healthily and sustainably as we can. I would argue that the soy-based model of veganism is also problematic–with cash crop soy production displacing forests and indigenous crops, the genetic engineering of soy, the allergenic and hormonally reactive aspects of soy–just some of the obvious conundrums of the “Soy is THE Answer” chorus.

The pendulum has swung so far in one direction that balance will inevitably involve changing how we cultivate our food, and for many people eating less meat, with high and rising meat prices forcing the adjustment for some.

As far as parents malnourishing their kids, honestly, I see that across the spectrum from meat eaters to vegans. Most parents, like the rest of us, don’t get any training in nutrition or an education in public interest health and food policy. I see meat and dairy eating parents making complaints such as their kids have had painful ear infections since infancy, tubes, surgeries, allergies, asthma, sinus infections etc. When other parents and physicians point out that dairy is often a problem for children with these health issues, in reality only a fraction of these parents will respond by even testing a dairy elimination diet. Are they child abusers? The same goes for overweight, insulin resistant and diabetic children and their parents. These are widespread problems directly linked to diet and much more statistically significant that vegan-triggered wasting of children. People who allow children to waste or die from malnourishment have mental problems. It’s really not about the particular diet they try to hide behind or use. It’s important that we try to remain rational and calm when we are confronted with different eating philosophies and practices and really pay attention to what are the most prevalent sources of harm when it comes to diet, rather than witch hunt people based on exceptions, letting corporate interests shape the dialog and gaslight the public from behind the curtain.

Research studies indicate that children can be successfully reared on a vegan diet providing that their diet is adjusted for the reality that vegan diets can be lower in calories due to higher fiber volume, don’t provide B12, and are often low in calcium and iron. These issues can be handled with higher calorie intake if necessary and supplements or fortified foods. Interestingly, the American Dietetic Association (ADA) formally states that “appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.” The ADA notes that a vegetarian diet is associated with lower weight, lower risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure and rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, cancer than that of nonvegetarians. The ADA also provides helpful information on what you need to do to implement a healthy vegan or vegetarian diet.

In that vein, the Yummi Cookbook advises readers to speak to their health care provider and do their research regarding their nutritional needs and make adjustments to accommodate them. Yummi Cookbook meals are free of soy and use beans and seeds for nutrient rich protein sources. Yummi recipes also use healthy fats (oils), a critical nutrient for growing bodies and brains. The many vegetables and spices in Yummi recipes are rich in phytochemicals–nutrients associated with preventing and healing disease. While Yummi recipes are nutrient-rich, the delicious meals also are a hit with young kids as well as teens!

Question: You mention this in the book, but could you share for the audience some of the tips you give for busy people who want to eat well at home, but don’t have a lot of time for food preparation?

Answer: Yes! You have two primary strategies for time saving when it comes to making food- do it or delegate it. If you’re going to do it–cook food from scratch–then you can use batching and freezing to be most time-effective. Make and freeze food in batches–both staples like grains/beans and fully prepared meals like lasagnas and chilis. This means when you’re ready to prepare meals or eat you have time-saving ready to go ingredients or heat and eat meals on hand. If you’re going to delegate food preparation then you can delegate in-house or out. In-house can mean using existing household labor, like other family members or hired help to complete meal preparation steps like grocery shopping, measuring and chopping ingredients or making the whole meal. If you’re going to delegate outside of your home/help that means buying already prepared foods and meals from healthy prepared food providers. This is the most expensive strategy and potentially gives you the least amount of control over your food preparation; the trade-off is you get to preserve your time for other priorities.

A time and money saving tip to simplify cooking is to plan meals that have shared ingredients and cook fewer meals per week but larger volume per recipe so that it can provide food for a couple of dinners and lunches. I like this because it means I can cook just 2-3 meals that can be used for a whole week of lunches and dinners. I do a lot of “Yummi Remixes” or leftover make-overs, which I explain in the Cookbook. I repurpose ingredients, like lasagna ingredients might become pizza for another recipe later that week, so often people don’t realize they’re eating the same food!

Question: What do you hope the Yummi Cookbook will accomplish for those who use it?

Answer: I hope the Yummi Cookbook will help people interested in eating healthy by giving them more options for delicious meals. I also hope it will help people who have been told to adopt a diet free of wheat, dairy and/soy, expand their meal options. As I mentioned this is often part of the dietary protocol for treating developmental delays, ADD/ADHD and autism and other conditions like ear infections and asthma, and it can be overwhelming for families to implement these changes.

Question: Is there anything I haven’t asked about that you’d like to mention to the audience?

Answer: The Yummi Cookbook does include recipes for soy-free tofu substitutes, so if you are really attached to tofu, but want to “diversify” it can help with that as well!

I also want to make it clear that a healthy plant based diet is something that everyone across eating preferences can adopt and adapt–even meat eaters and low carb eaters. You can only eat so much meat; it’s plants–vegetables, fruits, grains, seeds–that offer the highest levels of nutrients, antioxidants and protective phytochemicals. A healthy meal that includes meat should still have a majority of its calories coming from plants. By choosing high-fiber, complex carbs like leafy greens as a foundation for meals, meat eaters can still keep their diets lean, low carb and plant based. The Yummi Cookbook makes that taste a lot better than it sounds!

Khadija Speaking: Again, thanks so much for taking the time to inform me as well as the readers by giving this interview! I truly appreciate it.

THE REVIEW

At the end of the day, anybody who wants abundant, healthy life is going to have to transition away from processed, “dead” foods. And move toward a way of eating that heavily incorporates natural, “living” foods such as fruits and vegetables. It’s easier to make this transition if you know how to make healthier meals that are also delicious, and The Yummi Cookbook can help you do that. I strongly recommend it!

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87 Responses to “Interview With Nathalie Thandiwe, Author of “The Yummi Cookbook: Delicious, Healthy, Affordable Meals without Meat, Dairy, Wheat or Soy & Nut Free!””

  1. Duchy says:

    Great interview, Khadija. As a doctor myself,I find it really difficult to convince my patients that the diet that they are consuming is the root cause of most of their current health issues. They tend to get this blank look as if I’ve just told them to build a spaceship from scratch and go and live on the moon, when I tell them to try adopting a plant -based, less meat and dairy based diet. There is also a lack of get up and do it yourself attitude so what happens is that the ones that do acknowledge what I have said, then expect me to go through their diet meal by meal and come up with a totally new plan for them.

    The main problem,I think, is that a lot of doctors are trained in treating disease as opposed to preventing it and therefore, they themselves are not conversant with all the information out there that tells of the benefits of a plant-based diet. They do not follow this path themselves so how are they supposed to inform their patients? That is what I think is unacceptable. Doctors should be versed in maintaining health for patients, not just in expensive ways of ameliorating disease that come with a whole lot of extra problems of their own.

    Thank you for alerting me the book. Even though I am in the UK, I will have a look at it to see if I can recommend it for my patients’ use.

    • ak says:

      I’m in the UK too. It’s so weird how the country that bred Twiggy in the Swinging Sixties now breeds some of the largest, constantly unhealthiest people in Europe, even the young kids, and probably rivalling the US regarding this now!

      Back in the 60s and 70s, Twiggy was not THE only skinny person like that in London you know, according to other people including my mother, loads of people were as, or almost as skinny as her back then. Believe it or not, black women like my mother and her friends, some of who are my godmothers, were all quite skinny and close to Twiggy’s shape. Naturally curvier and larger my foot! My Mom has clothes that I have NEVER been able to fit into!

      Now you have short reality TV shows for weight loss plans and contests for losing weight for people who are one burger away from being bedridden like the people on Jerry Springer who had to be busted out of their houses with bulldozers!

      Even during my childhood in London in the 80s, I’d never seen anything like it and certainly not with the kids because there was recess and PE all the time.

  2. Meena says:

    Very interesting interview. I have been a health conscious eater since I could afford to purchase and prepare my own meals. However, I would always be disappointed when the “healthy recipes” tasted rather bland. I come from an upbringing that always had flavorful and well seasoned dishes, so the Yummi Cookbook that omits meat, dairy, wheat, soy,and nuts might just be the thing I was looking for. I plan on ordering and trying many of her recipes. I just hope I can find the ingredients in my local Whole Foods because much of the Healthy foods used in diets like this can hardly be found in a local Grocery Store.

  3. Sisterlocgirl says:

    Yet another timely post. I transitioned to a vegan diet 2 months ago and have been quite happy with the results. I appreciate the approach Ms. Thandiwe has taken to a plant based diet. I will say that it is in the best interests of all Sojourners to take a serious look at the health implications of what goes into our bodies. Whenever I hear anyone pull out a horror story campaign against plant based diets my ” Cui Bono ” red flag goes up. Yes, there are crazy people out there who do strange/bizarre things to their children, but is anyone calling out child protective services when Mommy takes the kids to fast food/supersize me/eat enough for 3 people buffets every night with the resultant obesity, adult onset diabetes, hypertension, and cholesterol issues now being seen in children that result? Nope, not a peep. But promote fruits, vegetables and non-GMO grains and the hounds are loosed. Why? Because you have huge industries( meat, (beef, poultry, dairy, fast food, pharmaceuticals, quick weight loss programs, disease care, etc. ) banking on you listening to their pr campaigns to keep you lining their pockets. Shifting some of your meals to plant based ones is not unreasonable and it will go a long way to decreasing you incidence of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and other degenerative diseases. I will not relate the bizarre, byzantine, ridiculous hoops that I must negotiate to obtain authorization for blood pressure medications for my patients to prevent progressive kidney disease. The insurance companies give me pure hades to obtain these medications, but when the patient needs dialysis? No problem! Believe me, if you understand this sick point you will be a bit more motivated to investigate and implement a personal program of prevention. Yes, some of the vegetarian/vegan communities get a bit too overzealous and preachy for me as well. That does not change the fact that there are proven benefits to a heavier reliance on plants as opposed to a heavily animal based diet. I take the good and leave the zealotry on the table. Another aspect of this is what is easier to maintain if you have to provide your own food? Is it easier to grow your own food or are you capable of going out and shooting your dinner? This question is going to become much more important in the coming years. It may be advisable to change your palate at your leisure as opposed to being forced to. Just some food for thought ( pun intended ).

  4. Duchy,

    Thank you for your kind words about the interview; I truly appreciate it. [And it was fun! :-) My thanks again to Nathalie Thandiwe for her patience and grace in taking the time to do it!]

    You said, “As a doctor myself,I find it really difficult to convince my patients that the diet that they are consuming is the root cause of most of their current health issues. They tend to get this blank look as if I’ve just told them to build a spaceship from scratch and go and live on the moon, when I tell them to try adopting a plant -based, less meat and dairy based diet.”

    {chuckling} That just shows how disconnected from reality modern “food” consumers in industrialized countries are. Although, I hear that these strange notions about food haven’t gotten as bad in some other Western European countries such as France and Italy.

    You said, “There is also a lack of get up and do it yourself attitude so what happens is that the ones that do acknowledge what I have said, then expect me to go through their diet meal by meal and come up with a totally new plan for them.”

    I believe that’s the result of a combination of 2 things: First, personal trifling. And second, the “As a patient I have no control or input into my own health” mental construct of modern health care—as perceived by many patients (and doctors). A lot of folks treat their bodies like cars that they simply hand over to the doctors. Although, many people are typically more attentive to regular maintenance of their cars (oil changes, not always buying the very cheapest gasoline, etc.) than they are to their own bodies.

    You said, “The main problem,I think, is that a lot of doctors are trained in treating disease as opposed to preventing it and therefore, they themselves are not conversant with all the information out there that tells of the benefits of a plant-based diet. They do not follow this path themselves so how are they supposed to inform their patients? That is what I think is unacceptable. Doctors should be versed in maintaining health for patients, not just in expensive ways of ameliorating disease that come with a whole lot of extra problems of their own.”

    My overall impresion is that this is how Western medicine works and is taught to Western doctors—action is taken after the patient falls ill. In contrast to what little I’ve read of traditional Eastern (Chinese, and Ayurvedic) health systems—where the doctor is expected to help keep his patients healthy and help prevent illness.

    As another reader who is a doctor notes, this “do something AFTER they’re sick” model has a LOT of financial incentives attached to it. Back to the ever-present “Cui bono?” question: if Western medicine started incorporating more preventative care, that would mean drastically reducing the current profits of all the disease treatment providers, such as Big Pharmacy, etc. And so, influential players in the current health care system have no incentives to switch over to preventative care.
    _____________________________________

    Meena,

    You said, “I plan on ordering and trying many of her recipes. I just hope I can find the ingredients in my local Whole Foods because much of the Healthy foods used in diets like this can hardly be found in a local Grocery Store.”

    Nathalie’s book makes the point that it’s helpful to do what one can to access healthy foods from a variety of sources, including farmer’s markets, food coops and CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture. From what I’ve seen of them, the farmer’s markets tend to be less expensive than Whole Foods.
    _________________________________________________

    Sisterlocgirl ,

    Thank you for your kind words about the post; I truly appreciate it.

    You said, ” I will say that it is in the best interests of all Sojourners to take a serious look at the health implications of what goes into our bodies.”

    Indeed!

    You said, “Whenever I hear anyone pull out a horror story campaign against plant based diets my ” Cui Bono ” red flag goes up. Yes, there are crazy people out there who do strange/bizarre things to their children, but is anyone calling out child protective services when Mommy takes the kids to fast food/supersize me/eat enough for 3 people buffets every night with the resultant obesity, adult onset diabetes, hypertension, and cholesterol issues now being seen in children that result? Nope, not a peep.”

    Well, I think there are a multiplicity of interlocking emotional and practical things that create these different reactions:

    (1) Most people are doing the Fast Food/Supersize Me thing with themselves and with their own chidren. So, that doesn’t appear strange or bizarre to them.

    (2) Since most people are doing the Fast Food/Supersize Me thing, they’re typically also in denial about the negative health effects of this. People usuallly don’t want to make any sorts of changes to their habits and routines.

    (3) I’m NOT a doctor like you or the other reader. But my impression as a layperson is that there’s more time available to try to “fix” the negative effects of a child being subjected to the Fast Food/Supersize Me thing before those effects become permanent. So, there’s another reason for a less urgent response to this opposite type of malnourishment.

    As opposed to the what appears to be the shorter window of opportunity to correct/prevent permanent damage inflicted on growing infants and children by the wasting away sort of vegan/vegetarian eating regime. Frankly, the babies and children of deranged self-proclaimed vegans look to me just like the unfed babies and children of dope fiend mothers. People tend to also have urgent responses to half-starved babies and children of dope fiends.

    (4) The Child That’s Wasting Away “look” tends to prompt a quicker, more visceral response from (responsible) adults than the Fat Kid “look.” I would imagine that humans have a strong inborn aversion to anything that looks like starving.

    (5) Too many vegans and vegetarians are fundamentalist AND overall obnoxious about their diets. I have an “allergic” reaction to any and every sort of fundamentalism. Whether it’s from the Natural Hair Jihadis, vegans/vegetarians, other Muslims yelling about THE swine and how they don’t eat THE swine (which is great, but there’s no need to holler about it, and bash other people over the head with it).

    I don’t like it when people want to beat me over the head about something. Other folks don’t like it either, and too many vegans/vegetarians get off into that sort of zealous behavior. Which is why there’s often no empathy for them when something goes horribly wrong with their Vegan/Vegetarian Jihad. That’s on an individual level, there are also the institutional, financial motives you mentioned later on in your comment.

    You said, “But promote fruits, vegetables and non-GMO grains and the hounds are loosed.”

    True that. {chuckling at the “hounds are loosed” remark}

    You said, “Why? Because you have huge industries( meat, (beef, poultry, dairy, fast food, pharmaceuticals, quick weight loss programs, disease care, etc. ) banking on you listening to their pr campaigns to keep you lining their pockets. Shifting some of your meals to plant based ones is not unreasonable and it will go a long way to decreasing you incidence of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and other degenerative diseases. I will not relate the bizarre, byzantine, ridiculous hoops that I must negotiate to obtain authorization for blood pressure medications for my patients to prevent progressive kidney disease. The insurance companies give me pure hades to obtain these medications, but when the patient needs dialysis? No problem! Believe me, if you understand this sick point you will be a bit more motivated to investigate and implement a personal program of prevention.”

    THIS institutional bias and inertia plus the irrational, emotional blocks that a lot of consumers have about living food is why things are as they are.

    You said, “Yes, some of the vegetarian/vegan communities get a bit too overzealous and preachy for me as well. That does not change the fact that there are proven benefits to a heavier reliance on plants as opposed to a heavily animal based diet. I take the good and leave the zealotry on the table.”

    That’s how I deal with a variety of issues. It’s interesting. The founders of the Adonis Index/Venus Index training systems have done blog posts about how people tend to form personal identities around their diet programs, whatever those programs might be. This herd identity thing seems to be another inborn human tendency.

    You said, “Another aspect of this is what is easier to maintain if you have to provide your own food? Is it easier to grow your own food or are you capable of going out and shooting your dinner? This question is going to become much more important in the coming years. It may be advisable to change your palate at your leisure as opposed to being forced to. Just some food for thought ( pun intended ).”

    That “are you prepared to shoot your dinner” question is a very good one. {chuckling} As much as I looove chicken, the descriptions I’ve heard from friends who have relatives down South, or who spent time on working farms of:

    —chickens having their necks wrung;
    —decapitated chickens running around until their bodies fell over totally dead; and
    —somebody having to pull the feathers out of the dead chicken carcass

    have turned my stomach. I don’t think I could be the person who did all of that to get the chicked prepped for cooking.

    As with all of these issues we’ve been discussing, it’s much better to make changes at our leisure as opposed to waiting until events FORCE a change onto us.

    Expect Success!

  5. APA says:

    I’m going to look into the cookbook. Lately, I’ve been making effort to exercise regularly and eat more fruits and veggies. I’m taking my health seriously now, so I don’t want to be sickly and helpless in my old age. I know once I graduate and start living on my own that I’m going to cook the majority of my meals, so Ms.Thandiwe’s book will be a useful resource. I like the fact that she made her recipes low cost. Too many cookbooks act like folks have an unlimited budget and don’t mind dropping $20 to make a single dish that you can’t even get leftovers from.

    Some of the posters mentioned that patients aren’t motivated to take preventative measures to ensure their health. I think that people aren’t motivated to go to the gym or eat healthy because the body has a way of tricking you. It’s incredibly resilient and can there take a lot of abuse (i.e. the regular consumption of foods high in fat and calories, not exercising regularly, etc) and still be able to function. People fool themselves into thinking that since their body is still functioning that their poor diet and lack of exercise is okay. It’s only when their heart, kidneys, or other organs give out that they get serious about their health. I don’t want to wait until I’m about to die to take my health seriously, so I’m starting now.

    • Sisterlocgirl says:

      Actually, even when the health starts failing the vast majority of people STILL aren’t trying to make any changes. The default position is ” Doc can’t you just give me a pill? ” Thanks to all the media ads for prescription drugs the mindset is ” oh, there’s a pill for that “. Not exactly. I do have a small subset of patients that are actively involved in their health and we design their treatment in a collaborative way. As Khadijah mentioned most people just hand themselves over to the healthcare system as if they were cars. As Sojourners we know that the herd generally is not going in the right direction and that the easiest path is not necessarily the best one.
      Duchy made an excellent point about the ignorance and hypocrisy of the Western medical establishment. One of the main reasons I changed to a vegan/plant based diet is I have to model what I ask my patients to do. It’s hard to teach what you don’t know. I already am an avid home exerciser and when I prescribe exercise regimens for my patients I have an entire arsenal of workout levels and types to recommend. I am doing the same with the dietary portion of my treatment plans as well.
      APA the best thing you can do for yourself is to avoid the entire ball of wax by making good choices now. Kudos to you!

      • Formavitae says:

        I think it’s awesome that you practice what you preach. I’m working on doing the same. I also think SOME people (not “all” or “most”) are willing to be “sick” so they can collect SSI benefits, instead of having to work independently. (No judgment–just observation)

    • Shesthedifferencemaker says:

      I think that people aren’t motivated to go to the gym or eat healthy because the body has a way of tricking you. It’s incredibly resilient and can there take a lot of abuse (i.e. the regular consumption of foods high in fat and calories, not exercising regularly, etc) and still be able to function. People fool themselves into thinking that since their body is still functioning that their poor diet and lack of exercise is okay. It’s only when their heart, kidneys, or other organs give out that they get serious about their health. I don’t want to wait until I’m about to die to take my health seriously, so I’m starting now.

      APA, this was my mindset for the past few years. Having a few semesters left of college has made me realize that I couldn’t keep keep putting my wellbeing on the bottom of my to-do list. I won’t be this young forever and the way my body is reacting to the abuse now will surely not be how it reacts in 5-10 years.

      With the way I have been eating, my doctors are repeatedly amazed because I should have high blood pressure, diabetes, etc, but I don’t. I thought it was amusing that I was escaping all these ailments while still eating junk and not exercising, but the joke will be on me if I don’t get my butt in that driver’s seat and start taking care of my body.

      Duchy & Sisterlocgirl, your wealth of knowledge as individuals in medicine is very much appreciated!!

      And thank you for doing this interview Khadija. Très instructif!!

      This was my favorite part:

      Thandiwe said: But I want to examine this issue of no access. I’ve noticed that many of the same neighborhoods that are called “food deserts” for lack of fresh food grocery purveyors also have none of the clothing and electronic goods retailers found in malls and well developed shopping areas. Yet the residents somehow find the name brand sneakers, clothes, accessories, electronic gadgets, etc. of the outlets that refuse to open stores in their neighborhoods. Clearly retailer abandonment has not stopped people from acquiring other goods they desire. People will have to take the same approach with healthy food and goods-where there’s a will and a demand, there’s a way. The first step is to asset map–find out where the closest sources of healthy, affordable foods are–farmer’s markets, food coops and CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture)–look online or ask around. Ask if they offer any satellite services near you or on your commute, such as drop off/pick up sites or reselling via other locations near you. If they don’t, ask them to do so. If they won’t, collaborate with others in your area to get the foods you need from the most convenient location(s). Assume no one is coming to save you and get busy saving yourself and your family and work with others you meet already on the same journey.

      This reminds my of the excuses some make about not being able to move out of their rapist/pedophile/drug dealing infested neighborhoods because they wouldn’t be able to afford the rent on the better side of town. Meanwhile at their place, you see a flat screen, Nike shoes, cable box/satellite dish, new urban clothes, etc lying around their apartment. *blank stare*

      I can’t stand when people like that make up these ridiculous excuses for not improving their life.

    • Formavitae says:

      I agree with what you said about the reason alot of people show apathy when it comes to taking care of their health. I’m a nursing student, and the cases I see in the clinical setting motivate me to take care of my health. Some people are so large, they can’t even touch their own feet. They have to have a home health provider come to their homes to wash their feet. When I ask some people to turn to their side so I can listen to their back, they can hardly move their arm across their chest, let alone turn over. Some people are so heavy, it looks like all they can do is lie on their backs. I appreciate my health so much more and want to maximize and protect it. I don’t want that type of existence.

  6. Traci says:

    Thank you for bringing this author to my attention. As a registered nurse, the amount of chronic health diseases in the 40+ age group has exploded in the last 5 years. Yes, the patient will (sometimes) take their medications for diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol; but very few are willing to change their diet. The future is grim for many Americans if we don’t change our habits soon.
    I am interested in getting the book and video but I can’t find the DVD anywhere. Could the author give you a link where your readers can purchase the book and video as a set?

    • Traci,

      You’re welcome!

      You said, “As a registered nurse, the amount of chronic health diseases in the 40+ age group has exploded in the last 5 years. Yes, the patient will (sometimes) take their medications for diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol; but very few are willing to change their diet. The future is grim for many Americans if we don’t change our habits soon.”

      Well, the future will simply be grim for the vast majority of Americans (including AAs)—because most Americans REFUSE to change any of their habits. This applies across the board. From the refusal to change dietary and sedentary habits; to the refusal to cut back on their use of fossil fuels; to their refusal to conserve energy in general; to their refusal to save money. The list is endless.

      This refusal to adapt to changing realities is what will ensure that there’s an abrupt collapse as opposed to a soft landing for many Americans. Oh, well.

      I would strongly suggest that readers:

      (1) revisit THIS POST and THIS POST;

      (2) start taking up the skills taught at The Archdruid Report;

      (3) start working on the preparation checklist described HERE; and

      (4) work on getting themselves situated as comfortably as possible for the long haul—whatever that means for each person’s individual circumstances. That’s what I’m doing.

      Expect Success!

  7. Zoopath says:

    I’m a compassionate carniverous omnivore. At our house, as long as it doesn’t have HFCS, is organic, is sustainable, is humanely raised and nonposionous it’s on the menu. We do belong to a CSA and make sure to include fresh veggies in our meal. I find that if I haven’t had enough fresh, especially leafy veggies that I don’t feel right. If I haven’t had enough animal protein I’m just hungry. That being said I wholeheartedly agree that the food supply in this nation is just an unmitigated disaster with most (I’d say 90%) foodstuffs being articial and unfit for human consumption. Our society has decided that healthful food should be a luxury item for some reason. Once my body got used to not consuming processed, cheaply made and preservative filled food I didn’t find that stuff palatable anymore. I can’t eat that stuff anymore, even if I’m super hungry. Since hospitals tend to serve the least healthful food, if I forget my lunch my only options are fruit and peanut butter.

    “Yet the residents somehow find the name brand sneakers, clothes, accessories, electronic gadgets, etc. of the outlets that refuse to open stores in their neighborhoods. Clearly retailer abandonment has not stopped people from acquiring other goods they desire.” I had never thought about that but that’s very true.

    BTW, what does “THE swine” mean? Do people actually say “the swine”?

    • Zoopath,

      You asked, “BTW, what does “THE swine” mean? Do people actually say “the swine”?”

      {chuckling} “The swine” = pork.

      “The swine” is often part of the heavily politicized food terminology used by some Black Nationalist vegetarians. And also by other types of “living foods”-eating Black folks who use food terminology similar to that used by some members of the Nation of Islam and/or Black Hebrew Israelites. {more chuckling}

      [Pork is prohibited under Muslim religious law (as it is under Jewish religious law).]

      Elijah Muhammad often preached against handling, cooking, or eating what he made a point of calling “the swine,” and “the flesh of the swine.” [For example, see page 17 of How To Eat To Live, Book One. The chapter heading is "The Pig: Swine."]

      Expect Success!

      • Zoopath says:

        I knew that pork was prohibited in Judaism and Islam. I just didn’t get how that was transformed into silly-sounding (at least to me) food terminology. I put MS. Thandiwe’s book on my amazon shopping list, I hope that it’ll help me with the CSA veggie deluge.

  8. Chris says:

    Thank you for bringing this cookbook to our attention. I’m always looking for cookbooks that stress healthy living – and since this is budget conscious too, BONUS! I transitioned from processed foods a few years ago, and the process took two years for me. Being brutally honest with how you consume food can be quite difficult for some people, but I found that with persistence, it can be done. Furthermore, changing a lifetime of eating habits doesn’t happen overnight, and I just broke things down ‘one meal at a time.’ It took my body three months to accept that I wasn’t going to feed it bagels for breakfast anymore.

    When I started making my meals from scratch, I found that I didn’t need to eat as much, as if natural foods filled me to a comfortable level. Processed foods just make you hungrier, and portions have gotten out of control. One portion is the size of a handful, not the size of the whole hand – or two hands.

    You’ve given us another timely subject.

    Oh, and Khadijah – I haven’t forgotten about the challenge from last week. I’ve ordered the DVD, and I’m scouting around for places where I can work with officials to do a program. Trying to finish my dissertation, and get a job first.

    • Chris,

      You’re welcome!

      {loud, sustained standing ovation}

      That’s wonderful news—please keep us posted! THANK YOU so much for taking action. May God bless you!

      Expect Success!

  9. Melissa Q. says:

    What do you guys think about buying organic all natural foods? I find that they are usually cost more at the supermarket? The whole foods chain is more expensive too> Has anyone found a way to buy direct from the farmers?

    • mochachoc says:

      I would ask, if you cannot afford organic food from whole foods then why bother? The aim is to actually eat more plant food. It doesn’t have to be organic. Wash your veg thoroughly and you’re good to go.

      For me protein and fat is a must. I get too ravenous when I don’t include this in my diet. Now when I say protein and fat I’m talking about unprocessed meat and fish. Oh you know, lamb shoulder, steak, mackeral, sardines, scallops, oysters, that sort of thing. I love spinach, kale, cabbage and peppers. I limit my intake of root vegetables. And I cook with animal fats. As you might have guessed, I subscribe to the paleo/primal way of eating (refs: marksdailyapple.com; free the animal; hyperlipid; garytaubes.com and many more). I lost weight with minimal hardship. More importantly my blood sugar levels remain very stable throughout the day. Most days I only need two meals. I just don’t get too hungry and I can go many hours between meals.

      It wasn’t difficult for me to adopt this way of eating because I’m happy to cook. And I’m always disappointed by restaurant food. I don’t know if this way of eating is for everyone. But I Know it’s right for me. Each to their own, just find what works. I’m squeamish too but if the day ever came where animal food at the butchers was unavailable I would learn to trap the gazillion squirrals and wood pigeons I have around my garden. Maybe even the fox too. They drive me mad with their noise at night. LOL! Just kidding. I’d go spare, I have to have my meat.

      • Zoopath says:

        Yeah, if the day came I would be able to process my own meat. If I can do an autopsy, I could gut a wild animal. I would have more of a problem killing domesticated animals that I raised, everything would become a pet to me.

  10. miss cosmic says:

    thank you Khadija for bringing this book to our attention. i am grateful for the interview too, great post all around.

    growing up, the family diet revolved around heavy carbs and meat. a meal without meat was considered lacking, and i feel as though i’m yet to eat if i dont eat meat. a lot of this is in the mind but it is partly cultural… as i get older and start to worry about my diet more, and also because i have a child, i am more interested in plant-heavy diets and healthier eating in general. we have cut out processed foods and we cook all our meals using either fresh or frozen ingredients. this was not difficult for MY family, but cutting out meat is something we are still researching.

    i think that a lot of the time people get caught up in the ‘hype’ of something ‘new’ and go into it without knowing whether it is sustainable for them or not, and then find themselves overwhelmed because they dont actually know how to make the changes they need or how to implement them. this is why, i think, people tend to want healthcare professionals to do all the ‘hard work’ of coming up with daily meal-plans and shopping lists. it’s very important to do your own research and find a balance that works for you and your circumstances and particular preferences.

  11. madamesiamese says:

    I am trying to live a more holistic lifestyle and have been looking into participating in a two-day juice cleansing. I have a thyroid problem as well as a digestive problem, so I am hoping that the cleansing will help alleviate some of my problems. Eating well is a lifestyle choice and I am fully aware that I need to improve my eating habits. I am training for a race in July, so I have even more motivation to make some changes. My son suffers from behavioral disorders which are a result of certain foods he is eating–especially at school. I have tried to hide vegetables in desserts and other foods, but he will not eat any green vegetables and the only vegetable he likes is fresh squash. Obviously, I can’t get it year-round, so I’m hoping that this cook book will help t give me some answers. Thanks again for the information about this cook book because eating well can really change your life for the better.

  12. *CC* says:

    Thank you for a great resource, Khadija. I plan to order the book. I definitely want to eat healthier, but it is a struggle for me. I usually find “healthy” foods to be bland at best. I would love to eat healthy meals that are also delicious.

    I am happy to add eating healthier to my list of changes. My top priority has been eliminating debt and saving. Oh, if I could do it all again, I’d save, save, save! But that’s another story.

    I enjoyed your interview and I look forward to healthy meals that taste great!

  13. madamesiamese,

    You’re welcome!

    If you haven’t already read it, you might want to check out the book The Crazy Makers: How the Food Industry Is Destroying Our Brains and Harming Our Children. I read it a few years ago, and the detailed info about how various processed foods affect brain chemistry (and other functions) was disturbing.
    _______________________________________

    *CC*,

    You’re welcome—and thank you for your kind words about the interview. Doing the interview was fun. {smile}

    Expect Success!

  14. Formavitae says:

    I checked this book out on Amazon, and the cover photos looked absolutely delicious! I decided to order a copy, because I’ve been working on eating in a healthier manner. I don’t want to become vegetarian or began, but l DO want to increase the proportion of my diet that is plant-based. I’m also glad that she doesn’t use tofu in the recipes. (I really don’t like it.) I look forward to trying her recipes and suggestions.

  15. Formavitae says:

    Although it isn’t a vegetarian strategy, I’ve been trying something to reduce the amount of sodium I add to foods. I don’t have any problems in this area. I’m just trying to become a “clean” eater (to the degree that I can tolerate). Anyway, instead of seasoning meat before I cook it, I just grill it plain, then squirt lime juice over it after cooking. I’ve tried this with beef and pork. I think it tastes pretty good (it just depends upon your palate). And, I’ve eaten this with green beans. Green beans actually taste good with lime flavoring. Anyway, I suspect that citrus juices will make a good flavoring alternative to traditional (sodium-packed) seasoning methods. I just thought I’d share.

  16. Lorie says:

    Hello,

    I am so pleased to see this interview. I’ve moved back home with my family (as preparation for a fast approaching life change) and find myself in charge of the cooking. I will definitely look into this cookbook and use it to slowly change my family’s (and my own) eating habits. Thanks, Khadija!

    However, even my bad food habits are slightly better when I make the foods from scratch. I no longer buy large packages of cookies when my homemade recipe is much cheaper, healthier (as I’m able to control how much sugar, etc, it has), tastier and more satisfying. When measuring cups and cups of sugar for recipes before mixing it with butter, your mind grasps that you cannot go on abusing such foods for long. Everytime I see a cookie, I imagine eating a bowl of sweet butter. yuck, lol

  17. Sophia says:

    Quite an informative article. Thanks Khadija. I’ve been reading your past posts and all the intelligent comments and figured it’s time I started participating as well.

    On my end, I made some gradual changes to my diet over a year ago, trying to lose weight and get healthy as possible. It wasn’t that difficult to get back to healthy cooking, mainly by cooking at home with real ingredients, cause I was raised in a home where cooking was done from scratch by a stay at home mom.

    Furthermore my African parents never tolerated processed foods or eating in restaurants, viewing it as money wasted. To this day I can’t bear eating food from a box so going back to the way I used to eat was not as hard as it could have been.

    I concentrated on whole wheat carbs, grass fed meats, eggs, butter, coconut oil, variety of vegetables, loads of fruits with dark chocolate and wine as my indulgences. I got rid of my scale, got smaller plates, drank water, tea and coffee and eliminated soda.

    Combined with eliminating my gym membership and taking up walking 3 times a week along with strength training 2 times a week, I dropped over 40 pounds and went from a size 16 to a size 10. After reading Gary Taube’s “Good Calories, Bad Calories” which talked about the political nature of the food pyramid and the very biased studies that led to the demonization of fat and the resulting emphasis on carbohydrates (which gets converted to sugar and is being linked as one of the main causes of the obesity epidemic in some circles), I made some further tinkering with my diet and reduced my carbohydrate intake in the form of grains which is still somewhat processed, even the “good” kind. Keep in mind, vegetables also contain carbohydrates so it’s not like eliminating an entire category of nutrients.

    Furthermore, I got rid of anything labelled “low-fat” as in order to get it low fat manufacturers pump these products full of sugar and preservatives. So now my yogurt is full fat greek yogurt and my cream is real cream (35%). The first week I reduced my grains intake my body screamed for a sugar fix. I already was eating relatively cleanly so imagine my shock at my intense sugar craving which manifested itself in the form of jonesing for chocolate. Instead, I treated myself to fresh fruits drizzled with real cream as dessert in addition to daily squares of dark chocolate. After one week, the cravings subsided and soon afterwards I began to notice changes in terms of my body composition. I was putting on muscle and becoming trim and lean. My teeth got whiter. The bloating I used to suffer from went away. My acid reflux subsidied. Cellulite disappeared. Most importantly, I didn’t feel deprivation and I didn’t count calories. All this from eliminating bread, pasta and rice from my diet. It wasn’t that difficult for the most part cause I always was oriented towards meat and vegetables. I just grew up thinking that having some kind of grain based carb on your dish was a necessity and for me, it’s not.

    Having said that, I’m like Khadija in that I don’t like fundamentalism in any way shape or form and so I adhere to this way of eating 80% of the time. For the sake of sociability and family ties, I will eat what is served to me when outside with friends and family the rest of the 20%.

    This change was over a two month period. I am now a size 6, toned and fit. My blood workcame back excellent in every category and for the first time in my adult life, I’ll be wearing a bikini come summer.

    The results are speaking for themselves and now my sister is looking into making those changes for herself. Her path might be a little harder cause she lives off pasta and all sorts of baked goods but she knows the change needs to be done cause we have very high incidences of diabetes on both sides of our families as well as high blood pressure and cholesterol. We need to start getting healthy now.

    • Formavitae says:

      I would like to say, “Congratulations,” on your success. I’ ve been working on reducing my intake of simple carbohydrates. I now eat whole wheat pasta. (It’s one of my dietary “pleasures”.) But, I’ve been wondering if I can eliminate carbohydrates from my diet (except for fruit and vegetables). I was a major bread lover, but now I rarely eat it at home. I am also working on reducing my consumption of simple and artificial sugars. I’m working on implementing these changes gradually, so that I will be more likely to stick with them. I was wondering how long it took you to go from a size 16 to a size 6. (This is similar to my goal.) Do you mind sharing approximately how tall you are? Also, I wanted to ask how many miles or what length of time you walked on those three days. I’m also working out at home doing walking and toning videos. Did you do serious weight training with more intense weights or equipment, or did you use lighter workouts with higher numbers of repetitions? I hope you don’t mind my questions. I find your success inspirational and encouraging (as I sometimes have a hard time believing I can achieve my goal of becoming a size 4/6). Thanks.

      • Sophia says:

        Formavitae, thank you for your kind compliments. I would be more than happy to answer your questions.

        The entire process of going from size 16 to size 6 took a year and four months. This was my second attempt to lose this much weight. In my twenties I drastically curtailed my calories, exercised like a fiend at the gym 6 times a week and lost 30 pounds in 3 months time but I never learned to manage my nnutrition and it all came back and more.

        This time around, I was determined to lose weight and keep it off no matter how long it took without killing myself at the gym and by eating cleanly.

        I’m 36 years old, and 5 foot 3. My heighest weight was 193 pounds which stabilized at 185 pounds for several years. I checked this morning and I’m 135 pounds.

        I chucked my gym membership cause I didn’t see much results on it. Instead, I started briskly walking around 4 km (2 miles) 3 times a week. My ipod playlist and podcasts really made the time fly. Since I live in Toronto, walking was already incorporated into my lifestyle (going to the grocery store, bookstore, taking the subway, etc) but it didn’t help with losing weight so I knew I needed to dedicate time just to focus on it. As for weight training, I should have called it strength training as I used my body weight to do crunches, planks, squats, lunges, modified push ups combined with some yoga to enhance flexibility. I normally did 2-3 sets of 10 for each group. For my arms I used 10 pound weights but I switched to doing Tracy Anderson’s standing arm exercises (these are found in the Tracy Anderson Mat Workout dvd) which are a surprisingly effective way of toning up arms, especially the bat wings that occur after weight loss.

        That first year, I cut back on the number of times I’d go out to restaurants to once or twice a week. I would cook whole batches of brown rice or whole wheat pasta to last me the week. I’d eat bran flakes with milk and fresh fruit, whole wheat toast with peanut butter or egg whites for breakfast. Sometimes I would bake lasagna. Lots of stir frys and stews to go with the pasta, rice and bread. Lots of fruit and veggies. Low fat yogurts and skim milk. I also switched around my plates to make them smaller after reading that antique hunters were surprised at the small size of dinner plates from the 1960s, thinking that they were dessert plates instead. Smaller plates (like 7 to 9 inches in diameter) help with portion control. So between my focus on my cooking at home with healthy ingredients and my 2 mile walks 3 times a week, the pounds very slowly started to come off.

        Initially, it bugged me that my progress was slow but I reminded myself that this is permanent and even if I didn’t lose that much weight at least I will stave off chronic diseases that run rampant in my family. No lie though, not seeing scales on the weight move much was frustrating, leading me to hide the scale for a while. In the past I would have given up and said screw it so this was progress. Also, I figured my metabolism was screwed up from my past efforts at dieting.

        An unexpected benefit was that I grew to love my walking sessions. I increased my distance to 7.5 km (around 4 miles) and started walking 3 to 5 times a week 6 months into this lifestyle. I kept doing it throughout the Canadian winter. If I go more than 2 days without walking I get very antsy.

        Gradually, the pounds started to come off. Clothes started to get looser. People started to make comments. After I arrived at size 10 I was pleased but I plateaued. So I started counting calories and decreased my caloric intake to 1200 a day, which was a mistake but I didn’t know how else to lose weight. Nothing changed much until I adopted the primal/paleo lifestyle and cut out carbs in the form of pasta, cereal, bread and rice. Eating like this increased my calories to 1700 – 2000 calories but that was exactly what my body needed cause I started to lose weight again. In 2 months I dropped two sizes and more importantly, I feel very good.

        Honestly, I wish I discovered this way of eating a year ago. I lost weight much faster after cutting out carbs than when I was incorporating them into my diet.

        This entire journey was not withouth its difficulties. I backslid a lot, sometimes not exercising for up to a month, especially in the beginning, but because my eating habits improved I didn’t gain. I would indulge in junk food but it stopped tasting so good to me and worse, made me actively sick (thanks KFC) so it’s pretty much off the table. The key is to continue with it and not give up. I would advice that 80% of your efforts be concentrated on managing nutrition. The rest of the time, focus on low intensity cardio like walking and doing strength training twice a week. You don’t need to live at the gym. Eat real foods, stay away from processed food and don’t be scared of fats. I cook with butter and coconut oil. I used olive oil in my salads. I eat steaks, fish, chicken with the skin on, lamb with all sorts of steamed, sauteed and baked vegetables. I use real cream and full fat greek yogurt and shy away from anything processed and anything labelled “low-fat”. To me this is something that works.

        A good source for this lifestyle is Mark’s Daily Apple http://www.marksdailyapple.com.

        He advises things like heavy lifting and sprinting once a week which I never did but overall his site is a good resource in terms of recipes, research, advice, success stories, etc…

        Now my problem is dealing with the increased attention my changes have wrought :-)

        I recall walking down the street and having women eyeing me. It was so frequent that I rushed into a Starbucks bathroom to see if I had stains on my face or spinach on my teeth or if my clothes were in disarray. A friend explained that now that I am “visible” I am serious contendor in the mating game and these women were simply sizing me up as competition. Men look, turn their heads and smile at me. I’ve had them hit on me in coffee shops and bookstores. I get free lattes from the baristas. It’s still very new and I think somewhat overwhelming, this change in how a person gets treated based on looks. Still trying to wrap my head around it.

        Another friend persuaded me to join her in online dating and to her perplexion and my surprise my Inbox has blown up while hers hasn’t. She’s Latin. She made a comment that if I don’t have a serious boyfriend by the summer then it’s my choice to remain single and she’s right.

        I think I’ve moved from the topic at hand so I’ll end this tome and wish you the best of luck!!!

        • Sophia,

          {deep martial arts bow}

          Expect Success!

        • Oshun/Aphrodite says:

          Congratulations! This if wonderful!

        • Zoopath says:

          Congratulations! You are so right about plate size. I found our everyday dishes on Craigslist because it wasn’t something that was important enough for me to want to spend tons of money on. I found a huge set 30 y/o stoneware for $50. It’s not gorgeous but the price was more than right. What’s also “right” about this set is the size of the dishes. They are so much smaller than what you can typically buy new. People didn’t always eat the huge portions that are presented as normal these day.

        • Formavitae says:

          Sophia,

          Thanks for sharing your time and your story. Your story sounds a little similar to mine (though I’m still in the losing process). I’m 5’7″ or so, and my weight range is heavier than yours, but I need to lose around the same amount of weight that you did (or a little extra). I’ve also “cycled” the same 30-40 lbs on my body. I’m a stress/anxiety eater, and that’s what’s influenced whether I went up or down on the scale. I recently realized this. When I’m not dealing with anxiety, I don’t overeat. I don’t even have the DESIRE to overeat. Food doesn’t hold that same appeal, when I’m not stressed. I’m easily satisfied. So, now, I’m working on being aware of my stress/anxiety level and making concerted efforts to eat healthy when those levels increase.

          I stopped going to the gym, also. I could only maintain a consistent routine for the length of a quarter or so. Then, when my schedule changed, I had a hard time keeping up with my workouts. Furthermore, I was losing inches more than pounds. I know that’s “good”, but I wanted the weight to come off. I’m much more faithful and dedicated to home workouts. I also enjoy the privacy. I’m glad to learn than you didn’t need to work out 1-2 hours a day/7 days a week to achieve your goals. Your workout routine is similar to my current routine, and it’s very manageable for me.

          I also have been focusing on eating light, with plenty of lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. I’m limiting the amount of fats I add to foods though. However, I have followed a 30% fat diet and still lost weight, in the past. I’ve focused on keeping foods that I have a hard time eating in moderation out of the house (whether they’re “diet” or not). I’m trying to make “moderation” a key component of my habits.

          I checked out that website. Thanks for the link. In a way, I’ve kind of been moving towards this type of eating (but, I have a hard time giving up whole grains and limiting fruit). I’ve noticed that many stars seem to follow this type of eating style to reach/maintain very lean physiques. I remember when Beyonce was still in Destiny’s Child, and they said in an interview that they just say “No, no, no” to carbs. I also remember reading an interview with Jessica Alba in which she said she works diligently to stay lean, because people in her family are very overweight. She said she mainly eats lean protein and lots of vegetables and fruit. So, I think my current dietary habits will help me become “black girl skinny” (size 8/10–LOL!), but I’ll probably need to switch to a paleo eating style to achieve my goal of a size 4/6. I think I need extra time to adjust to those changes, so “black girl skinny” as an initial goal is probably a good plan for me.

          Congratulations on your unexpected results! HOW PLEASANT! :) I realize that my social experience will change once I achieve my goal weight. And, it’s hard for me to accept sometimes, because I have a hard time feeling valued for my person AND my beauty. I think I’ve always viewed that as a zero-sum situation (if I’m valued for my looks, I’m not valued as a person…and vice versa). I think those feelings are related to personal experiences and my religious upbringing. But, I’m finally reaching a point in life where I can start to accept the idea that I can be valued for both my person AND my beauty. I suspect that many black women struggle with this problem.

          Anyway, let ME not get off topic. Thanks again for sharing. And, I wish you lifelong success and maintenance (the HARDEST part)!

  18. Faith Dow says:

    What a wonderful surprise. Thank you for this delightful interview. Nathalie’s book was already on my list to be purchased and she has given me some good tips from our Facebook chats as I’ve embarked on my get fit regime. You covered some very important points that we need to consider. I hope there will be a blog forthcoming (hint hint) as you can corner a market not being addressed.

  19. Adrienne M says:

    Thank you Khadija. This is an inspiring interview, and I will buy this book.

    I am skeptical, though I am willing to become a believer. I grew up in the Seventh Day Adventist Church and they give much of the same advice about healthy food and healthy living in general. Many SDA’s are vegetarian. That being said, I have found most vegetarian entree recipies I’ve tried through the years to be pretty “meh”. It seems like a lot of SDA’s overcompensate for lack of meat with processed/canned soy protiens (which contain more fat and sodium than meat), desserts, etc.

    I think health and dietary changes are also a comparatively easier sell to women. It would take a lot to convince a man to steer his diet away from what he already really likes/enjoys/looks forward to. My whole life I’ve witnessed Mom and Dad’s diet battles.

  20. Peeked online at the table of contents, and seems like a good cookbook to add to my collection…

    As Ms. Thandiwe mentions, it’s possible to get healthy, affordable food from a variety of stores, even bodegas. You can even get reasonably priced food at a Whole Foods, if you know what to look for, e.g., produce in season will always be cheaper than out-of-season produce, no matter which store you’re in. Also, Whole Foods (and other, independent stores) have bulk beans, grains, nuts, and spices; simply purchasing whole grains and spices in bulk can save oodles of cash, as much of their price is in the packaging. Also, so-called gourmet stores (Whole Foods, Dean & Deluca) often have cheaper prices even on their quality packaged herbs and spices (cheaper than the McCormick brand in supermarkets).

    For instance, smoked Spanish paprika (pimenton) at Whole Foods is available in both hot and sweet varieties, and is so much more flavorful than the more common (Hungarian) paprika; it’s also cheaper than the McCormick brand pimenton at the supermarket, because it’s not diluted like the McCormick brand.

    I admit, I’ve never understood people who complain it’s too expensive to eat well–and the people who make that complaint have high, low, and medium incomes.

  21. Lorie, Sophia, Faith, and Adrienne M.,

    You’re welcome!
    ______________________________________________

    Faith,

    I hope Nathalie takes you up on the blog idea. Are there even any Black-written food blogs? I don’t know; I’ve never looked into it.

    Expect Success!

    • Palmwater says:

      I only know of one black written food blog. I was introduced to vegan in the sun by a friend of mine http://caribbeanvegan.wordpress.com/ I have tried some of her recipes and they are yummy!

    • Faith Dow says:

      I’ve had a hard time finding any that weren’t tied to dieting/weight loss or religious/ideological fundamentalism aside from a few celebrity chefs and offshoots of established media entities like those owned by Scripps (who seem to have a monopoly). When I said I eventually want to convert my blog format to focusing on wine, cheese and chocolate I wasn’t kidding!

  22. Melissa says:

    Thanks for this Khadija, I enjoyed reading the interview. I’ll be sure to check out the cookbook. It’s so important for people to take an active role in maintaining their overall health, including the foods they consume. As noted, many health problems can be stemmed from making changes to one’s diet.

  23. Sylvia says:

    Thank you Khadija (and doctor and nurse commentators here) for bringing to light this and other awesome health-related resources. As black women, it is IMPERATIVE that we take control over our bodies and what we ingest. Sadly, we don’t often begin to do so until our bodies start breaking down. Prevention and proactiveness are key to maintaining healthy bodies. We know better therefore we should be doing better. Come on ladies – we CAN do it!!! :)

  24. Sharifa says:

    Great interview. There is a food-related blog by a Black woman that I read: My Life Runs on Food. My goal is to cook most of my meals at home; thanks for this resource.

    • Formavitae says:

      That’s my goal too. When I cook at home, I lose weight or maintain. It’s when I eat out frequently that I gain.

  25. Melissa, Sylvia, and Sharifa,

    You’re welcome! Thank you for your kind words about the interview; I truly appreciate it.
    ______________________________

    Sharifa,

    Thanks for the info about the food blog; I’ll check it out.

    Expect Success!

  26. Oshun/Aphrodite says:

    Thank you Khadija!

    This was a very pleasant well thought out interview.

    I am now torn between this and the Primal Diet.

  27. SweetIslandGirl says:

    Wow, great interview Khadija!

    I need to look into the Yummi Cook Books it sounds like the healthy altnerative that I’ve been lookinhg for.

    :)

  28. zoe1231 says:

    Excellent interview Khadija!!! I will be checking this book out.

    Adrienne M said:
    “I am skeptical, though I am willing to become a believer. I grew up in the Seventh Day Adventist Church and they give much of the same advice about healthy food and healthy living in general. Many SDA’s are vegetarian. That being said, I have found most vegetarian entree recipes I’ve tried through the years to be pretty “meh”. It seems like a lot of SDA’s overcompensate for lack of meat with processed/canned soy proteins (which contain more fat and sodium than meat), desserts, etc.”

    My response: This is exactly what my battle has been with plant-based eating. Because it was introduced to me at a young age with such religious dogma attached – I was unable to simply enjoy the experience… although a lot of their health teachings do make sense, a lot of people don’t do them for health reasons, merely another religious function of the believers. So it does get to be overwhelming sometimes. I have actaully built up an automatic reject reaction when this topic comes up most of the time because of this experience.

    Also, living in South Florida – vegetarianism gets mixed in with Caribbean cultural foods so I would then get a lot if rice entrees with whatever we were eating (Rice & Peas / White Rice & Black Beans, etc.) and then there’s the southern culture as well (pigeon peas & rice). So it’s now vegetarian, but still not all that healthy in reality. Not to mention that I am a huge bread and sweets lover. So this will probably be tough for me – but this book makes the plant-based diet seem interesting and do-able. And yes I am one of those people that eat whatever I like and don’t gain a pound… but alas this won’t last always and my body is starting to notice too (no weight gain, just a “sick” feeling).

    *side-note* I have a professor, and his wife does alot of cancer research. I find it very telling that they both have a predominately plant-based diet as well as other things.

    Khadija, as usual thanks again for this fantastic post!!!

    zoe1231

  29. Oshun/Aphrodite,SweetIslandGirl,and Zoe1231,

    You’re welcome! Thank you for your kind words about the interview; I truly appreciate it.

    Expect Success!

  30. Nathalie says:

    Hi everyone–what a great conversation- I love hearing about the strides people are making in getting/staying healthy! I will be doing some more health media via my radio show on http://www.wbai.org (alternating Thursdays @ 1-2pm: Women Body & Soul) and food/health stuff via twitter (@healthconspire) & Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/healthconspiracy. The Yummi DVD will also be available on amazon.com shortly; the book has all of the recipes, the DVD demos 18 of them and is a companion to the book. thank you for all of the positive feedback and encouragement!

    I want to give encouragement to anyone who is desiring better health and fitness, but feels defeated/like you can’t do it. You can do it; get a vision and get there 1 day at a time. Focus on a goal for your health and or diet that you deeply desire–even if it seems out of reach and commit to getting there every day. Yes, it’s going to take doing things differently, and at times you may feel uncomfortable (like when I started exercising at 5:30 am), but you adjust quickly and healthy changes are addictive in a way- the more you do healthy things, the more healthy things you want to do! Think of eating healthy and exercising as spa time/me time. People pay good money to eat healthy foods and to do fitness training/workouts (think Canyon Ranch, etc.); you are giving yourself a bit of that spa experience with every healthy meal and workout! And for those of you that are feeling too busy to work out or overwhelmed with caretaking of kids/ailing family members–it’s actually essential that you take care of yourself. You can’t help anyone if you crash and burn from exhaustion or a breakdown. Start with 10 minute workouts- on your own or those 10 Minute Solution DVDs. If changing your diet seems overwhelming and you need to lose weight, start by eliminating snacks and junk food and eating 3 balanced meals a day. Make other incremental changes from there.

    I could go on and on, but you get the idea! I am so excited to see so many of us creating vibrant health for ourselves!

  31. Nathalie says:

    For those of you contemplating the Primal Diet (like Oshun/Aphrodite says:”I am now torn between this and the Primal Diet.”

    Please note that you can have it both ways. The reality is no matter what diet plan you choose, you have to eat your veggies (mom is always right on that one :-).

    I took a look at the plan many of you have referenced over at Mark’s Daily Apple and reviewed the carb element of the diet. http://www.marksdailyapple.com/definitive-guide-to-the-primal-eating-plan/

    According to this plan, Mark advises 100-150 grams of carbohydrate per day for those at ideal body fat and up to 80 grams of carbs per day for those looking to lose fat.

    Ok, so let’s look at what that translates to on our plates.
    1 c chopped broccoli= 11 grams carbs (approximately), so
    9-13 cups of chopped broccoli= 100-150 grams.
    7 cups of broccoli=80 grams
    This means you have (lots of) room for high fiber veggies on your Primal Pan!

    The Yummi Cookbook sections on sauteing and roasting veggies, the curries, the stir fries, and the Spice 101 and Grocery Shopping Guides can all support your Primal Diet plan. Plus these recipes are a great way to get healthy fats- palm and coconut oil into your diet by adding them to the dishes. If you want to adapt soups and other recipes, replace grains with chopped cauliflower or chopped jicama (can hand chop or run either through a food processor on a few whirls to get it “riced”); skip beans and double up on the greens/veggies.

    I see that Mark even gives jicama his stamp of approval! http://www.marksdailyapple.com/low-carb-jicama/

    I hope this helps.

    • Nathalie,

      Thanks for all the outstanding work you’re doing; I know you’ll keep it up! {smile}

      Expect Success!

    • Oshun/Aphrodite says:

      Thank you for that clarification!

      I have been trying to sort information on diets as I am looking for something for both myself and my mother. Her case is special as she has congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, and diabetes. I was leaning towards primal, but wanted hard evidence that it wouldn’t aggravate her heart/blood pressure issues. The battle for her also is carbs because she loves them, but they elevate her levels so badly – even in small amounts.

      It also looks like she has succumbed to what was discussed on a previous thread here at Sojourner’s Passport concerning diabetes/high blood pressure and kidney issues. She has a tumor on her kidney and they told me (not her) that they think its cancerous. They are talking taking the whole kidney and I researched and am thinking – explore other options.

      Thank you for presenting this and sharing your resources. Perhaps your method would be better for her considering her longstanding issues.

    • Formavitae says:

      Nathalie,

      If a person wanted to substitute cauliflower or jicama, as you suggested, should they cook it before running it through the food processor or process it raw?

      Thanks.

    • CeeGee says:

      Hi Nathalie,

      I’ve read that vegetable oils and olive oil, nut oils, and coconut oil, are a part of the refined food group because they contain no fiber. They contain no nutrients and are 100% fat.

      And the saturated fat is just cholesterol. I’ve actually started (I’ve been cheating a little) but for the most part I sautee’ my veggies and sometimes boneless chicken in chicken stock or vegetable stock, to eliminate the oils. I want to eliminate more animal protein from my diet but I need a replacement for it and beans seem to give me too much gas.

      Anyway back to my original point..I read that these oils stimulate the liver and make more cholesterol than the body needs. I am very confused and frustrated. Because while I know certain vegetable oils like canola oil are bad for me, I’ve recently read that olive oil, and coconut oil are high in satrurated fat and stripped of their fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

      Please shed light on this for me.

      Thank You,
      CeeGee

  32. EleneC says:

    Hello Khadija

    Great interview and very interesting for me. Here’s why:

    I have been on a raw food diet (or rather way of life) for the last 1 or so and have benefited from it. People have commented on my skin and vitality even when I have not been feeling too well sometimes! Not because of the food! I might have a cold or am actually tired from a late night.
    I found it easy to adapt to because mentally I was ready. I agree about the food often just tasting ok rather than fabulous. I eat raw soups a lot and started making my own home-made soup which I really enjoy doing, the whole process of getting together the ingredients, the stock, etc. It’s very therapeutic. (You can cook it too, does not have to be cold.)

    I also brought loads of books from Amazon – and use them. I purchased a good powerful blender and juicer so I can make smoothies both green and fruit ones. I use apple or carrot juice as a base for green smoothies and then add it to a blender with spinach, or kale, rocket (love the peppery taste), or any type of dark, leafy green veg and it is delicious. You can mix and match. The juice takes away any unpleasant taste, very easy to consume – dare I say, even your dreaded little green bombs (Sprouts) taste good!

    I usually have a large salad with my food as a side dish – you can throw together anything really. Throw in some seeds, chopped nuts, pomegranate seeds, etc.

    It’s finding the balance and making sure you get all the necessary vitamins and minerals and feel full/satisfied. Nuts and seeds also come into play. A handful of almonds every day is good for you as are other types of nuts again mix and match.

    My blender is powerful enough to make nut milk from almonds, hazelnuts, for example. It can be used in cereal, porridge, generally in place of dairy milk. Add some salt or raw dates when making for sweetness and a light salty taste – your choice. You can strain it through a muslin cloth if necessary.

    You can eat raw all day and have a cooked main meal at night which does not even have to be raw. Start slowly with one meal a day raw.

    Here are some useful links to ‘live, raw’ food sites/books (remove as you wish if inappropriate)
    http://kristensraw.com/index.php
    Ani Phyo – Ani’s raw food desserts (amazon)
    Ani’ raw kitchen food (amazon)

    I have most of the books from Kristen’s collection

    Gosh, I sound like a poster child for raw foods! – Not so, I don’t deny myself a Sunday roast or going out to meals with friends, etc. I just make sure I select healthy choices from menus – organic, fresh, cooked simply, made from scratch.

    I can drop a couple of sample recipes if interested:
    • Soup (raw)
    • Smoothies – green and fruit

    Excuse typos!

    Regards
    EC – UK

    • EleneC,

      Thank you for your kind words about the interview; I truly appreciate it.

      Oh, you remembered my strong dislike of the nasty little Brussels sprouts. {chuckling}

      Feh…the dreaded Brussels sprouts…if they didn’t have cancer-prevention properties (see Foods to Fight Cancer: Essential foods to help prevent cancer), I would NEVER have any involvement whatsoever with them. At least the anti-cancer cup of sencha green tea that I have everyday isn’t totally nasty like wretched little Brussels sprouts. It’s not tasty, but it’s also not horrid.

      Expect Success!

      • Formavitae says:

        Oh my gosh, Khadija! I absolutely LOVE brussels sprouts! I’ll eat yours ANY DAY OF THE WEEK! :) I happily eat brussels sprouts plain, but I tried a really delicious recipe that I’ll share with you. I got it from Dr. Dean Ornish’s book, “Eat More, Weigh Less” (1993). (He’s an advocate for vegetarianism.) I’ve tried another good recipe, but I can’t remember which cookbook I found it in. If I remember, I’ll share it with you as well. I’m typing the recipe as written in the book (pages 244-245).

        BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH GARLIC AND GINGER

        Joyce Goldstein

        Brussels sprouts are rarely a popular vegetable because they are most often cooked until they are gray and soggy and smell like tired cabbage. Here’s a recipe that treats brussels sprouts as a crisp, fragrant, and green vegetable.

        Serves 2 to 3

        1 pound Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed
        1 1/2 cups vegetable stock or water
        1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
        1 tablespoon grated fresh gingerroot
        1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
        1 1/2 teaspoon anise seed
        Salt
        Pepper

        Cut the Brussels sprouts in half. Place, flat side down, on a cutting board and cut the sprouts into very thin strips; you’ll have about 3 cups. Bring 1 cup stock or water to a simmer in a large saute pan. Add the sprouts, garlic, ginger, and lemon zest. Cook uncovered, over high heat, stirring often, until the sprouts are tender-crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Add more broth or water as needed. Stir in anise seed and season with salt and pepper. Serve with steamed rice.

        NOTE: Snow peas or sugar snap peas can be similarly prepared. Remove the strings and tops. Cook snow peas 3 to 5 minutes, sugar snaps a little longer.

        Serving size = 1 1/3 cups
        86 calories
        1.1 grams fat
        0 milligrams cholesterol
        39.8 milligrams sodium without added salt

        ————————————————-

        If you decide to try the recipe, I hope you enjoy it. I did.

        • Formavitae,

          Thank you, but many others have worked their culinary magic on the wretched little Brussels sprouts—and I still hated them.

          Nothing can make those horrid little things edible for me. [Which is why I juice them every so often---I refuse to chew on, and then swallow, those things.] Feh.

          Expect Success!

  33. ak says:

    That interview was an intersting read, and the vegetarian/vegan cookbook is a great idea. It almost sounds like another cookbook I’ve seen sold called Hiltl Vegetarian. Yep, that’s how it’s spelled: Hiltl. The name of some vegetarian restaurant that’s been around for quite a while now. By the way if any vegetarians/vegans are in London now, or plan on visiting it soon off of Regent Street in the west End there is a LOVELY vegetarian restaurant called Tibits, which is where I saw the Hiltl cookbook being sold. Tibits has a fresh vegetarian hot and cold buffet that also has loads of options for vegans and lacto-vegetarians BUT this isn’t the lovely, cheap American-style ‘all you can eat’ buffet, this is a ‘weigh the food, and then pay for it’ type. The glories of living in Europe. But as tourists are always in the area, you’re bound to stumble upon Tibits in the ‘Restaurant District’ area on behind Regent Street where there’s Italian, Moroccan, French etc. restaurants also. Tibits has a nice little bar too for drinks.

    These days I really REALLY need to beat my horrible sugar craving but otherwise I have been what’s recently been coined as a ‘flexitarian’. A little bit of meat here and there, and then I try to eat as veggie, or as vegan as I can for the rest of the week.

    Usually the only meat I eat are the little pieces I get in some meat-based soups, no huge slabs or anything. I eat all vegetable based salads with loads of hummous & with no dairy in them either. Or a salad with crayfish or shrimps, but usually not. And oatmeal for breakfast but I do like maple syrup on it LOL! I have to kick that habiit too! Or I skipp the breakfast, but I have been on soups and salads for quite a couple of months now.

    I have lost quite a bit of weight. You know when clothes are marked just S,M, or L? Well in these pair of pants from American Apparel I’m just an M now! LOL For now! xD

    I have been drinking cups and cups of nettle tea, green tea, and chamomile tea (which I don’t like) for the past couple of days now, while still eating at the same time of course, I’m not saying their my ‘new substitutes’! I’m only drinking the chamomile tea and green tea to beat this horrible rash on my face. I’ve ruled out my makeup as I now know that it’s not that that broke me out. I have no idea what it is, but I see my doctor next Saturday about that. I bought calendula cream for it also.

  34. ak says:

    My challenge is how to put protein into an all-vegetable diet? Eating all vegetables for the whole day leaves me feeling hungry after a while. I do like oat cakes though and I keep them in my desk at work and I have to buy more actually. Thank goodness they come in different flavors! Also I’ve cut out bread for the past seven weeks (?) and I only have pasta, within a soup or a salad, once in a great while. Usually my soups and salads haven’t had pasta in them. I barely ever have rice although I have one serving of potatoes once every other week, or at one time once a week.

    • Chloe says:

      Ak,
      May I suggest including beans and legumes for protein. Last but by no means least, Chia seeds. Chia seeds are 23% complete protein by weight and can be incorporated very easily in to your current diet.

  35. CeeGee says:

    Khadija, I loved this interview. Thank You.

    One of the most important things Nathalie Thandiwe said was, “I don’t think it’s really about veganism, it’s about finding a way to eat as healthily and sustainably as we can”.

    I’m familiar with Nathalie Thandiwe, and you have reminded me to purchase her book. Actually in my family there are quite a few dietary restrictions. I am use to cooking without certain mainstream staples such as gluten and dairy. And that is not easy.

    I was curious about her before her book came out so I Googled her and found this video on You Tube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ua7MlqLGdF8

    In your interview Nathalie Thandiwe said, “I find cookbooks really frustrating– I have a high-flavor palate and I expect food to be fabulous, as in delicious”. I am on the same page with her here. For me food is sustenance but it can also be a trip to another country without leaving your table, if it’s cooked well. But does that mean we have to fry it or drown food in sauces made from things that will harm us? The road to learning how to create fabulous and healthy meals is one to take with patience but determination. Personally I also find many cookbooks just fluff or the recipes much too time consuming.

    When one of my children developed asthma, I was told by another mom who was very much into eating raw foods that I should change her diet. Eliminate processed food and cut down on the sugar. Initially I was insulted by her words. But I did eventually change my child’s diet and you know what? They asthma went away. Not completely but it was no longer severe and only erupted with seasonal colds. That was amazing. Eliminating processed food and the severe asthma was gone. Wow.

    Nathalie Thandiwe brings up so many interesting points, another one for me that hit home was for example, when my kid was a baby, she often had HORRIBLE constipation. We didn’t figure out until she was a toddler that the milk she drank was the cause. Again the same mom pointed this out to me. Imagine knowing that the food I thought was healthy was actually the food making my child sick. She was nursed, however, she did get cow’s milk in other foods. And I ate foods with cow’s milk so she was also getting it when she nursed.

    Getting back to Nathalie Thandiwe’s book, she mentioned The Spice 101 Guide, which really sounds very interesting for the simple fact that in my own kitchen I have to try to re-create popular conventional meals for those family members with diet restrictions. And that’s tough.

    I myself think in this day and age of GMO food’s and so many children and adults developing food allergies that having a garden of one’s own is not necessarily something to consider as a side hobby but life sustaining. You can’t even trust Whole Foods now to sell you food that has not been genetically modified.
    http://rickthehealthsleuth.blogspot.com/2011/01/whole-foods-sells-out-to-monsanto.html

    For example we are often told by are doctors to eat less meat like chicken and beef and consume more fish for lowering one’s cholesterol and or preventing certain cancers. However, most market fish is farm raised. Which means it has been fed chemicals to give them color, are fed pellets of chicken feces, corn meal, soy, genetically modified canola oil and other fish containing concentrations of toxins.

    And if that doesn’t turn your stomach this will, they have a higher number of sea lice…eewww. And are administered antibiotics at higher levels than any other livestock. But they keep telling us fish is safer. So that fish you just purchased at your local grocer or worse, Walmart is basically garbage. Don’t eat it and don’t feed it to your family because you love them.

    I welcome authors like Nathalie Thandiwe into my home library, I can’t wait to order this book.

    • Oshun/Aphrodite says:

      @CeeGee

      “when my kid was a baby, she often had HORRIBLE constipation. We didn’t figure out until she was a toddler that the milk she drank was the cause.”

      I wonder if this is the case or contributes to this in adults? I wonder if there are adults consuming milk/dairy when they are not supposed to be?

      “However, most market fish is farm raised. Which means it has been fed chemicals to give them color, are fed pellets of chicken feces, corn meal, soy, genetically modified canola oil and other fish containing concentrations of toxins. “

      This make me angry. I have never understood why a company would color fish, chicken, or even vegetable. What is the alternative if you still wish to consume fish and poultry? I have been keeping an eye for things that say wild and non GMO, but I am getting paranoid.

      • CeeGee says:

        Oshun/Aphrodite,

        I too share your unrest regarding what food producers to trust anymore.

        From my research because of my own families food issues I learned that many adults and children suffer from food allergies and are unaware of it because the allergies have manifested in other illnesses.

        For example asthma, eczema, colic, abdominal pain or cramping, eosinophilic esophagitis, diarrhea or constipation, ear infections, celiac disease, bloating, gassiness, fatigue, migraines, anxiety, sore joints, loss of concentration. And this is the worse I read that some cancers are from food allergies that have gone on for years. All of these are common symptoms of food allergies however many general practitioners rarely will test for food allergies first. When you visit them complaining about one of these issues. Instead they treat the patient for another ailment that shares the aforementioned symptoms.

        In her interview Nathalie Thandiwe said,
        “When I would visit one of my grandmothers for the day when I was a girl, eventually a family member would ask If I was hungry; if I answered yes, I had to stay put several more hours while a relative snatched up a chicken from underfoot, broke its neck, defeathered, butchered and stewed it. When you deal with the reality of that “you want it then you raise it and pick it/kill it to eat” model, as compared to the McEverything I McWant McNow model, you understand with a quickness that this devouring of all in sight as if it’s an infinite resource wether it’s meat or fossil fuels will hit a wall and all of us relying on it will hit that wall with it. I was raised eating meat and am a plant-based omnivore; I have also been a vegetarian and a vegan–I began experimenting with meatless eating in my childhood. My diet is 90% or more plants at this point in my life. I don’t think it’s really about veganism, it’s about finding a way to eat as healthily and sustainably as we can. I would argue that the soy-based model of veganism is also problematic–with cash crop soy production displacing forests and indigenous crops, the genetic engineering of soy, the allergenic and hormonally reactive aspects of soy–just some of the obvious conundrums of the “Soy is THE Answer” chorus. The pendulum has swung so far in one direction that balance will inevitably involve changing how we cultivate our food, and for many people eating less meat, with high and rising meat prices forcing the adjustment for some”

        That’s actually profound when you really consider what Nathalie Thandiwe is saying here.

        What I take from this is, people are no longer willing to put the time in it takes to prepare a meal, we are either to busy, or too lazy and so use to the convenience of ordering in or dining out.

        Also while grocery shopping, just because a food item is sitting there for sale in the market does not make it an option you should consider buying or eating. Is it the healthiest choice for you? Have you asked yourself where has this food been grown/raised? Have you read the ingredients? Because food producers only care about the bottom line and that’s fattening their wallets. Also is it really an endless resource. What has growing/producing that food done to our earth?

        I read an article that said farming claims almost half of the earth’s land. What negative environmental consequences, such as deforestation, water pollution, and soil erosion will that eventually bring us?
        This is why in my opinion gardening is important and life sustaining.

        Maybe starting a community garden with like minded people is a way to grow more vegetables and barter and trade amongst each other.

        Oshun/Aphrodite to answer your last question I only buy organic meats for my family. I try as best I can to buy organic fruits and vegetables, especially the dirty dozen. But it’s hard to find frozen organic vegetables unless you go to Whole Foods, and you can’t trust them anymore either. And I pray that the companies that say they are organic really are. Actually recently I stopped buying a particular brand of organic meat because when you eat organic for a while you can taste the difference and this particular meat no longer tasted organic. So I called the company and asked why their chickens were tasting different, basically they were tasting like conventional chicken. They told me they were feeding the chickens a different diet.

        • Oshun/Aphrodite says:

          Thank you CeeGee. I never understood the soy push, but was leery of it due to its ability to influence hormones. I have also been noticing the alarming rate at which the white house is approving GMO seeds and animals.

          Thank you for the suggestions.

  36. Karen says:

    Yes, the patient will (sometimes) take their medications for diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol; but very few are willing to change their diet. The future is grim for many Americans if we don’t change our habits soon.

    The cost of medication in any form will continue to increase and will price most people out of being able to afford it. It would serve all of us to take preventative measures to avoid illnesses due to excess consumption of non-healthy foods.

  37. CeeGee,

    You’re welcome!
    ________________________________________________

    Karen,

    Indeed. Darwinian natural selection is beginning to reassert itself in this Age of Turmoil.

    Expect Success!

  38. Sylvia says:

    A little something for you Khadija to make those Brussel Sprouts a bit more palatable. :D

    Balsamic Braised Brussels with Pancetta

    Serves 6 to 8 as a side

    1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs (though I found I needed far less)
    2 teaspoons thyme leaves
    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus an extra glug or two for drizzling
    4 tablespoons unsalted butter
    2 pounds medium-sized brussels sprouts, washed and trimmed
    Salt and pepper
    6 ounces pancetta in small dice (1 1/2 cups)(use can substitute smoked turkey)
    3 tablespoons minced shallots
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
    1 1/2 cups veal stock, rich chicken or vegetable broth, more if needed
    2 tablespoons chopped parsley

    Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix bread crumbs and thyme with a couple glugs of olive oil, and spread on a cookie sheet. Toast, tossing frequently, until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes.

    Heat butter and remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until foamy. Add brussels sprouts, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and sauté, tossing frequently, until lightly browned, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add diced pancetta, and sauté, tossing frequently, until sprouts are well browned and softened slightly, and pancetta is crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes more. Reduce heat, add shallots and garlic, and sauté until fragrant, 2 minutes.

    Increase heat to high, add balsamic vinegar and stock, and cook, tossing frequently, until sprouts are glazed and tender, about 20 minutes; add more stock if needed. Taste, adjusting seasoning if necessary, and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Transfer to a warm serving bowl and scatter bread crumbs on top.

    • RColeman says:

      This is the one of the ways I can get my kids to eat them. Another way I found is to julienne them and put them in vegetable stock with other veggies for veggie soup. I just tell them it cabbage…they like cabbage and can’t tell anyway!

    • Sylvia,

      Thank you; but so far nothing has been able to disguise the presence of the nasty little Brussels sprouts in a dish from me. Believe me, people have tried. Feh…

      Expect Success!

  39. Sylvia says:

    I too agree with Karen and others who have mentioned medication. Sadly, we have become a quick-fix society. We want it done, like yesterday, and don’t want to put in the time, effort or consistency needed to make these lifestyle changes. We want to take a “magic” pill or have surgery to quickly get rid of long-standing issues caused by our eating habits. SMH

  40. Nathalie says:

    Hi Sojourners! Just wanted to make some quick comments that may be of help.
    ___________________________________________________________
    Formavitae says: March 24, 2011 at 1:43 am
    Nathalie, If a person wanted to substitute cauliflower or jicama, as you suggested, should they cook it before running it through the food processor or process it raw? Thanks.

    Response: Hi Formavitae. What’s wonderful about cauliflower and jicama is that they can be used raw as rice substitutes–just “rice”/chop them raw and “plug & play” :). I learned this in the process of experimenting with raw foods meals. If you wish to use them cooked, I would suggest “ricing”/chopping them first, for better control. Now, personally, i actually prefer cauliflower cooked as a grain substitute; the jicama is nice raw, in my opinion.
    ___________________________________________________________
    Oshun/Aphrodite says:
    March 24, 2011 at 12:36 am

    Thank you for that clarification!….
    It also looks like she has succumbed to what was discussed on a previous thread here at Sojourner’s Passport concerning diabetes/high blood pressure and kidney issues. She has a tumor on her kidney and they told me (not her) that they think its cancerous. They are talking taking the whole kidney and I researched and am thinking – explore other options.

    Response: Hi Oshun/Aphrodite. I’m sorry to hear this–as you know, these are serious illnesses and if your mother is interested in pursuing additional healing approaches, she will need to act quickly. You may want to get a feel for what people are doing by plugging the search terms “reversing kidney disease”; “healing cancer” and “cancer nutrition” etc. into a search engine and an online book store (like amazon, etc..). this should lead you to online communities and message boards/blogs where real people are discussing their experiences and to reader reviews of the books that come up and the “people who buy this also buy this, etc..” additional book suggestions. Also look at the websites of the medical associations linked to kidney disease, etc.. for conventional information. It’s best to educate yourselves and know the full range of options from conventional to alternative AND what users are saying about them (as opposed to just those selling the books/programs, etc.). Also, keep in mind that only the patient can want to heal and do what’s necessary–no matter how much we want it for someone, it’s only a possibility if they want it and actually do what’s called for to get better.
    ___________________________________________________________

    Khadija Nassif says: March 23, 2011 at 8:48 pm
    …Oh, you remembered my strong dislike of the nasty little Brussels sprouts. {chuckling} Feh…the dreaded Brussels sprouts…if they didn’t have cancer-prevention properties (see Foods to Fight Cancer: Essential foods to help prevent cancer), I would NEVER have any involvement whatsoever with them…

    Response: Don’t worry about the sprouts! Nature is brilliant and always gives us more than one way to find her gifts. The goodies in sprouts that scientists know of and tout are phytochemicals called indoles that contain sulfur and activate destruction of cancer-causing chemicals. Indoles are also found in broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, kale, Brussel sprouts, and turnips, etc.

    Whenever you see researches going on and on about how 1 veggies or plant has some miracle power or is “the superfood” for X,Y,Z, don’t get too anxious if you can’t get it/afford it/stand the taste of it– whatever that plant has going on can generally also be found in another plant–just research the particular agent/phytochemical they attribute the miracles to and you’ll find others. Remember, this is a food industry and the hype is what sells products–even ones based on natural foods. The grocery store (and potentially your garden)has you covered for so many healing plants and herbs/remedies.

    ___________________________________________________________
    Faith Dow says:
    March 21, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    What a wonderful surprise. Thank you for this delightful interview. Nathalie’s book was already on my list to be purchased and she has given me some good tips from our Facebook chats as I’ve embarked on my get fit regime. You covered some very important points that we need to consider. I hope there will be a blog forthcoming (hint hint) as you can corner a market not being addressed.

    Response: Faith! Thanks for the kind words–I’ve enjoyed sharing fitness and food tips on Facebook. I hope you are smashing your goals! I’m in the final stretch here–I’ll look for more of your tips. Oh and I’m excited for your food blog!! :)
    _________________________________________________________________
    CeeGee–thanks for the link to the DVD promo :-)

    & thanks to you and the other Sojourners for the great comments and info you are sharing! Taking care of our health seems easier when we can connect with, inspire and encourage each other!

    • Formavitae says:

      Thanks, Nathalie. I’ve never tried jicama, but I will now.

    • Nathalie,

      I hear you. The thing is that I’m not too keen on the other specific veggies that are high in those anti-cancer compounds. Since I’m not a fan of any of them, I try to pick the ones that have the highest concentrations of anti-cancer nutrients. To be efficient about the nastiness. Feh. {chuckling}

      Expect Success!

  41. Oshun/Aphrodite says:

    Thank you Nathalie.

    I appreciate your concern and I really appreciate your response and tips. As soon as radical nephrectomy was suggested I started googling.

    I am thinking over the long term of trying to get her to use both conventional (the least damaging) methods in conjunction with alternative methods – including diet.

    As you figured, a major issue for me is getting decent information without a sales pitch attached.

  42. ak says:

    Just out of mere curiosity, has anybody here looked into or read about the Dukan diet? I have read the phrase ‘Dukan diet’ about here and there for a little while now, but I properly read an interview with this French doctor Dukan who actually came up with the diet in some magazine supplement to a British newspaper. And of course now Dr. Dukan has been coming out with books galore regarding his diet idea.

    This diet apparently has you losing a lot of weight really fast but claims not to be the type of diet that will have you putting back on all the weight just as fast just like that. It claims that there is a way or a discipline of some sort that keeps you from putting the old weight back on at all.

  43. ak says:

    God! I must be the only person in the world besides my Mom who actually likes Brussels sprouts a lot! I always have since I was a little kid, and in my family they are not just served with the turkey at Christmas either. They are one of our Sunday dinner staples a lot of the time actually! LOL My grandparents cook Brussels sprouts up all the time, just like my Mom does! We cook/steam them plain too, we don’t cover them up in sauces, gravy, or with meat.

    What I have always hated are melons of any kind! Bleugh, they always have this weird yet weak and watery taste to them that I just can’t get over. That’s one black stereotype killed for me anyway! LOL LOL