Salt and Sugar have been in the recent news as culprits to our general health. Taken together with fat, a perennial culprit, these three food substances are acquired tastes that contribute to most of our major diseases – cancers, heart disease and diabetes to name just three. That means we can and need to retrain our tastes buds to reduce the consumption of the bad-for-you-Triad. But How? And is it painful – will I have to sacrifice – will my family just bring carry-out home while I eat healthy food?
A few years ago I ate at an Indian Restaurant that didn’t hide the taste of their food with fiery hot peppers. Instead the meals were deliciously prepared with aromatic and tasteful spices and herbs?so much so I inquired about the use of salt. Much to my delight I heard the restaurant does not add any salt in preparing the meals.
When my wife and a friend decided to write a cookbook on thirty international Veggie Burgers they decided to eliminate the triad of sugar, salt and fat as much as possible. We use salt free beans, only two tablespoons of olive oil for 15 burgers (that’s 8 calories of added fat per burger) and no sugar (except the Boston Bake Bean Burger that has 2 Tablespoons of molasses/15burgers as an Ingredient).
Instead spices and herbs from around the world are matched to beans and grains in delicious and nutritious burgers with international flavors. People are looking for low salt great tasting food?a man recently bought the cookbook after Googling low salt food.
Besides taking out the triad that contributes to cancers, heart disease and diabetes?we added the foods that are touted as preventing these diseases: omega 3 from seeds, phytochemicals and antioxidants from walnuts, onions, garlic, carrots and tomatoes, grains and beans for protein, fiber, key minerals and B vitamins.
As for taste- recently when I asked someone where they found out about the cookbook they responded, “Last year I attended VeggieFest and tried one of your veggie power burgers. It was so tasty that when a friend said she and her son were trying to become vegetarians?well I bought another copy to give to them as a present.”back to top
Great writers can put an unforgettable picture in your mind that reinforces their message. Such was the case in February, 2010 when Susan Degrane reviewed Veggie Power Burgers cookbook, and described the scene as she served her husband and son some chickpea burgers,
“…my husband, a meat eater, immediately gobbled down four. My son uttered a muffled “Good” while taking another big bite.”
But what sticks in my mind some 18 months later was the picture she created in my mind’s eye with her next comments,
“When I made the lentil burgers, containing fresh ginger, carrots, onions and curry, I opted for a double batch. Those went like hotcakes too and even my dog was desperately begging, (his tail wagging) - maybe not opting to cut back on meat, as our family was, but realizing something truly delicious was being eaten.”
As I reread her review article, which appeared in Mindful Metropolis, I realized that she never said her dog’s tail was wagging – it is just the picture she put into my mind. You can read the entire article at veggiepowerburgers.com
It’s great to hear feedback like that. Recently a woman responded to my query on how she heard about the cookbook saying, “Last year I attended Veggie Fest (in Naperville, IL) and had some lentil burgers at the demo. When a friend and her son said they were going to become vegetarians, I just had to get her the cookbook as a gift.”
When my own family became vegetarians, our daughter and son were 13 and 12. We let them decided for themselves. Soon it was the four of us looking for familiar tastes – things you can eat on a bun with mustard. We started out with the frozen veggie burgers that were available in the late 70’s. Not MUCH!
How much easier it is today – such a wide variety of delicious meals both vegan and vegetarian, even gluten free. Now my son can get veggie pepperoni for pizza. That was the main thing he missed back then.
My wife and I retired in 1997 and found we had more time on our hands. One night we had friends over for dinner and a comedy movie. Cathy made two kinds of veggie burgers and we got such rave reviews she and a friend (a registered dietician) decided to create veggie (28 of 30 are vegan) burgers incorporating beans, grains, veggies and spices from all over the world. They matched the spices with the beans and veggies appropriate to the country.
A few years ago when my wife and I were on vacation in Peru, we had a sweet potato dish in a small local restaurant. Since my wife studied Spanish for six years she was able to converse with the waitress and we confirmed what our taste buds were telling us – the dish contained nutmeg, cumin and chopped cashews. That was a starting place for the Peruvian Sweet Potato Burger – a great choice for diabetics.
Two years ago at Veggie Fest Chicago, parents came to our free demo booth looking for burgers they could get for their young children. The first question they would ask was, “Is it spicy?”
That day we severed 3,000 free sweet potato and lentil patties on large corn chips. Many parents came back for seconds for themselves as well as their young children.
With obesity becoming an epidemic among school aged children, teach them great eating habits. A wonderful approach is to let them have a party with their friends where they make and eat the burgers themselves. Believe me they are kid proof and clean-up is so easy you can probably get them to do that too! Wow, my age is showing. Well it won’t take you more than five minutes. Best of all these are inexpensive to make and can easily be done in thirty minutes. Add some corn on the cob and sliced local tomatoes and they will have fun and a great meal. Be sure to have a drink available without high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Please let us know how it goes.back to top
In my sixties my cholesterol was 250. Not real high, still high enough that my doctor wanted to put me on statins. After reading the side effects I opted not to continue taking them. I asked him what other options I had and he suggested taking slow release niacin. I searched the website and found slow release pills at www.endur.com (I have no connection with these products whatsoever).
Many worry about getting niacin flush. I have found with these pills the only precaution you need to take is do not take the slow release pills followed by a hot drink like coffee or tea or you get the flush.
I got the big bottle of 500 pills (very inexpensive - 1,000 500mg tablets for ~$80) and started taking three a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). My cholesterol dropped under 200 BUT my HDL remained low. When I told my doctor, he said he had recently heard from a colleague that you need to take 2000mg a day before the HDL will go up. So I started on that regime (1 each at breakfast, lunch, dinner and bedtime) - I hit the gold standard of readings - 149 with HDL up 50% and a great ratio. At four pills/day (once again not taking a pill and then hot coffee or tea) that is ~ thirty cents a day versus the costs of an Rx for statins and without their potential side effects.
As always, I recommend others follow my approach to talk matters like this over with my family doctor before changing my approach to health. With niacin one needs to be concerned about taking this dosage if you have diabetes, liver dysfunction, gout or are pregnant. It is best to do it only with your doctor's concurrence.
I opted to take the Endur product with both niacin and panetethine (a dimeric form of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) that also reduces cholesterol and triglycerides).
While on the topic of triglycerides, when I was much younger (now I am 72) I had very high triglycerides. I researched natural ways to reduce it and found that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) inhibits the digestion of triglycerides. So I stopped drinking HFCS sodas. The doctor at work asked what medication I was on when I went in for my six month management physical. When I told him I stopped drinking sodas he was astonished. My readings had been cut to 25% of the previous measurements.
There are six reasons for taking supplements. Not all will apply to you.
My example: I am 73, very active, not over weight and am a vegetarian that does not eat eggs and chooses not to drink milk. I do selectively eat some cheese.
I used to get atrial fibrillation until I started supplementing the amino acid L-arginine. Studies have shown that as we age our body does not produce enough of this non-essential amino acid-so for me it became essential. As we age we often stop eating some of the foods that contain this amino acid like peanuts and peanut butter.
As I became vegetarian and stopped drinking milk (due to the chemicals in milk) I needed to supplement vitamins B12 and D. During the winter when I am not eating as much fresh fruit and vegetables as the summer, I need to take a high quality mineral and vitamin supplement.
My medical friends told me they have never tested a patient that wasn’t deficient in Vitamin D-regardless of age, diet or where they live. Showering washes off the Vitamin D we are absorbing from the sun. Calcium is really important as we get older. Dairy while it contains calcium it also brings with it bio-chemicals, and cholesterol. Dark green vegetables contain a lot of calcium but we need to supplement them with a squeeze of lemon to allow our bodies to assimilate the calcium.
Soluble fiber is essential to the health of our gut and our blood. Besides choosing high fiber cereals, I eat legumes that are high in fiber and many other nutrients such as all the essential amino acids. Naturally I exercise often (biking on the parried path and I keep my weight down.
Several times a month we make veggie burgers at home with organic ingredients including beans, brown rice, veggies, chopped nuts and spices. For a variety of 30 vegetarian burgers (28 are vegan) check out our website: www.veggiepowerburgers.com
If I see my weight creeping up I start eating the veggie patties for breakfast. They stop me from snacking in between meals and often I get by on two meals a day. When I am biking for several hours, if I’ve had veggie burgers with breakfast I find I don’t need the energy drinks or bars to eat to avoid energy drops. The nutrients in our veggie burgers release into the blood stream slowly over time.back to top