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April 19, 2016

Plant-Strong

by Anne Paddock

We’ve been so hoodwinked and bamboozled by the meat, milk, and egg industries that the majority of people, including well-meaning but misinformed doctors and nutritionists, haven’t a clue that the best and most healthful sources of protein come from whole plants.

Plant-Strong is the new title of a book that was originally called My Beef with Meat (2013), a New York Times Bestseller. The original title was clever and catchy (the brainchild of a marketing executive in the publishing house) but the words never quite reflected the author’s style (positive) or his approach to living a plant-strong life, which is inclusive.

My_Beef_with_meatThe new updated edition – Plant-Strong – contains not only a new title to reflect the author’s easy-going non-combative style but also 36 short (2-6 pages) chapters along with 152 new and updated recipes to convince readers to adopt a plant-strong diet.

Plant-Strong is a user-friendly resource to help the reader understand the power of eating a plant-based diet by debunking many of the myths promulgated by the meat, dairy, egg, and pharmaceutical industries.Plant-Strong One of the most important lessons for readers to walk away with is to never accept claims at face value: always find out who funded any study that claims health benefits of meat, dairy, and eggs because all too often, these studies have been funded by the industries promoting these food products.

Some of the most interesting and astounding facts outlined in Plant-Strong include:

  • Statins, beta blocker, glucophage, and acetaminophens address symptoms: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, high sugar, and inflammation – and do nothing to address the root cause of the problems they’re supposed to treat. The answer is not another pill, procedure, more legislation, or another doctor but a plant-based diet.
  • Your fork is the only tool that can actually help reverse the buildup of plaque in your system. Artery blockages cause less than 10 percent of heart attacks. The cause of nearly 90% of heart attacks is when gel plaques that line the arterial wall pop and cause a blood clot.
  • 25% of the calories in an average vegetable come from protein.
  • Animal proteins and plant proteins are both complete proteins. The difference is the composition and proportion of the amino acids in each. Despite claims that complete proteins need to be consumed at the same time, they do not. When a variety of plant proteins are consumed, daily nutritional requirements are easily met.
  • Vitamin B-12 is actually found in soil and specifically from the dirt that is attached to plants. Humans have an average of a 3-5 year supply of B12 stored in their livers.  A blood test can provide your level which should be between 250-1100 pictograms per milliliter. FYI – mine was 687 while the author’s was 854.
  • An iron skillet increases the iron content in many foods. Great sources of iron include soybeans, lentils, molasses, spinach, beans, tofu, and fortified cereals.
  • Calcium is a mineral and minerals come from soil so the best place to get calcium is not from cow milk but from plants.
  • Plant-strong diets are cheaper than diets that include meat and dairy products.
  • 7 pounds of grain and 2,400 gallons of water are needed to produce one pound of factory farm beef.
  • Constipation is a sign of a bad diet.

The beauty of Plant-Strong is the enormous amount of information given in short, easy-to-understand paragraphs that allow the reader to not only learn but use the book as a reference guide. The icing on the cake (vegan, of course) is the collection of recipes which were garnered from the author’s family, friends, and business associates. Simplicity defines the theme while delivering on flavor with some of the best plant-strong recipes around.

The recipe for Pavlov’s Polenta Pizza is just one of many super easy and nutritious dishes in the book. Start with polenta (the most time-consuming part of the recipe) cooked on the stove and placed in a parchment paper lined pan (hint: wet hands work better than a spatula to spread the polenta).  Bake for 10 minutes and then top with tomato sauce (homemade or store-bought), vegetables and fruit (pineapple), For my version, the tomatoes and red peppers were omitted. Instead cooked vegetables – broccoli, spinach and mushrooms – were piled on before baking for another 10 minutes. To serve, slice and pass the nutritional yeast and pizza spice blend to enhance the flavor of the pizza.Polenta Crust Pizza

Another favorite recipe is the A-2-Z Muffins by Katherine Lawrence. A fiber-rich muffin made with whole wheat pastry flour, a bounty of fruits and vegetables (zucchini, carrots, apples) and flaxseed, these muffins are sweetened with maple syrup. Moist and delicious, these guilt-free muffins disappear in minutes.A-2-Z_Muffins

Don’t skip over the recipe for Damn Good Cookies by Jane Esselstyn which is really a recipe for guilt-free cookie dough because who doesn’t love cookie dough? A blend of nuts (the recipe calls for raw almonds and walnuts but I use roasted unsalted nuts because toasted nuts have more flavor), dates, oats, dark chocolate chips, and vanilla extract that can be made in less than 10 minutes, Damn Good Cookies are even better chilled.Damn_Good_Cookies

Plant-Strong is available nationwide at bookstores and on-line retailers including www.amazon.com for about $10.

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