Plant Based Lifestyle.

A Whole-Food Plant-Based Diet Is not a diet of vegetables. You may have heard that people living this way eat lots of Spinach, Kale, and Collard Greens, and that this is the primary basis for many of the meals. You may even think we live only on leafy and raw vegetables. However, nothing could be further from the truth. While leafy vegetables are an important part of a Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet, they are very poor in calories, i.e., energy, source to be sustainable. We would need to eat almost 16 pounds of cooked kale to get 2,000 calories of food! We certainly don't eat this way, and we wouldn't blame you for thinking it sounds crazy, we think so too! 

In fact, it is virtually impossible to get enough calories from leafy vegetables alone to form a sustainable diet. Perhaps the most common reason for failure in this lifestyle is that people try to live on leafy vegetables alone. If you try to live on these vegetables, you become deficient in calories. Not eating enough calories leads you to feel hungry, which over time may result in decreased energy, feelings of deprivation, cravings, and even binges. These issues are not caused by switching to a Plant-Based Diet, rather they are all related to not eating enough. Don't get us wrong, we certainly recommend you eat generous amounts of leafy vegetables. But these are complementary foods that you eat regularly. They are not the energy source on your food plate. If leafy vegetables aren't the basis of a Whole-Food, Plant-Based life- style, what is? Starch-based Foods and Fruits form the Basis of the Whole-Food Plant-Based Diet. 

In America, most of us are accustomed to building our dinner plate around meat. This has changed with our lifestyle. The center of our plate is now a starch-based comfort food that most of us have always loved, but that has long been relegated to side dishes or stigmatized because of a misperception that they are unhealthy. These are the foods that people around the world have thrived on for generations. Tubers and starchy vegetables like Potatoes, Yams, Yucca, Squash, Corn, Green Peas, etc. whole grains like brown Rice, Millet, Quinoa, and Buckwheat, legumes like Chickpeas, Black beans, Kidney beans, and Lima beans. They may be prepared a bit differently, leaving out oil and dairy for example, but most of them will nonetheless maybe be familiar to you. They come in the form of delicious dishes like Lasagna, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Tuscan White Bean Burgers, Easy Thai Noodles, Lima Bean Soup, Shepherds Pot Pie, Black Bean and Rice Burritos, Polenta Curry, and Spicy French Fries. 

In addition to starch-based foods, you can enjoy as much whole fruit as you like. Fruits like, Mangoes, Bananas, Grapes, Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Naseberries, Black Berries, Oranges, Cherries, Jackfruit, Apple, Star Apple, Rose Apple, Starfruit, Passion Fruit, Grapefruit, Sweet Sap, Sour Sap, Guava, Ackee, Tomatoes, etc. No more eating for single nutrients, focus on the foods you enjoy. 

The idea of eating a food for one nutrient is pervasive in our culture. We have been led to believe we should eat meat for protein, dairy for calcium, fish for omega-3 fatty acids, and even tomatoes for lycopene, among many others. This sort of thinking is misguided and has caused grave harm to human health. The quest for protein, for example, has steered us toward meat consumption. In this quest, we not only consume protein more than we need, but also many harmful substances like dietary cholesterol that are only present in animal foods. No food is a single nutrient, and we should never think of foods in that way. Any given food has countless nutrients. What matters most is the overall nutrient profile, i.e., the whole package. Whole Food Plant-Based Foods contain all the essential nutrients (except for vitamin B12), and in proportion are more consistent with human needs than animal-based or processed foods. So, our question is really this: 

Why waste any of what we eat on inferior packages? If over time we choose a variety of whole plant-bbased foods we will easily meet our nutritional needs. Even on this diet, people sometimes tend to worry about eating a certain type of green vegetable for calcium, beans for protein, nuts for fat, and so on. We ask you to let go of that kind of thinking. The most important thing in this lifestyle is to choose the Whole Plant-Based Food you enjoy most. 

To learn more about the Whole-Food, Plant-Based lifestyle, and how to make a successful transition, be sure to check out The Forks Over Knives plan. 

by Aloha Pulde, MD and Matthew Lederman, MD. 


Alternative medicine

Alternative Medicine is defined as a variety of therapeutic, or preventive health care practices that are not typically taught or practice in traditional medical communities, such as homeopathy, acupuncture, yoga, chiropractic, and herbal medicine, these practices does not follow generally accepted medical methods and may not have scientific explanation for their effectiveness.

                      The history of Alternative Medicine dates back centuries ago; even though the exact origin is unknown. Complementary or Alternative Medicine (CAM) as it is sometimes called was first used to complement traditional medicine. Ancient Greek and Roman herbalist used Fenugreek herb (Trigonella foenum-graecum) to treat diabetes, according to the book, The Herbal Drugstore, (p.209). Over recent years Alternative Medicine has increasingly become popular and widely accepted. For example, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.          

Growing Popularity

                “Complementary generally refers to using a non-mainstream approach together with conventional medicine.” While “Alternative refers to using a non-mainstream approach in place of conventional medicine,” according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine,” (NCCAM)      The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine estimates that about forty percent (40%) of American uses some form of Complimentary / Alternative Medicine. They further report, that “Many individuals, health care providers, and health care systems are integrating various practices with origins outside of mainstream medicine into treatment and health promotion. The integrative trend is growing among providers and health care systems. Driving factors include marketing of integrative care by health care providers to consumers who perceive benefits to health or well-being, and emerging evidence that some of the perceived benefits are real or meaningful. This group includes a variety of products, such as herbs (also known as botanicals), vitamins and minerals, and probiotics. They are widely marketed, readily available to consumers, and often sold as dietary supplements”. People have been traveling around the world to access Alternative Medicine when it is not available in their country or continent.

Alternative Medicine vs. Tradition Medicine

                      Lots of people are comparing Alternative Medicine with Traditional Medicine; people who are not necessarily sick but are seeking preventive care. There is a myriad of books, websites and even foodservice outlets now either offering or promoting Alternative Medicine, often under the guise of health consciousness. One of the main reasons that Alternative Medicine has grown so popular in recent times is because Traditional Medicine is known for its side effects.  However, Alternative Medicine usually as little or no side effects at all. Another major factor is the comparison in cost; Alternative Medicine often costs significantly less than Traditional Medicine, often with the same or better result. Every year hundreds if not thousands of Americans are killed by drug overdose. (Traditional Medicine) It is very difficult if not impossible to overdose on Alternative Medicine. The reason is because Alternative Medicine is usually natural, like herbs, yoga, exercise and other non-traditional practice. 

Shift In Public Opinion

                   Alternative Medicine has made lot of progress over the years. According to a report in U.S. News and World Report, by writer Meryl Davids Landau, (April 12, 2011) “Interest in teaching alternative approaches "has exploded, especially this last year," says Laurie Hofmann, executive director of the Institute for Functional Medicine, which is based in Gig Harbor, Wash. The nonprofit institute educates healthcare professionals to look for underlying systemic imbalances as a cause of illness rather than focus on treating symptoms and, when possible, to correct with lifestyle changes and mind-body techniques.”  There seems to be a real shift in public opinion as it relates to Alternative Medicine. Twenty States (20) and the District of Columbia now have laws that legalize marijuana in some form, according to media reports. While the State of Florida, is set to vote on the issue in November’s midterm election. Medical Marijuana has long been touted as a legitimate Alternative Medicine to such conditions as Multiple Sclerosis, Bipolar Disorder, Epileptic Seizure and other chronic diseases. However, the term “Alternative” seems to be taking on a new meaning. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, M.D., Journalist, world renowned Neurosurgeon, and Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN has recently reversed his opinion on Medical Marijuana. He now supports the use of Medical Marijuana for some patients and admitted trying it.( Also, noted with interest is President Obama’s comment in a recent CNN interview, he said that in his opinion Marijuana was not any worst for a person than alcohol, and that his opinion was based on “expert analysis.”  

               However, it must be noted that it is not only with Medical Marijuana that significant progress has been made.  According to the book, The Herbal Drugstore, by Linda B. White and Steven Foster, (p. 206) herbs like Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) have been quite successful in treating some forms of dementia, cardiovascular diseases and the nervous system. The herbs Gymnema (Gymnema sylvestre) and Fenugreek are used to treat diabetes with good success as well, among lots of other herbal supplements the can be found in GNC store. Chiropractor, Yoga, Acupuncture, Chinese Medicine, Folk Medicine, and Naturopathy are all gaining momentum as they minimize the use of drugs and surgery.

              As you can clearly see “Alternative Medicine has come a long way, no one can deny the fact that Alternative Medicine is here to stay. The question is, how long can we continue to call it Alternative Medicine? The evidence is clear; the results are in. It is just a matter of time before what we now called “Alternative” becomes the norm. Alternative Medicine has helped lots of patients whom traditional medicine as failed. Its effectiveness has allowed patients to live a better and normal life. With the government and private entities providing more resources for research “Alternative Medicine” is poised to be the norm of the future. You might as well get on board now. 

Huie Oliver Martin, Independent opinion writer, executive chef, www. 


·         U.S. Department of Health & Human Services National Institutes of Health


·         White, L. & Foster, S. (2000). The Herbal Drugstore. Rodale Inc. Philadelphia, Pa. by St. Martin’s Press.



Benefits of Cerasee

Momordica Charantia, called Bitter Melon in English, is also known in parts of the Caribbean as Cerasee. In this article my name of choice is Cerasee, as is customary in my homeland of Jamaica. Cerasee is widely grown in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean for its edible fruit, and drink, is among the bitterest of all fruits. Cerasee is very common here in Central Florida, but very few people really know the value of this very important herb. This herb may hold the key to a lot of the health problems we face. Above is a picture of the Cerasee plant in my back yard. There are many varieties that differ substantially in the shape and bitterness of the fruit.

                        This is a plant of the tropics, but its original native range is not known. The fruit has a distinct warty exterior, and an oblong shape. The fruit is most often eaten green, or as it is beginning to turn yellow. At this stage, the fruit's flesh is crunchy and watery in texture, like cucumber, chayote or green bell pepper, but is very bitter. Seeds and pith appear white in unripe fruits; they are not intensely bitter and can be removed before cooking.

                        As the fruit ripens, the flesh becomes tougher and bitter. On the other hand, the pith becomes sweet and intensely red; it can be eaten uncooked in this state and is a popular ingredient in some Southeast Asian salads. When the fruit is fully ripe it turns orange and mushy, and splits into segments which curl back dramatically to expose seeds covered in bright red pulp, as seen below. 

Cerasee comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. The Cerasee more typical of India has a narrower shape with pointed ends, and a surface covered with jagged, triangular "teeth" and ridges. It is green to white in color. Some bear miniature fruit of only 6–10 cm in length, which may be served individually as stuffed vegetables. These miniature fruits are popular in India and elsewhere in Southeast Asia.

Culinary use:

                    Cerasee can be consumed in two ways, sauteed or boiled, and drink as tea, or chilled, and serve as a refreshing drink. The young shoots and leaves of Cerasee may also be eaten as greens. Cerasee is often used in Chinese Cuisine for its bitter flavor, typically in stir-fries (often with pork and douchi), soups, and as tea. It has also been used in place of hops as the bitter ingredient in some Chinese beers. It is very popular throughout South Asia. In Northern India, it is often prepared with potatoes and served with yogurt on the side to offset the bitterness or used in sabji. In North Indian cuisine it is stuffed with spices and then cooked in oil. In Southern India it is used in the dishes thoran/thuvaran (mixed with grated coconut), theeyal (cooked with roasted coconut) and pachadi (which is considered a medicinal food for diabetics). Other popular recipes include preparations with curry, deep fried with peanuts or other ground nuts, and pachi pulusu, a soup with fried onions and other spices. In Tamil Nadu a special preparation in Brahmins' cuisine called 'pagarkai pitla' is a kind of sour 'Koottu' , variety is very popular. Also popular is ' kattu a curry stuffed with onions, cooked lentil and grated coconut mix, tied with thread and fried in oil. In Pakistan and Bangladesh, Cerasee is often cooked with onions, red chili powder, turmeric powder, salt, coriander powder, and a pinch of cumin seeds. Another dish in Pakistan calls for whole, unpeeled Cerasee to be boiled, and then stuffed with cooked ground beef, served with either hot tandoori bread, naan, chappati, or with khichri (a mixture of lentils and rice).

                        Cerasee is a significant ingredient in Okinawan cuisine and is increasingly used in mainland Japan. It is popularly credited with Okinawan life expectancies being higher than the already long Japanese ones. In the Philippines, Cerasee may be stir-fried with ground beef and oyster sauce, or with eggs and diced tomato. The dish pinakbet, popular in the Ilocos region of Luzon, consists mainly of Cerasee, eggplant, okra, string beans, tomatoes, lima beans, and other various regional vegetables altogether stewed with a little bagoong-based stock.

                      In Trinidad and Tobago, Cerasee are usually sautéed with onion, garlic and scotch bonnet pepper until almost crisp, while in Jamaica it is consumed exclusively by drinking.

Medicinal uses:

                      Cerasee has been used in various Asian and African traditional medicine systems for a long time. In Turkey it has been used as a folk remedy for a variety of ailments, particularly stomach complaints. The fruit is broken up and soaked in either olive oil or honey.The plant contains several biologically active compounds, chiefly momordicin I and II, and cucurbitacin B. The plants contain also several bioactive glycosides (including momordin, charantin, charantosides, goyaglycosides, momordicosides) and other terpenoid compounds (including momordicin-28, momordicinin, momordicilin, momordenol, and momordol). It also contains cytotoxic (ribosome-inactivating) proteins such as momorcharin and momordin.


                      In 1962, Lolitkar and Rao extracted from the plant a substance, which they called charantin, which had hypoglycaemic effect on normal and diabetic rabbits. Another principle, active only on diabetic rabbits, was isolated by Visarata and Ungsurungsie in 1981. Cerasee has been found to increase insulin sensitivity. In 2007, a study by the Philippine Department of Health determined that a daily dose of 100 mg per kilogram of body weight is comparable to 2.5 mg/kg of the anti-diabetes drug glibenclamide taken twice per day. Tablets of Bitter Melon extract are sold in the Philippines as a food supplement and exported to many countries. Other compounds in Cerasee have been found to activate the AMPK, the protein that regulates glucose uptake (a process which is impaired in diabetics).

                      Cerasee also contains a lectin that has insulin-like activity due to its non-protein-specific linking together to insulin receptors. This lectin lowers blood glucose concentrations by acting on peripheral tissues and, similar to insulin's effects in the brain, suppressing appetite. This lectin is likely a major contributor to the hypoglycemic effect that develops after eating Bitter Melon.


                    Cerasee is traditionally regarded in Asia as useful for preventing and treating malaria. Tea from its leaves is used for this purpose also in Panama and Colombia. In Guyana, Cerasee are boiled and stir-fried with garlic and onions. This popular side dish known as corilla is served to prevent malaria. Laboratory studies have confirmed that species related to Cerasee have anti-malarial activity, though human studies have not yet been published.


                    Researchers at Saint Louis University claims that an extract from Cerasee, commonly eaten and known as karela in India, causes a chain of events which helps to kill breast cancer cells and prevents them from multiplying.

Cerasee has been used in traditional medicine for several other ailments, including dysentery, colic, fevers, burns, painful menstruation, scabies and other skin problems. It has also been used as abortifacient, (no ideas please) for birth control, and to help childbirth.


                  In Togo the plant is traditionally used against viral diseases such as chickenpox and measles. Tests with leaf extracts have shown in vitro activity against the herpes simplex type 1 virus, apparently due to unidentified compounds other than the momordicins.                 Laboratory tests suggest that compounds in Cerasee might be effective for treating HIV infection. As most compounds isolated from Cerasee that impact HIV have either been proteins or lectins, neither of which are well-absorbed, it is unlikely that oral intake of Cerasee will slow HIV in infected people. It is possible oral ingestion of Cerasee could offset negative effects of anti-HIV drugs, if a test tube study can be shown to be applicable to people.

Cardio protective:

                  Studies in mice indicate that Cerasee seed may have a cardio protective effect by down-regulating the NF-κB inflammatory pathway.

Cerasee has been used in traditional medicine for several other ailments, including dysentery, colic, fevers, burns, painful menstruation, scabies and other skin problems. It has also been used as abortifacient, for birth control, and to help childbirth.

Side effects:

                The seed of Cerasee contains vicine, and therefore can trigger symptoms of favism in susceptible individuals. In addition, the red arils of the seeds are reported to be toxic to children, and the fruit is contraindicated during pregnancy.However, I have been drinking Cerasee since I was a child, and eating the red arils on the seeds, which I find to be very tasty. I have never had an adverse reaction.

  Sources:                   Website: http/

                                  White, L. & Foster, S. (2000) The Herbal Drugstore. Rodale Inc. Pennsylvania


  The Controversial "Sandwich"

Posted on December 11, 2011, at 11:55 PM

 I have been studying cooking and foods for over twenty years, I have studied different aspects of cooking, the history of cooking, various cuisines, and food in general, among other culinary related issues. However, of all the types of food I had studied, I find “Sandwich” to be the most interesting, and the most controversial of all foods.

 History of Sandwich:

 The first recorded “Sandwich” was by the famous Rabbi, Hillel the Elder, who lived during the 1st century B.C. He started the Passover custom of sandwiching a mixture of chopped nuts, apples, spices, and wine between two matzohs to eat with bitter herbs. The filling between the matzohs served as a reminder of the suffering of the Jews before their deliverance from Egypt and represented the mortar used by the Jews in their forced labor of constructing Egyptian buildings. Because he was the first known person to do this, and because of his influence, and stature in Palestinian Judaism, this practice was added to the Seder and the “Hillel Sandwich” was named after him. However, the first written record of the word "Sandwich" appeared in Edward Gibbon’s journal on November 24, 1762. Gibbon was an English author, scholar, and historian. He has expressed surprise at seeing the noblest and wealthiest in the land, seated in a noisy coffee-shop, at little tables covered by small napkins, eating Sandwiches. It is also alleged that the cooks at London’s Beef Steak Club, a gentlemen's gaming club held at the Shakespeare Tavern, invented the first Sandwich.

 Earl of Sandwich:

 Earl of Sandwich is a 17th century title in the Peerage of England. John Montague was the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, became First Lord of the Admiralty and was patron to Capt. James Cook, who explored New Zealand, Australia, Alaska, Hawaii, and Polynesia.). Capt. Cook named the Hawaiian Islands after him, calling them the Sandwich Island. Montague was a hardened gambler and usually gambled for hours at a time at this restaurant, sometimes refusing to get up even for meals. It is said that he ordered his valet to bring him meat tucked between two pieces of bread. Because Montague was the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, others began to order "the same as Sandwich!" The original Sandwich was a piece of salt beef between two slices of toasted bread.

When the British first introduced the Sandwich in India, the Indians called them Double Roti. The term “Sandwich “has still been used, even today to describe Leavened Bread in India, even though they are not actually made into a Sandwich.

In Spain, the word Sandwich is borrowed from the English language; it refers to a food item that is made with English Sandwich Bread and is also known as a Bocadillo.

 Sandwich in America:

 In the 1840’s, the Sandwich was introduced to the United States of America, by an Englishwoman named Elizabeth Leslie. In her cookbook, Directions for Cookery, she has a recipe for Ham Sandwich that she suggested as a main dish. The introduction of Sandwich to America did not slow the controversy that surrounds “Sandwich,” as a matter of fact it got worse. In the nineteen hundred’s (1900’s) “Sandwich” became very popular in the American diet when bakeries started selling pre-sliced bread, making Sandwiches very easy to make. Sandwich has become even more popular in recent years, because of the fast-food industry. The popularity of Sandwiches led to a serious controversy at White City Shopping Center in Shrewsbury, Boston, Massachusetts. The court was asked to make a ruling as to what constitutes a Sandwich.

Panera, one of the country's largest bakery cafes, argued that owners of the White City Shopping Center in Shrewsbury violated a lease agreement that restricted them from renting to another Sandwich shop. When the Mall signed a lease with Qdoba, a Mexican chain's burritos shop, Panera says, that the Mall violated its Sandwich exclusivity clause.

Panera filed a counterclaim trying to stop Qdoba from moving into the Shopping Center. Qdoba hired some top food experts to testify at the trial. The experts testified that a burrito is just a burrito, and it is not a Sandwich. Burritos, Tacos, and Quesadillas which are typically made with a single tortilla and stuffed with a filling of meat, rice, cheese, and or beans are not considered to be Sandwiches.

The court ruled that "Sandwich" includes at least two slices of bread, and under this definition, the court finds that the term "Sandwich," is not commonly understood to include Burritos, Tacos, and Quesadillas.

Now that “Sandwich” has been legally defined, is Sandwich any less controversial? Not really, the verb to Sandwich has the meaning to position anything between two other things of a different character, or to place different elements alternately, while the noun Sandwich has related meanings derived from this more general definition. For example, an ice cream Sandwich consists of a layer of ice cream between two layers of cake or cookie. Similarly, Oreos and Custard Creams are described as Sandwich Cookies because they consist of a soft filling between layers of cookie.

Fact is Sandwich will probably always be controversial and we may see more lawsuits in the future, attempting to further define "Sandwich."