How Not to Die

I admit it. I’ve been jealous of the relationship that some people have with their cookbooks. I sense you grinning here, but it’s true. Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, The Best of Bridge…they’ve all seemed to have chosen their prom dates, while I’ve sat on the sidelines longing. And that scene in Julia & Julia, where Julia Powell reminisces about her mother preparing Julia Child’s Beef Bourganaise, feeling like Julia Child was in the room watching over them…Who doesn’t want that? Try as I may, this type of relationship has alluded me until How Not to Die.

I need to throw in a pile of disclaimers here.
Disclaimer #1: This is not a sponsored post. The authors of The How Not to Die Cookbook do not know that I’ve bought their book…or even that I exist.
Disclaimer #2: I am not a vegan nor a vegetarian. But I have been trying to include more non-processed, plant-based foods in my husband’s and my diet.
Disclaimer #3: I have not yet tried all of the recipes in this book, nor do I intend to. Chocolate Oatmeal….sorry, but yuk!
Disclaimer #4: The recipes that I have tried did not all turn out perfectly the first time–not even close!

Still, despite a few minor setbacks and its somewhat corny title, I’ve found myself inspired by this book. The introduction by Dr. Michael Greger makes sense to me and is warm, humorous and backed by science. The recipes by Robin Robertson are clearly laid out, easy to follow, work well with reasonable substitutions and include beautiful photography. As you may have already guessed, I’m a sucker for food porn. Key ingredients are repeated from recipe to recipe, meaning no ‘one time wonders’ cluttering my pantry. I don’t want to jinx anything this early on, but this book and I just might have a future together. Better late than never!

Here’s what I’ve made so far:

 

 

Whole Wheat Pasta with Lentil Bolognese. I used Spinach Gluten-Free Pasta.

 

 

 

Indian Style Spinach and Tomatoes. The authors recommend serving this dish over quinoa or black/brown/red rice. I used balsamic white rice. Feel free to judge.

 

 

 

Dairy-Free Mac & Cheese. I know…I didn’t believe it either. It actually tasted cheesy. As a bonus, Richard did not run away screaming. The sauce is predominantly made from ground carrots. Seriously, the science escapes me.

 

 

 

Red Quinoa Loaf with Gravy. I used my own gravy – contraband, I’m sure. This one was a bit of a fail — firm on the outside mushy in the middle. Memo to me: When Robertson says, “If the mixture seems too wet, add more oats,” she’s actually saying, “add more oats”!  Still, it was edible–smothered in gravy most things are. Will I attempt it again? Loving a challenge (aka being a fool for punishment), you know that I will!

 

 

 

Zucchini Noodles with Avocado-Cashew Alfredo. This dish was light, delicious and easy to make (despite me not owning a spiralizer). The cashews for the sauce should be soaked in water four hours ahead of time…an important thing to know if you decide to make this dish at the last minute.

 

 

 

Leftovers. I’ve also had success in repurposing the leftovers. These tacos were made with thickened bolognese sauce (from the top recipe). They were quite fun and tasty. Yes, those are gluten-free taco shells and vegan sour cream. I have no comment on the shredded cheese that you see there.

This cookbook is meant as a companion to Dr. Greger’s first book, How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease. Will I buy that one? I’m not sure. But I do recommend this cookbook to anyone who would like to explore plant-based cooking further. The recipes are straight-forward, and the ingredients required are relatively easy to find. However, as with most whole foods, plant-based dishes, they take time to prepare. Read here: washing, scrubbing, peeling, grating, dicing, stripping herbs…you get the drill. The silver lining is that the authors do provide hints and shortcuts to help with this. A food processor is an absolute must for several of the dishes.

While I may never join Julia Powell in equating cookbook notations with prayer, I  now feel like I have a food coach in my corner. I appreciate learning how to make plant-based meals while retaining a full balance of essential nutrients (Greger’s “Daily Dozen). Being able to do this without sacrificing taste or variety helps keep me motivated. Baked Apple Crumble, you’re up next!

Do you have a favourite chef, cookbook or good-for-you recipe? Please share.

The How Not to Die Cookbook. Michael Greger, MD., FACLM with Gene Stone. Recipes by Robin Robertson. Hardcover, 249 pages. Flatiron Books.

Cover Photo: Courtesy of Unsplash

 

 

 

108 Replies to “How Not to Die”

  1. That sounds like a book I’d like to add to our cookbook collection. Like you, we are trying to add a few more non-meat meals to our weekly dinners. And, that the recipes you’ve tried have passed the Richard test is even more reason to buy the book. Thanks for your review… and I won’t tell anyone about that cheese… ummm… shredded yellow squash on your tacos.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi, Janis – You are quick! I was thinking about you and Paul when I wrote this post. Last February and March, Richard and I ate only meatless meals when at home. Then we went for our annual physicals. The positive changes in our bloodwork were genuinely shocking. (I honestly would have been skeptical if anyone else had told me this had happened to them so quickly). This past July, Paul asked what recipes I had used. At that time, I was pulling random recipes off of the internet, so I didn’t have a cohesive plan. Longterm, I was concerned about hitting all essential nutrients (esp. B12, iron, iodine, calcium). This book’s ‘daily dozen’ reminds us of the nutrients needed, and clearly lists which of the daily dozen are in each recipe. If you try it, let me know what you think. In the meantime, The Forks Over Knives website offers similar recipes (for free). https://www.forksoverknives.com/recipes/popular-healthy-vegan-plant-based-recipes-2018/#gs.bykt64

      Liked by 4 people

  2. I enjoy all kinds of cookbooks, although this one has an interesting hook in its title, sharing a premise that we all can get behind. I’ll look for it when next I’m in the mood to add to a new cookbook to my collection. Thanks for the idea

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    1. Hi, Ally – The title had almost prevented me from buying this cookbook. It was way too gimmicky for me. But then I sat in the bookstore and began to read several of the plant-based cookbooks on offer (yup, I’m that girl). In short, I’m glad that I decided to give this book a try. For anyone wishing to experiment with plant-based cooking, I highly recommend it.

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  3. I’ve been fighting the plant based, vegetarian, quinoa trends. It is just not in my comfort zone when it comes to cooking. I’ll experiment, but if it flops the first time, I am not inclined to try again. Besides, my husband criterion is for food not to taste or look like dirt or cauliflower (sigh). My favorite cookbooks are by Lidia Bastianich. I’ve loved her cooking shows on PBS. SHe reminds me of how my grandmother approached meal preparation and planning; lots of fresh food and love.

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  4. I love reading your adventures!! I who has a huge selection of cook books….as my son has become vegan…I am learning to add dishes to our meals! At Thanksgiving I made garlic mashed potatoes, cashew cream and roasted garlic! Made my own cream and yes you do have to soak the cashews, if you use boiling water takes less time. Made them vegan gravy and us turkey gravy! I have found I have moved from buying books to searching Pinterest and the web.

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    1. Hi, Georgia – That sounds like a wonderful Thanksgiving meal. I agree about using boiling water on the cashews to speed up time – that’s what I did and it worked for me. In the past couple of years, I have used the internet almost exclusively when searching for new recipes. It feels good to develop a relationship with a cookbook. Thanks for stopping by and always being so supportive. I greatly appreciate it.

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    1. Hi, Janet – Your term ‘cyberspouse’ made me smile. You’re absolutely right that our spouse’s reactions make a big difference in dishes we continue to make or abandon in the ‘too hard pile.’ Do you have a follow me button on your blog? I could not find it.

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  5. Wow, you’ve been busy, Donna. That looks quite time consuming. Derek is the cook in our house, but I LOVED Julia & Julia. I think that movie inspired me to start a blog. I have a comment on that shredded cheese…YUM! I love cheese. I’ve never met one I didn’t like, and I have great cholesterol levels. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Hi, Jill – The dishes did start out to be a bit time consuming but have become quicker as I have begun to follow the tips given (and as I have become more familiar with this style of cooking). I absolutely love Julia & Julia. It is a movie that I am happy to watch again and again. Thanks for stopping by. Your positivity is contagious!

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    1. Hi, Aimer – I hesitated if I should have added that line about the food processor. I wonder if Robertson would believe my statement to be 100% correct. At a minimum, I think that a high powered blender that can turn beans, lentils and cashews/walnuts/almonds into smooth, creamy sauces, is required.

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      1. I think you’ve got it right, the food processor sounds necessary to me. It’s something people should no, so no worries about saying so 🙂

        My food processor is ancient and it only comes out of hiding once a year. I’m a lazy cook 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. They look interesting but getting my husband to eat them may be tough. We do have meatless meals as he likes eggs and some veggies. We do baby steps here. There wasn’t a time when every meal had to have meat including pizza.

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    1. Hi, Kate – I completely agree that baby steps are the way to go. Although HNTD only includes vegan recipes, I made many of them with dairy substitutes that I had on hand. They still were 100% healthier than I would have made otherwise. Life is too short to eat food that you do not enjoy!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I so did not expect this to be about cooking after reading the title, so I have to say, whoever decided on the name for that books shall win an award immediately. Himself does the cooking in our home nowadays, so I don’t get to indulge in cookbook shopping anymore. But I may just seek it out for a bookshop browse …

    Oh & I’m with you on chocolate & oatmeal 🙂

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  8. I haven’t heard of this book but will definitely try it. I cook vegan all the time , my entire family except my husband are vegan. My main go to cook book has been ‘Oh She Glows’ which has never fail recipes but looking forward to trying this one too. Vegan (good tasting vegan) food is time consuming but well worth the effort in my opinion.

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  9. Eating plant-based meals is so much easier and exciting with a good and reliable cookbook! I’ve often said that if I could eat at a quality vegetarian or vegan restaurant every day, I would have no problem becoming vegan or vegetarian. Having a cookbook like this might create a similar statement.

    Unfortunately for us, we don’t have the space or the desire to stack lots of ingredients or products in our non-existing pantry or invest in a food processor. We will have to stick to “simple” meals in Zesty! 🙂

    Thanks for the review, Donna. Once we live in a house, this might be more feasible. Happy cooking and experimenting!

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  10. Hi Donna,

    Like you, I am open to cooking more meatless meals. It’s good for us on so many levels. North Americans tend to eat too much EVERYTHING and it’s killing us. Especially the processed foods and all that sugar. So the title of your cookbook is very apropos!!!
    That reminds me, I still have to send you that recipe for curried butternut squash and lentil stew I was telling you about on our hike! Hope to get that to you tonight or tomorrow at latest…

    Deb

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  11. Mmmmmm, there’s a local cookbook I saw advertised about plant based meals and you’ve reminded me to get it. Our meals at home are seldom with meat, for one thing it’s becoming more expensive and we know about the hormones animals are often fed and the fields in which they graze are often contaminated. Let alone the cruelty animals are often subjected to. But apart from that I love fresh food made into simple hearty dishes. Thanks Donna, great post and very encouraging!

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  12. I have never heard of this cook book, I will have to look into it thank you. As someone who cooks vegan food for my family all the time I am always looking for new recipes. My current ‘bible’ is ‘Oh She Glows” which never disappoints and also’ Kate and Cookie’. It is a lot more work to make Vegan Food for sure, but the results are worth it if you find some good recipes.

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    1. HI, Deb- Thank you so much for dropping by. I love Kate’s website and have referred to it often. I’ve heard of “Oh She Glows” but haven’t seen a copy of it yet. Thank you for the recommendation. I will now keep a lookout for it.

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  13. They all look really good, Donna. My wife lives and breathes cooking and baking, and collects cookbooks with abandon, so I asked her to offer up her current favorites: (1) She recently obtained the last of Maida Heatter, so she’s proud of having a complete set of her cookbooks; and (2) she’s lately been making quite a bit from “Everyday Dorie” (Dorie Greenspan). – Marty

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    1. Thanks, Marty – It was a bit unnerving to show photos of what I actually cooked. I much prefer to post photos of food from professional chefs. To top it off, I forgot about the black bean burgers that I had also made from this book. They had actually photographed the best (as in the prettiest)! 😀 Please thank Gorgeous for the cookbook recommendations. I will have a look at them.

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  14. Hi Donna – They look really good and sound very healthy. Kudos to you for trying out new recipes as changes are not easy and when we try something new, it’s usually time-consuming at the beginning. Although I don’t plan to buy any more cookbook, I bookmarked the Forks Over Knives site to try some of their recipes. Thanks for sharing this.

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    1. Hi, Natalie – Thank you for your kind words (as always). If you are interested in plant-based recipes, the Forks Over Knives websites has excellent ones. If you experiment with any of them, please let me know which ones you liked!

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  15. We have always eaten a fair amount of vegetarian meals throughout the week, and my other half doesn’t like the idea of being a vegetarian. It’s against his religion 🙂 Must agree I would miss having chicken and fish. He now needs a good dose of iron in his diet, so red meat is here to stay.

    I will check out the book, won’t promise to keep to the said recipes as I never do! My favourite NZ cookbook would be one written by Annabel Langbein.

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    1. Hi, Suzanne – Thanks so much for stopping by. Up until using this book, I have never been one to stick to a specific recipe. That’s probably because I don’t like being told what to do! 😀 Thanks for recommending Annabel Langbein. I will check out her recipes.

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  16. I always enjoy a good cookbook but don’t think our household could go very long without chicken or fish. I used to follow a pretty strict Paleo diet, but now follow it loosely. AND the idea of oatmeal and chocolate sounds good to me. As a matter of fact, I quite often add chocolate chips to my oatmeal cookies instead of raisins.
    BTW … what is the blog name of commenter Antoinette Martin? She does not have her gravatar linked. I’m always looking for entertaining food bloggers.

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    1. Hi, Ingrid – Thank you so much for stopping by. Antoinette may not categorize herself as a food blogger, but food and its delicious aromas appear throughout her writing. Case in point — in the intro to her blog she states, “The best stories are told around the table. Listening, telling and retelling memories add spice to our nourishment. Versions of the truth are flushed out as we pass the sauce, laugh out loud, sip the wine, and dab stained lips.”
      Another awesome blogger who includes food throughout her writing is Jo Tracey (whose tagline is “the rambles of a hungry writer”). You can find Antoinette’s blog here: https://antoinettetrugliomartin.com/ and Jo’s blog here; https://andanyways.com. Enjoy!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Okay, you know me and my cookbooks. Nigella, Jamie, Rick, Delia, Nigel and Diana and I are all on first name terms – amongst others. So far Yottam and I only have a nodding acquaintance but I’m hoping to further that relationship. The title gets me on this one and the idea of a dairy-free mac cheese? I don’t understand the science of that either. And you say it tastes like cheese? Amazing.

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    1. Hi, Jo – I had first heard about vegan Mac and Cheese on Nancy’s blog (Defining Third Age). At that time, I was incredibly skeptical of such a dish and thought, why not eat ‘real’ mac and cheese instead? 😀 When I came across this recipe again in HNTD, I knew that I had to try it. I am still amazed at how much it tasted like dairy-based cheese. (If I had not been alone in the kitchen, I would have thought that someone had snuck dairy into it). And to prove that it was not merely a lack of taste buds on my part, when I got home from my class today, Richard had eaten all of the Mac and Cheese leftovers!
      BTW – I am still completely jealous of your relationship with Nigella!

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      1. We are avid gardeners; I process (can,freeze or pickle) endlessly in the summer. We farm gate beef and pork (right from the producer). We make our own sausages. We eat out perhaps 4 times a year as we both prefer to cook and it’s so much cheaper and tastier at home. We try the odd plant based meal and usually end up saying “that would taste good with chicken in it!” Next up is to find a local source for bulk chickens — we used to do that as well. So the long part of this is to say that we eat well with a meat based diet. We are both 60 with no cholesterol or high blood pressure issues. I doubt very much that we will change our habits although we try to support the pulse growers as well and have some meatless meals. I think it’s all about cooking fresh. Now I need to quite reading and go create a huge roaster of cream cheese tomato soup.
        Bernie

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      2. Hi, Bernie – Thank you so much for stopping by. I greatly admire when someone has a healthy- balanced-tasty-fun approach to eating. It sounds like you have that exactly. And only four restaurant visits in twelve months’ time? That’s impressive! Your Cream Cheese Tomato Soup sounds delicious!

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  18. I so enjoyed reading about the fruits of your labor and experimentation!

    I personally love trying to eat a more plant based diet. In fact my dinner last night was very simple: a mixed color quinoa topped with sautéed and broccoli and purple cauliflower. I added grass fed butter for flavor – I’m not a saint 😄

    I judge you not for basmati rice – a good friend who lived in India and studied with an Ayurvedic master said that white basmati is preferred and that is what she would serve at her retreats! I became quite fond of its light fluffy texture, and it always seems to turn out quite well!

    You are always full of helpful, healthy living tips , and I am grateful recipient of all of this information!

    I think my favorite dish to try first would be the gluten free spinach noodles with the lentil Bolognese topping. I might satisfy a carb craving with this dish.

    Thanks for sharing with us, Donna, I enjoyed every epicurean moment, and like you I am not vegan or vegetarian but I do like eating healthy!

    Susan Grace

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  19. Hi, Susan – I love your friend’s opinion about white basmati rice. I totally agree that it usually turns out light and fluffy regardless of how it is cooked. As a general rule, there is also less concern about arsenic traces found in this form of rice (as compared to other types of rice – especially brown).
    Your comment also reminded me of my absolute favourite scene in Julia and Julia. I can’t resist including it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czOgJJqehv0.

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    1. Donna:

      I loved that clip from the movie Julia and Julia which I’ve never seen. Yep, that’s me – I definitely love butter and do partake of it in moderation, but I’m not afraid of it either. Kerry Gold is always in my refrigerator!

      Susan Grace

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  20. I never open a cookbook from one month to the next these days Donna. I tend to cook fairly simply and if I need a recipe I just use good old Google. I’m glad you found a book to inspire you – and if I ever remotely consider going vegan I’ll definitely keep it in mind because your pics look delicious.

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    1. Thanks, Leanne – I had not been one to follow a cookbook, so this relationship is new to me. It could be a honeymoon stage, but I am very much enjoying it. I don’t see Richard or I ever being full-time vegans or vegetarians. We will likely continue to keep a balance in our diets. Thank you so much for stopping by – especially when you’ve been in the middle of responding to MLSTL posts. It is greatly appreciated!

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  21. How interesting Donna! I am very impressed with your review and sharing your endeavours with us. I was a bit worried when I read your title but I get it now! I’m not that into cooking but the variety and ease of your new found favourite recipe book sounds ideal, and the ability to experiment with new foods is a great way to extend your diet! Well done 🙂

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    1. Thanks, Deb – I’m not sure that I would personally use the term ‘ease’ for this style of cooking — at least not yet. But it has been fabulous for pushing me out of my comfort zone, encouraging me to experiment while answering many of my nutrition questions. I’ll let you know how the journey continues from here.

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      1. Yes, it’s totally annoying! 😀 If I hadn’t been paying close attention when emptying my spam folder, I would have missed out on finding your site. I’m so happy that I found it.
        I look forward to doing more virtual travel there!

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  22. I’ve enjoyed trying new healthier recipes lately, mostly things I can prep on Sunday for my lunches throughout the week. If your photos are any indication, I bet I could find some good ones in here. Thanks for sharing, Donna! Bon appetit!

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  23. My husband and I have recently become vegetarians, and he is lactose intolerant. Sounds like a book we should check out. Lovely food pictures. I, too, have a food processor, and if anyone tried to take it away, I would rap them on the knuckles with a wooden spoon. 😉

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  24. Alberta-based Jean Pare’s Company’s Coming cookbooks are my favorites. She also has meatless & vegetable cookbooks. I read cookbooks and love to cook and eat. I”m not sure what order to put that in! I enjoy a meatless meal now and then. My young cousin lived with me for awhile. She was an adventurous eater. I had prepared a vegetarian tikka masala naan pizza. I asked her if her dad would eat this, to which she replied, “Once.” I’m opposed to calling food other than what it is, i.e. don’t call an almond drink “milk” or spiralized (?) zucchini “spaghetti”. A favorite meatless recipe is a tortellini soup with chopped spinach, kidney beans. I could go on and on about cooking and recipes so I will stop now.

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    1. Hi, Mona – I believe that last year you shared with me your recipe for vegetarian tikka masala naan pizza. It was excellent. I also love the sounds of your tortellini soup. I agree that plant-based cooking is quite distinct from its counterparts and should be called what it is. I’m okay with ‘zucchini noodles’ — but calling this just noodles simply leads to confusion…and unrealistic expectations! 😀

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  25. Hi, Donna,
    I’m one of those guys that loves to cook but, like Antoinette above, I have passed on the quinoa trend, I do like cauliflower mashed potatoes though. Forgive me if I’m going off-topic, but my gourmet meatloaf (no oats) is a real crowd pleaser, and my Southern Seafood Gumbo is my most requested recipe. My favorite cookbooks are somewhat off-beat—“Beer Can Chicken – 100 Ways” and ‘If You Didn’t Want Grits, Why Did You Order Breakfast?” It’s the south in me I suppose. I will try Black Bean Burgers. Love the comments above. You have a great group of followers. Joe

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    1. Hi, Joe – I’m impressed with your dishes that you described here. I completely agree with Antoinette that whole foods made with love (and culture) are the best. I had made a black bean burger from this book but forgot to include the photo and blurb — too bad, it was my best shot!

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  26. Captivating title, Donna. Your heading photo is beautiful and perfect. Memory flashback, Donna, on “The Best of Bridge.” I have a favourite, very old Harrowsmith cookbook. Some of the recipes I now tweak such as substituting coconut oil.

    Major funny phrase, “or even that I exist.”

    Great, realistic review on the book. I appreciate a food coach. I often look online for recipes, although I do appreciate a great cookbook. They become part of the family, including the stains and sticky pages. Great post and photos!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Erica – Thank you for your kind comment (as always)! The opening photo is from Unsplash. I thought it was just perfect, as I was trying to keep the title ambiguous until people read more. The Best of Bridge is still the favourite cookbook of many of my Vancouver Island friends. I remain jealous of that relationship. I picked up a few of the books in the Best of Bridge series but couldn’t connect with them as my friends do (sigh!).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t think I have opened a Best of Bridge in 20 years. The books were well used before then. Your post was also entertaining and witty, Donna 🙂 Fun to read!

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  27. I’ve been a vegetarian for about 35 years so I have a tried and tested repertoire, which I admit can get a bit boring. I do have a collection of cookbooks, many of the early ones being rather worthy, but haven’t added to them for a while. Like others, I tend to search online if I want a new recipe. If I followed my principles to their logical conclusion, I would be a vegan. But cheese! And I’m a lazy vegetarian so I can’t see me spending lots of time grinding carrots.

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    1. Hi, Anabel – I love tried and true recipes and signature dishes. I am hoping that a few of the dishes in this cookbook make it to that status — especially the ones that can be prepared more quickly. Fingers crossed!
      BTW – I don’t think that you are lazy at all – you are busy enjoying life!

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  28. Oh my goodness! For several years I’ve been trying to go more Vegan. I’m just like you though, I sometimes (often) do a partial vegan thing where I make most of the recipe the way it’s written and then use real cheese. I figure it’s close enough. I am definitely getting this cookbook. I need to call my Indie bookstore owner to order it for me.

    I like the Thug cookbooks, if you haven’t tried them check one out at your local library first…the language may offend you, so look before you buy. There’s the original book (Thug Kitchen) and then the one I use more often is the Thug Kitchen 101 because the recipes are a little bit less complicated. In reality I have one or two favorites in each book. I also do Oh She Glows…the eggplant parm is to die for, and I use the associated marinara sauce all the time for lots of stuff. If you want I’ll just send you those recipes (I can copy and mail you a hard copy if you email me at dawnkinster@gmail.com) v.s. buying the whole book. Could do that for Thug too if you like.

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    1. Dawn – you are an absolute rock star! I love when minds think alike — and when others encourage and inspire (like you are doing). Another commenter praised Oh She Glows – so I would love a sneak preview of a couple of those recipes — as well as a couple of the Thug ones (language never offends me). In return, I would be delighted to send you a couple
      from How Not to Die. Let me know which ones (or which types) you would like. Many of the basic How Not to Die recipes can be views on line at Dr. Greger’s Nutrition Facts site: https://nutritionfacts.org/recipes/. Also if you haven’t yet, check out the recipes at Forks Over Knives. https://www.forksoverknives.com/recipes/popular-healthy-vegan-plant-based-recipes-2018/#gs.bssnpa
      My email address is: retirementreflections@gmail.com.

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    1. Hi, Robert – Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Trying to address my husband’s health issues has lead me to a vegan diet. On his own, he’d be happily joining you for fried chicken with extra gravy. We are not full-time vegans but do predominantly eat vegan meals when at home. We are finding that this is making a (surprisingly) positive difference.

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  29. OMG, Donna, this will teach me not to wait this long to read your delightful post (I’m in paper grading hell)! Hans has been diagnosed with elevated BP so we need to look into more plant based foods. Easy for me but for the tri-tip cooking, bratwurst loving German? Ha! He is open-minded, at least he enjoys cooking fish and chicken, and yes, he does most of the cooking. Thanks for sharing your tips and reviews, and once again, your pics look fab!

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    1. Hi, Terri – I’m sorry to hear about Han’s elevated blood pressure. In the last couple of years in Beijing, as well as our first three years of retirement, Richard’s blood pressure was also high. The advice (that we hear again and again) was: eat healthy foods, use less salt, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, drink less alcohol, manage stress and quit smoking. Richard has never smoked, and we thought we were doing everything else on the list (at least mostly). Last February, I began only cooking vegetarian meals in the home. The results were astounding. Not only did Richard’s high BP disappear, so did his high cholesterol. I quickly became a believer!
      I can’t think of a better healthy-living coach than you, so I know that Hans is in great hands! Sending warm thoughts your way.

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  30. Hi Donna! What a provocative title to a book. A bit presumptuous IMHO but it does get you to notice it for sure. I’m not vegan or vegetarian but like you we are doing much better on becoming more plant based as the years go by. pWe have HEAVILY increased the greens in our lives and so far that is keeping our bloodwork near perfect–so beyond that we strive for moderation. Still, having a few good tasting vegetarian recipes at hand is always good. And I saw that picture of the veggie pizza you posted on FB. The veggie cauliflower pizza from Costco is my FAVORITE pizza ever! ~Kath

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    1. Hi, Kathy – I agree that it is a highly provocative title. It certainly does command attention. The good news is that I’ve found this book to be very informative and inspiring. It’s definitely helped streamline my attempts at healthy cooking — without me wildly guessing. Sounds like you and Tom have a healthy eating system in place – that’s what Richard and I are aspiring to!

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  31. I used to collect cookbooks Donna however when we downsized I had to give many away. I’m definitely one to cook healthy meals so thank you for introducing me to a new book which is focused on plant based cooking. Mike and I won’t be giving up meat entirely but we have cut back and I’m always on the look out for new meatless recipes that are easy and tasty to make. Love all the dishes you’ve tried and you have inspired me. x

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  32. Hi, Sue – Thanks so much for dropping by. Richard and I are not vegan/vegetarian either, but we are trying to ramp up our healthy eating as well as our environmental awareness of what we consume. I’ve found Dr. Greger’s book and website (nutritionfacts.org) to be a wealth of information and inspiration. In addition, other friends/bloggers have been sharing their favourite plant-based recipes, which has been wonderful. (This is such an amazing and generous community). Tonight Richard and I tried Deb’s (The Widow Badass) Red Lentil Curry. It was delicious…as well as filled with healthy ingredients. Earlier today, Dawn (Change in Hard) also sent me a bunch of vegan recipes, which I can’t wait to try (including a taco recipe which honestly had me drooling). I’ll keep you posted on how this adventure unfolds!

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  33. I love all the excitement and discussion around this post. Your meals look delicious, even the slightly soggy meatloaf…all things are edible with gravy!! We as in I have begun sneaking in veggies in unexpected places lately. Sometimes PC doesn’t notice but he picked up on the carrots and mushrooms in the meatloaf right away. And will I make it again with carrots and mushrooms? You betcha!

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    1. Hi, Leslie – Thank you so much for stopping by. I have a friend who used to grind vegetables as finely as possible to hide them in unsuspecting places (like meatloaf). She claims that her family never knew the difference, so it was a win-win! Richard and I have been on a bit of a curry streak lately. Fellow bloggers have been very generous in sharing their favourite plant-based recipes. These recipes have been very fun to try.
      I’m glad that you are standing firm on continuing to add carrots and mushrooms to your meatloaf! 😀

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  34. Never heard of the book. Unlike you and several of your other readers, I’d buy it JUST for the title. 🙂 Gimmicky maybe, but sometimes we need to wake people up to get their attention. Your post got my attention! I’m going to share it with several of my friends who are gluten-free and/or trying to eat more healthily. I think perhaps the recipes work because you’re willing to add a little bit of ‘not-in-the-recipe’ stuff (like the um shredded yellow stuff) to ease into the health.

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    1. Hi, Pam – Once again, I like how you think. You are absolutely right. Sometimes, we do need a loud wake-up call to get our attention. The recipes in this cookbook are not officially gluten-free but are very easy to convert to GF (we eat GL due to Richard’s arthritis). Thank you for sharing this post with your friends. Along with the recipes in this post, I have also made the veggie burgers and the roasted vegetable lasagna from this book. I highly recommend HNTD to anyone trying to eat a healthier diet — especially those who, like me, want to ensure that they do not miss out on essential nutrients along the way.

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  35. One of my favorite plant based cookbooks is a slight book put out by the Gratitude restaurant which we enjoyed when visiting San Francisco. The restaurant has closed but the book is still a great one, especially the cold coconut soup and desserts.

    The terminology of plant based is definitely more palatable than calling oneself vegetarian or vegan, which inevitably gets some people to point to those occasional times when one errs on the side of meat based dishes. As someone who has dealt with breast cancer and made the switch to a 90% plant based diet, I am thrilled that we have moved over the last twenty years from meat substitute type of plant based foods (seitan etc) to real creative food preparation which are not pitched as meat immitators, but are dishes in their own right.

    I recommend Gabriel Cousens’ book the Rainbow Diet and Matthew Kinney’s book which I can’t remember the name of but it takes plant based meals to a whole new level of gastronomic excellence. More work and time, but worth the effort.

    Peta

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    1. Hi, Peta – Thank you so much for commenting, and for the recommendations. I will take a look for both of those books. I agree that plant-based foods are often best when catering to their own uniqueness (and not imitating meat/dairy). I also agree that they can be a bit more work to prepare — but totally worth it!

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  36. Hi Donna,
    Dr. Greger is one of my heroes as he is a purveyor of actual, peer-reviewed science. I have the How Not to Die cookbook as well, but haven’t followed any of the recipes there yet. I am more on board with his Daily Dozen and work those into my own recipes and creations.
    I made a “Football Sunday” bunch of food yesterday for Dan, including a vegan 7 layer dip, stuffed mushrooms, AND, yes, Mac n Cheese, (without the cheese.)
    I don’t feel deprived and I know that we are eating better.
    The hardest thing for us is to eliminate oils. I read about them today again and know I should do it…
    Whole Food Plant Based all the way, baby!

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    1. Hi, Nancy – Your ‘Football Sunday Feast’ sounds great! Richard and I have taken a middle of the road approach to our eating (plant-based at home, and then whatever fits best when we are out). We figure this gives us an 80-20 approach to plant-based eating. Although we thought that we ate a fairly healthy diet before, we have already begun to notice a positive difference. And as you have mentioned, we never feel deprived (at least not so far). 😀

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