Finding delicious plant-based meals in this historic city
Eating vegan in Bordeaux is easier than ever before. Not only are there vegan-only and vegetarian-only restaurants, being a diverse, cosmopolitan city, there are numerous international restaurants and cafes. Join me on a vegan journey to Bordeaux in today’s Food for Thought podcast episode!
Resources Mentioned in this Podcast
Ecoles de Vin — for the least expensive glass of wine you’ll ever drink!
Da Bartolo Osteria Pizzeria — great pizza marinara!
Those who already know the health, ethical, and environmental benefits of a whole foods plant-based diet also know the economical advantages as well.
For years, it has been my pleasure to give people the tools and resources they need to eat healthfully and compassionately – affordably. And by “affordably,” I’m not talking about eating cheap food.
Cost goes well beyond dollars and sense, and eating healthfully affordably means considering all the costs of our consumption – costs to our health, to the Earth, to the people who produce it, to the animals, and to our spirits.
Eat at home.
People often complain that they don’t have time to eat and cook healthfully, but if we were really honest, we’d realize that it’s not that we don’t have the time; it’s that we don’t make the effort.
If we have the time to pack the family into the car, drive to a restaurant, wait for a table, decide what to order, wait for the food, pay the bill, and drive back home, then we have time to chop some vegetables and make a delicious, inexpensive meal at home.
Be a savvy shopper.
Instead of looking only at the retail price for items in the grocery store, look at the unit price. The “unit price” tells you the cost per pound, quart, or other unit of weight or volume of a food package and is usually posted on the shelf below the food.
Instead of paying for brand names and packaging, buy your dried foods from the bulk bins, including pasta, grains, flour, oatmeal, lentils, beans, even herbs and spices. Fill them up in containers and bags you bring from home.
Cook from scratch.
Not only is it less expensive to cook using food from the bulk bins, such as beans and lentils, but when it comes to baking, nothing beats starting from scratch – both in terms of taste and cost.
For instance, one batch of a dozen Drop Biscuits from my cookbook The Joy of Vegan Baking costs about $1.15; that’s $.10 per biscuit. This goes for any baked good – especially those made without dairy or eggs. When you buy cake mixes in a box, you pay a lot of money for what is essentially just flour, sugar, and baking powder.
Choose nutrient-dense foods.
Get the most bang for your monetary buck and your nutritional buck. When we eat “empty calories” (foods and beverages that have the same energy content of any other calorie but devoid of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, amino acids, and fiber), we spend precious calories (and dollars) and receive no benefit in return. So in terms of cost-savings, consider nutrient-density the goal.
We should never decide what to have for dinner at dinnertime. Knowing the night before – or at least that morning – and preparing in advance prevents us from making unhealthful and expensive choices when we’re already hungry. Planning ahead when we shop is also helpful so that we buy just what we need for the meals we’ve planned instead of falling victim to impulse or empty-calorie purchases.
Also, bringing healthful snacks when we hit the road ensures that we’ll be covered when hunger hits. Vending machines rely on our not having planned ahead, so make some snacks ahead of time and bring them along.
These are just some ways to increase our savings as well as our health. After all, if we don’t have time to be sick, we need to make time to be healthy.
I’d like to give turmeric some love. As you already know, it’s been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties, but that’s really just the beginning.
It has been shown to have anti-tumor effects, inhibiting the growth and spread of cancer cells
It’s been shown to improve brain function and reduce the risk of cognitive decline
It’s been shown to have a positive effect on heart health, reducing the risk of heart disease and improving cardiovascular function, and so much more!
For years, I’ve been incorporating turmeric into my daily diet, but as I focus on healing my broken ankle bone, I’m upping my turmeric game — both in terms of consuming more of it, yes, but also (mainly) in terms of increasing its bioavailability — in other words…increasing my body’s absorption and use of it.
Increasing turmeric’s bioavailability
Turmeric’s active compound, curcumin, has low bioavailability. It’s considered hydrophobic, meaning it doesn’t mix well with water. In other words, it’s quickly metabolized by the liver and excreted from the body.
That’s not what we want. Not only do we want to CONSUME the nutrients that make us thrive and heal; we also want our bodies to be able to ABSORB and USE them. Otherwise, we’re not getting the full potential of the healthy plant foods we’re eating.
Fortunately, there are two significant ways to increase the absorption of curcumin:
Black pepper — black pepper contains piperine, a compound that can increase the absorption of curcumin by up to 2,000%!!
Fat — curcumin is fat-soluble, which means it should be eaten with a source of healthy fat, such as coconut milk, almond butter, or avocado.
It’s not that I wasn’t doing this before, and it’s not that I’m not using NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) for pain management and inflammation reduction, but I’ve definitely made some adjustments:
I’ve increased my intake of turmeric.
I’m consuming turmeric with fat and black pepper.
Prior to breaking my ankle, I was trying to eat 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric a day, but while I’m focusing on healing this break, I’m eating about a teaspoon a day. That’s specifically because its anti-inflammatory properties reduces my pain, promotes faster healing, and supports my immune system, which of course is also critical for overall health.
And let me emphasize that I eat only ground turmeric (or freshly grated turmeric root) — not a curcumin supplement. Curcumin is just ONE of the many healthful compounds of turmeric. The magic of whole plant foods is that all of the components work together to create the beneficial effect. Isolating one nutrient means missing out on the combination.
Here are some ways you can incorporate turmeric into your diet:
Golden milk latte: Mix turmeric powder with plant-based milk, black pepper, and a touch of maple syrup for a warm and comforting drink.
Tofu scramble: Sprinkle turmeric powder on scrambled tofu, and add black pepper for an extra boost. (Enjoy my recipe for classic Tofu Scramble!)
Turmeric hummus: Mix turmeric powder with chickpeas, tahini, garlic, and lemon juice to make a flavorful dip, and add a little bit of olive oil for a creamy texture.
Turmeric grains: Mix turmeric powder with brown rice or quinoa, and add a tablespoon of coconut oil or coconut milk to make it more flavorful and bioavailable.
Turmeric roasted chickpeas: Toss chickpeas with turmeric powder and a pinch of black pepper, and bake them until they’re crispy for a healthy snack.(Check out my Crispy Chipotle Chickpeas recipe; add turmeric to the other delicious spices I recommend!)
Turmeric salad dressing: Mix turmeric powder with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, mustard, and a touch of maple syrup for a tangy and flavorful salad dressing.
Turmeric lentil soup: Add turmeric powder to a lentil or bean soup, and add a little bit of coconut milk for a creamy texture and / or oil to increase bioavailability.
Turmeric smoothie: Add turmeric powder to a smoothie with almond milk, banana, and a little bit of black pepper for extra absorption.
Turmeric salad dressing: Mix turmeric powder with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and agave nectar for a tasty and healthy salad dressing.
Roasted veggies: Add turmeric powder to roasted vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, carrots, and cauliflower, and drizzle them with a little bit of olive oil for healthy fat.
I recently broke my ankle (ouch!), but I’m not letting that stop me from healing as joyfully and deliciously as possible. Inspired by my best friend who broke BOTH HER ANKLES at the same time, I’m documenting the nutrient-dense meals I’m eating with a focus on bone-healing nutrients.
And we’re starting with this 𝑻𝑶𝑭𝑼 𝑺𝑪𝑹𝑨𝑴𝑩𝑳𝑬 with bell peppers, carrots, red onion, spinach, turmeric, and avocado!
First up, we’ve got TOFU, which is a total powerhouse of plant-based protein and minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc, all of which support my 𝒃𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒉𝒆𝒂𝒍𝒕𝒉 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒓𝒆𝒄𝒐𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒚.
BELL PEPPERS AND CARROTS
Then, we’ve got BELL PEPPERS and CARROTS, loaded with vitamins A and C, which are essential for 𝒃𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒉𝒆𝒂𝒍𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒔𝒕𝒓𝒆𝒏𝒈𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒏𝒊𝒏𝒈. Plus, they help produce collagen, which is crucial for 𝒇𝒊𝒙𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒅𝒂𝒎𝒂𝒈𝒆𝒅 𝒃𝒐𝒏𝒆𝒔 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒕𝒊𝒔𝒔𝒖𝒆𝒔.
Next up, we’ve got RED ONIONS, packing a punch of flavonoids and quercetin, which have 𝒂𝒏𝒕𝒊-𝒊𝒏𝒇𝒍𝒂𝒎𝒎𝒂𝒕𝒐𝒓𝒚 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒂𝒏𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒙𝒊𝒅𝒂𝒏𝒕 𝒑𝒓𝒐𝒑𝒆𝒓𝒕𝒊𝒆𝒔.
Translation: they’re gonna help 𝒓𝒆𝒅𝒖𝒄𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒔𝒘𝒆𝒍𝒍𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒑𝒂𝒊𝒏 in my ankle and keep me feeling good overall.
Spinach is a fantastic source of vitamin K, which is essential for bone health and helps with the absorption of calcium. It’s also packed with other vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, and magnesium.
TURMERIC is the next superstar ingredient, with its curcumin providing 𝒂𝒏𝒕𝒊-𝒊𝒏𝒇𝒍𝒂𝒎𝒎𝒂𝒕𝒐𝒓𝒚 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒂𝒏𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒙𝒊𝒅𝒂𝒏𝒕 𝒃𝒆𝒏𝒆𝒇𝒊𝒕𝒔 that help with inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which are major players in 𝒃𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒉𝒆𝒂𝒍𝒊𝒏𝒈.
And last but not least, we’ve got AVOCADO, with its healthy fats, vitamins K and C, and potassium, all supporting my 𝒃𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒉𝒆𝒂𝒍𝒕𝒉 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒎𝒂𝒌𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒅𝒊𝒔𝒉 𝒆𝒙𝒕𝒓𝒂 𝒄𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒎𝒚 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒅𝒆𝒍𝒊𝒄𝒊𝒐𝒖𝒔.
Tofu Scramble Recipe
Of course you can add whatever veggies, spices, or herbs you like! Here’s a nice basic nutrient-dense scramble! (More recipes in my library of On-Demand Cooking Classes; you get video demonstrations + printable recipes!)
2 tablespoons water or 1 tablespoon olive oil for sautéing
1 medium red onion chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 bell pepper (red, yellow, orange, or green), diced
2 carrots, chopped
16-ounce package firm or extra-firm tofu, drained and rinsed
1 cup raw spinach leaves, rinsed and patted dry
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Heat the water or oil in a sauté pan.
Add the onion and garlic, and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the peppers and carrots, and sauté for another few minutes, until the onions and peppers are tender.
Next, using your hands, crumble the tofu into the pan to create the consistency of coarse breadcrumbs, and stir to combine.
Add the spinach, turmeric, salt, and pepper, and sauté for about 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally until the tofu is a bright yellow color and thoroughly heated. Season to taste, and serve.
First and foremost, of course, is the fact that everything I teach is vegan, but after that, a world of possibilities awaits! I’m inspired by different cuisines and cultures, spices and flavors, textures and techniques, but mostly what I desire is to inspire someone to get into the kitchen to create food that will nurture, nourish, and delight.
Engaging the Senses
Cooking is a sensual experience in that all of our senses are engaged, and our experience of eating begins long before we start chewing — what a dish looks like, what the kitchen smells like, what a recipe is called, what a food sounds like during preparation or cooking, and what it feels like to touch it with our hands, our teeth, and our tongue. What memories are evoked.
I consider all of these factors when developing my recipes and crafting my classes, and the greatest gift for me is to know that one — even just one — of my recipes may become part of someone’s repertoire. That they will follow instructions I’ve carefully considered. That they will make culinary tweaks and tickles to adjust it to their liking. That they will enjoy the process as much as the result.
Join a Class in 2023
The first half of 2023 is scheduled out, and I hope you can join me. Click on each to book your spot, and enjoy a discount when you book more than one class. 𝐅𝐄𝐁𝐑𝐔𝐀𝐑𝐘: Cozy Colorful Soups (Purple Kale and White Bean Soup, Six Shades of Red Soup, Brazilian Black Bean Stew)
𝐉𝐔𝐍𝐄: Plant-based Food and Wine Pairings (Join me and my partner-in-wine (i.e. my husband) for this special class in which we provide a comprehensive lesson for the best red, white, and rose wines and the plant-based foods they pair with.) If you can’t decide, remember 𝐆𝐈𝐅𝐓 𝐂𝐀𝐑𝐃𝐒 are also available!
The classes are fun, interactive, and live in real-time! This means, I see you, you see all the other participants, and you see me cooking in my Oakland kitchen and answering your questions. What’s more: you receive all the recipes in advance of the class and a video recording of the class after it’s over.
What type of cooking classes or recipes are you looking for? Comment down below.
Abstaining from meat, dairy, and eggs during religious holidays has been a tradition for centuries in many religions. In Christianity, for example, during Lent (40 days prior to Easter) and Advent (40 days prior to Christmas), parishioners were forbidden to consume animal flesh as well as as dairy, cheese, and eggs.
In today’s episode, we explore this history and demonstrate that not eating animal products was more common than not, especially during the period of contemplation and contrition leading up to the holy days of Easter and Christmas. I share my own experience growing up Catholic, my memories of Fish Fridays, and the meaning of a common English word whose origins are steeped in religious abstinence.
Why a plant-based Seder beautifully reflects the values of this important Jewish holiday
A brief history of Passover
The story of Passover dates back over 3,000 years ago when the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt under the rule of the Pharaoh. Moses, who was raised as an Egyptian, learned of his true heritage and led the Israelites to freedom.
After enduring a series of plagues, including the death of all their firstborn, the Pharaoh finally relented and let the Israelites leave Egypt. They were in such a hurry to leave that they did not have time to let their bread rise, and instead made unleavened bread to take with them on their journey.
The Passover Seder, the ritual feast that begins the Passover holiday, includes a retelling of the Exodus story, using symbolic foods and rituals that represent the Jewish people’s journey to freedom. It is a time for families and communities to come together and share in the tradition, history, and values that have sustained the Jewish people for generations.
How the values of Passover and veganism align
Passover commemorates the Jewish people’s journey from slavery to freedom, and emphasizes the importance of treating others with dignity and respect.
Similarly, veganism seeks to minimize harm to animals and reduce exploitation in the food system, promoting compassion for all beings.
Both values highlight the importance of recognizing the inherent worth and value of all individuals, regardless of their species, background, or circumstances. Freedom from harm, liberation from enslavement, and hope for a better future are central values in both Passover and veganism.
Vegan Passover Seder menu
The Seder, which means “order,” is the traditional Passover meal that includes reading, drinking wine, telling stories, remembering history, eating special foods, singing, and other Passover traditions.
One significant practice of this holiday involves the removal of leavened foods commemorating the fact that the slaves fleeing Egypt did not have time to let their bread rise.
Matzo represents this unleavened bread and is used in many forms throughout the holiday — as crackers, as flour, as meal / bread crumbs, as bread.
Options for a vegan Passover menu abound, and you can find 11 delicious recipes in my specially curated RECIPE BUNDLE FOR A VEGAN PASSOVER. Enjoy these easy-to-make, eager-to-please recipes for:
Matzo Ball Soup
Borscht (Beet Soup)
Quinoa-Stuffed Bell Peppers
Roasted Beets and Fennel Bulbs with Fennel Oil
Matzo Pizza with Cashew Mozzarella
Mushroom Walnut Pâté
Matzo Chocolate Brittle
Flourless Chocolate Tart
Most of the ingredients in these recipes are whole plant foods, some of them call for store-bought ingredients, such as olive oil or balsamic vinegar. If you are keeping kosher for Passover, just double-check your commercially bought ingredients before using.
I included ingredients that you should have no problem finding certified kosher, but depending on how observant you or your host and their guests are, you’ll want to double-check if they’re labeled “kosher for Passover.”
Your best bet is to check a kosher grocery store, the kosher section of a larger grocery, or one of the many online stores that carry kosher products, especially if they come from Israel!
The six symbolic foods on the Seder plate play an important role, since they’re used to recount the story of the exodus and convey the elements of the powerful message of Passover: that freedom is possible, that slavery can end, and that the future can be better than the past.
Many plant foods are already traditionally part of the Seder plate, namely:
Charoset, which represents the mortar that Jews worked with when they were enslaved by the Egyptians. Ashkenazi Jews typically make charoset with apples, walnuts, cinnamon, and wine; Sephardic Jews often use figs and dates. Also delicious.
Bitter herbs, which symbolize the bitterness and harshness of slavery. This is often represented with horseradish.
Additional bitter herbs, such as romaine lettuce or endive, have the same effect.
A green vegetable, such as parsley, which represents new life, is dipped in salt water, signifying the tears of the slaves.
A couple animal products are also used as symbols, namely a boiled egg to symbolize new life and a shank bone to represent the lamb who was offered for sacrifice, but non-animal alternatives are widely accepted:
The most common vegan substitute for the shank bone is a roasted beet, whose “bloody” appearance is used to represent the blood of the sacrificial lambs. Beets are referenced as a Passover Seder option in the Talmud.
While the egg doesn’t have the same kind of long-established traditional substitute, there are a few different options used by Jewish vegans in its place:
something egg-shaped — like a plastic or wooden egg, or even a smooth rock
seeds, because they symbolize and hold the potential for new life, can be used in place of an egg. An avocado pit is used by many because it is a seed and it somewhat resembles the shape of the egg it is replacing.
the type of eggplant that is round and white is a great substitute; it even looks like an egg.
rice, being outside of the category for grains forbidden to eat at Passover, was another vegetarian Seder option given in the Talmud.
Pick the one that resonates with you and take heart in the fact that a vegan Seder is not only traditional in its own right, it reflects the principles of freedom and mercy that signify this holiday.
In this special episode, my travel business partner Brighde Reed (of World Vegan Travel) and I chat with some of the travelers from our Tour of Tuscany trip. First airing on the World Vegan Travel Podcast, in this special conversation, we talk about food, culture, language, highlights, surprises, and recommendations. If you have been curious about our vegan tours or just want to bask in the wonders of Italy — especially from a traveler’s perspective, this is the episode for you.
Today is part two of our culinary tour of Italy — this time in Central Italy, characterized by rolling hills, agriculture, viticulture, and forests. In this episode, we cover the cuisines of Rome (Lazio), Abruzzo, le Marche, and Umbria. (Tuscany has its own separate episode coming up!)
Mastering homemade tofu (well, as much as a little grasshopper can master a 2,000-year-old practice) has been my highlight of 2020. It’s all the more exciting because I failed so many times, and when I realized what was hindering my success, it was like a dam breaking. I’ve never looked back and now make tofu successfully a couple times a week.
Is it worth making tofu at home? ABSOLUTELY!
Homemade tofu is so much less expensive than store-bought
Whether or not you join me in my upcoming live cooking class for making homemade tofu, I thought I would share with you the basic “equipment” needed to make your own tofu at home. As you’ll see, I mention a couple things you probably already have on hand, but there are some things that will be new to you.
Tools You’ll Need for Homemade Tofu
As for the tofu mold, I prefer a wooden tofu mold, which I’ve had for years, but when I looked for one to refer you to, I found it difficult to find one that wasn’t part of a tofu-making kit. However, considering the fact that the kits provide you with everything you need, it may be worth it in the end. The two kits I recommend are:
Because I wanted to ease you into the homemade tofu-making process, I also wanted to find an option for you to use a mold you may already have on hand without having to buy one just yet. While a “colander” would work (as some blogs suggest), you need more than just a colander…you need a colander/strainer that will also act as a mold (usually square but any shape will do). So, two options to consider:
A plastic tupperware container you punch / drill holes into the bottom of.
A small plastic basket — like those that strawberries come in. The fruit basket is actually the perfect size, and it creates / presses a pretty little design into the tofu block once it’s finished pressing.
Cheese Cloth: Whatever mold you use, you still need a cheesecloth, though, so just purchase some at a store near you, or buy some online; here’s one I like — it’s unbleached, you can cut it into whatever size you need, and you can wash it and use it again and again and again. And I do.
Nigari: As for the nigari, as I mentioned, it can be purchased in crystal or liquid form and can be found at most Japanese or Asian grocery stores, or you can order online here(in crystal form) or here (in liquid form). FULL DISCLOSURE: I’ve used only the crystalized nigari that I dilute in water, and while it comes in a plastic bag, the amount of plastic waste you avoid using by making your own tofu makes up for it a hundred fold. (For instance, 1 pound of crystallized nigari makes about 240 pounds of tofu!) HOWEVER, I *am* curious about using liquid nigari, and since the one I recommendcomes in a glass bottle, it would be even less plastic waste. I just haven’t tried it yet. What I use at the present time is nigari salts that I dissolve in water.
Kitchen / Candy Thermometer: I mention below that this is not required, but I like to know I’m at the right temperature when adding my coagulant, so I use a simple thermometer to do so. Here is the one I have.
The main thing I learned in terms of successfully making tofu was that the soy milk has to be made … from scratch. I mean…you definitely can’t use store-bought commercial soy milk and try to make tofu, but my failed attempts at making tofu also came from using soy milk I made in my favorite soy milk maker. I still use that soy milk maker just for making soy milk for daily use, but for making tofu, you have to do it without a machine.
Learn How to Make Tofu
There is a LIVE ONLINE COOKING CLASS coming up to teach you how to make tofu! REGISTER TODAY!
And let me know about your experience! I want to hear your comments and questions.