The Advantages Of A Plant-Based Diet (Healthy Hollywood)

Natalie Portman attends the New York City Ballet 2013 Fall Gala at David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center on September 19, 2013 in New York City Natalie Portman attends the New York City Ballet 2013 Fall Gala at David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center on September 19, 2013 in New York City

Healthy Hollywood had the most amazing invitation to attend the North American Plant-Based Nutrition Conference in Naples, Florida. I spent this past weekend listening and learning from some of the brightest, most inspiring doctors on the planet.

Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn (the man who got President Clinton to go vegan!) spoke on reversing heart disease, Thomas Campbell, who co-wrote the best-selling “The China Study,” gave an incredible lecture on the top nutrition tips and one of my new favorite wellness gurus, Dr. William Li, got my attention with his talk on reducing chronic disease.

These are just a few of the wellness rock stars I got the opportunity to meet and interview.

“Our goal is to reach the leaders of the healthcare-physicians with information, an educational platform, and resources that will translate into changed patient lives, families, and children,” reveals Dr. Scott Stoll, who co-founded the conference.

Thanks to ex-Presidents, celebrities like Natalie Portman (pictured) and Russell Brand, along with numerous books and documentaries, like “Forks Over Knives,” we’re all starting to hear the message that a plant-based diet is where it’s at. That means eating lots of greens, beans, legumes, whole grains, fruits – and saying farewell to meat and processed foods.

Hey, it might just do your mind & body some major good. After all, it’s been shown a plant-based diet improves energy level, sheds extra pounds and even improves your sex life. Perhaps, its greatest benefit is that these foods can actually prevent and reverse a number of chronic diseases from cancer to diabetes to heart disease to name just a few!

“A plant-based diet also detoxifies the body naturally, helps shed unwanted body fat by cutting off the blood supply to fat cells and normalizes gut health while never leaving people feeling hungry, deprived or addicted,” adds to Dr. Stoll to Healthy Hollywood.

Healthy Hollywood can’t wait to share some of the health-enhancing tips I learned in the next few weeks. And, if you think plant-based food is boring, bland or otherwise yuck — think again! I ate the tastiest dishes at this conference and never thought about steak or fish once!

Here are a few recipes to try. You and your close friends and family might just get inspired to cook up vegetarian/vegan meals on more days than just Meatless Mondays.

Layered Mexican Casserole

Layer the following in a 9 x 13 dish:

  • 2 cups mashed black or pinto beans (no-sodium canned or soaked)
  • 2 cups cooked bulgur wheat or brown rice
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped olives
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/8 cup chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped kale or collard greens
  • 1 cup organic cheese, soy cheese or cheese alternative

Top with chopped wheat tortillas and I cup shredded cheese. For a dairy-free casserole, sprinkle top with 2 tbsp. of nutritional yeast. Put in oven to melt and warm.

Vegetable Stir-Fry

The Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup Bragg Liquid Aminos
  • 1/4 cup fresh ginger root
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp. date paste
  • 2 tbsp. fresh dill
  • 1 tbsp. agar (or other thickening agent)

Combine in a small pot and heat through. To complete the recipe, put 4 sliced carrots, one bunch sliced scallions, and ¼ cup sauce in large saucepan. Cook for 5 minutes.

Then add whatever is in your fridge! I like to add 1 to 2 cups sliced red cabbage, 1/2 a red, orange and/or yellow pepper, 2 cups broccoli florets, 1/2 cup each soy beans, snow peas, green peas, green beans, and 1/2 bunch asparagus cut into small pieces. Sometimes I add cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, or water creative. Get creative!

Cover and cook on low heat until vegetables are bright in color. Do not boil or overcook; you want veggies to be crisp, not mushy.

Pour onto a serving platter and pour remaining sauce on veggies. You can serve this with rice or a pasta.

For more on Dr. Stoll and his plant-based teams’ goals, check out www.totalhealthimmersions.com.

-- Terri MacLeod

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