Since I wrote last, a LOT of events have taken place. We bought a house. Moved. Went swimming often in our new swimming pool. Moved into a new cancer center at work. My husband got a promotion and changed locations. My diet has altered a bit related to a couple different reasons (I’ll probably post on that a some point in the future). See? Many changes in the past couple months. With that being said, I’m hoping to bring you more recipes with more frequency as the next couple months roll in. Sound good? Hopefully you’ll be back for more!
One dish that I have made a few times already is this Pasta Primavera dish. My
new improved diet has been strongly based on plant sources–fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts/seeds, tubers and starchy vegetables. Yes, you read correctly. You didn’t miss it. I didn’t mention diary or meat, heck, not even healthy oils. My consumption of meat, dairy, and oils has gone way down. No, I’m not a vegan. Or as my sister says, “not yet”. But the focus of this diet lifestyle isn’t actually even vegan–it is whole, plant based foods. I’m not replacing my diary cheese for vegan cheese. I’m not using margarine instead of butter–nor would I ever. Those foods, and many other vegan specific foods, are still highly processed. Did you know that an Oreo cookie is actually vegan? Exactly–this demonstrates that a vegan diet isn’t necessarily a healthy one. That’s why this is better than vegan.
Why did I start doing this you might ask? For the sole purpose of my health. Okay, I do believe that animals should be treated more humanely–but that is another topic. The first reason being my high cholesterol. I’ve had cholesterol (and my twin, too) since we were kids. I can pretty vividly recall having my blood drawn for a cholesterol check when I was maybe 8? Those darn genes. Nothing seemed to budge my cholesterol lower. Not my healthy diet and not even my constant participation in sports. That was until this past year. I had labs drawn last fall and again this past spring. My cholesterol actually lowered. Not significantly, but about 14 points. That may not seem like a lot, but it is when my cholesterol had been the same +/- 1 point since I was a kid. What did I do differently during those few months between? Ate less meat. I don’t really recall why–just did. That was all I changed.
After that small drop, I started to do a lot of reading. I read Eat to Live by Dr. Fuhrman, The China Study by Colin T. Campbell, PhD, and watched the documentary Forks Over Knives. All three focused on a plant-based diet for risk reduction of heart disease, cancer, diabetes…the list goes on. So what did I do? What any normal nutrition nerd would do…try the diet myself! I admit that I haven’t followed the diet very strictly. For a while I just allowed myself one animal product each day and sometimes having two, but more recently it seems to be about 2-3 animal products per week (and in limited quantities). My doctor is aware that I am conducting my “own experiment” and she simply just laughs at it knowing that my dietitian self is very interested in new research regarding disease prevention. Even when that research is only my personal research.
When do I get my cholesterol checked again? In just a couple weeks! I am anxious to see the results. I’m really hoping to see an improvement in my numbers. *fingers crossed*
I’ll let you know when I get the results. In the mean time, you have to try this simple and delicious plant-based recipe! I admit that I was hesitant about the ground raw cashews to garnish the dish (like cashews were really going to replace the cheese, pu-lease). However, I was very pleasantly surprised and liked the added texture and flavor the cashews provided.
Go on. Just try it. I think you’ll be very impressed as well!
Let me know what you think!
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup corn, frozen or fresh
- 1 jalapeño pepper (optional)
- 1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 can (14.5 ounces), no salt added diced tomatoes
- 5 ounces kale
- 1, 26 ounce jar low-sodium pasta sauce
- 16 ounces 100% whole wheat/whole grain pasta
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, finely ground
- First, cook the whole grain pasta according to the directions on the package.
- While the noodles are cooking, begin making the sauce. In a large skillet, sauté the onion, garlic, and corn for 5 minutes on medium heat.
- Add the jalapeño (if desired), bell pepper, and kale to the skillet and cook for 3 minutes.
- Add the diced tomatoes and pasta sauce to the skillet and cook for another 5 minutes.
- While the sauce is finishing, use a food processor to finely crush the raw cashews.
- When the sauce is finished, ladle the sauce over the pasta and top with cashews.