I Like You Berry Much.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I totally nerd-out for grocery shopping. Every time I do it I get to make so many choices – some planned, most on a whim, some based on old stand-bys and some by picking something up and saying “I have no idea what this is, but it looks neat!”

Today, a local market offered some incredible deals on seasonal produce. One of the best finds were these cartons of blackberries for only 50 CENTS each. I know! If you want to know why doing your best to eat seasonally is important, here is a great example – you can actually afford it.

These berries aren’t organic – and I know all of my current nutrition professors and classmates would be a tad bit disappointed in me because of that. And yes, buying organic is good for so many reasons, personal and environmental. But at the end of the day, snacking on these is a whole lot better than snacking on potato chips, so I’m going to eat ’em up.

Berries are obviously a healthy and nutritional food. Blueberries have been the stars of the show lately with their inclusion among “Superfoods”. (A Superfood is a whole food that packs an incredible amount of nutrition into it’s small food-like body. Many people swear by incorporating these into your meals, because in one “superfood” you can get as much nutrition as eating a whole array of other whole foods. Remember those Total Cereal commercials, where they would pile all kinds of insane foods into a bowl, and then say “Or you can get all of those nutrients in just one bowl of Total!” That’s the idea with superfoods.)

An easy health tip – the beautiful colors of berries also means they are full of good things! In most cases, the more colorful your food, the more packed full it is of healthy vitamins and minerals. So sweet red strawberries and dark purple blackberries aren’t just pretty, they’re going to make your body feel good. (A win-win, for sure!)

They are filled with great things your body loves, like Vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and potassium. One cup of strawberries has about as much vitamin C as a glass of orange juice – but whole fruits are better than juice because you get full from all of the fiber.

Plus, berries have something called “polyphenols”. You may have heard of these because they are also found in dark chocolate, tea and red wine. Yeah, the berries are certainly in good company. (Anyone want to have a Polyphenol Party? We can hang out and eat and drink all of these delicious things, than throw our heads back and laugh as our hearts get healthy!)  Polyphenols are plant compounds that are wonderful at keeping your heart healthy by acting as antioxidants! They also lower blood pressure and increase HDL (good cholesterol) in your body.

For my first cooking class, I made berry “mousse” desserts, which were a total hit. Essentially, these gorgeous beauties consisted of mixed berries, lemon juice and zest, some agave nectar, and silken tofu. So not only are they pretty as a picture, and not bad for you – they are actually GOOD for you! Don’t feel guilty about eating this dessert. It’s full of vitamins and protein. Oh yes.

So keep an eye out for berries! They taste amazing in pancakes, on salads, in desserts, or on their own when you’re watching Top Chef reruns.

Can Can.

Have you heard of Candida? I hadn’t until a few months ago.  Do you know it’s very common, and can give you symptoms like fatigue, gas and bloating, anxiety, muscle weakness, digestive problems, and acne (among many other things)?

Now that I’ve worried you akin to the nightly news saying YOU COULD DIE FROM THIS, STAY TUNED… Let me explain:

We all have yeast in our bodies. Usually, there is a harmonious balance of yeast and it helps to keep good and bad bacteria in check. However, when something upsets the bacteria the yeast goes out of control!

*If you’ve ever noticed that after a night of drinking beer your skin breaks out, this could be an effect of too much yeast! I originally looked into acne remedies and learned about Candida. I have to say, I don’t drink as often and when I do it’s usually wine – and my skin has been the healthiest and blemish-free it’s been in years!

Think about bread. When you make bread and add yeast, the bread puffs up and the yeast works quickly to spread throughout the bread. It does a similar thing in our bodies.

Taking antibiotics and birth control pills are two hugely common ways to get an overgrowth of yeast. (This is why many women find that after taking either of these, they develop a yeast infection.) But you can also continue to feed the yeast by consuming foods that feed it: sugar, dairy and white flour are at the top of the list.

What can you do if you have these persistent symptoms? Follow a nutritious diet. That means eliminating sugars and refined foods, and adding more fresh veggies and grains.  Many folks that have Candida overgrowth are also undernourished. Having a healthy body helps you get over many physical and mental troubles, so you can fight off these bad invaders!

The fastest way to get rid of Candida is to remove SUGAR. If you do nothing else, get rid of sugar! This is Candida’s favorite food.  For a more strict regimen, you can follow these suggestions:

-No sugar
-No alcohol
-No wheat
-No yeast
-No caffeine -No preservatives and additives
-No refined and processed foods
-No moldy foods
-No dairy
-Low in Carbohydrates

“Ok Jaime, then what the heck CAN I eat?” Well I’m glad you’ve asked. Some low-carb veggies will give you lots of fiber to flush everything out of your system. Examples are:

-green beans
(any green leafy vegetable is low in carbohydrates)
-green peppers


Here’s a video from a holistic nutritionist about why sugar can really hurt your health, and why eating less (ideally none) will make you feel better!

If you’d like to learn more about Candida, you can find multiple resources online and at the bookstore and library.  To sum up – eating whole foods will make you feel better!

Picnic-ing during a Recession

Due to recent events (not blog-related, but personally) I thought I may have to cancel my part in tomorrow’s picnic. I felt sick to my stomach and utterly heartbroken at the thought that is celebration Andrew and I have been planning for months would have to go on without me.

But! This means so much to me and I think it would be even more heartbreaking to abandon the idea altogether SO – I am still going to provide food for the event, just not as much as I had originally planned. I just wanted to put that out there in case anyone shows up tomorrow looking for a full-on Save the Kales! food spread (which was my intention), and will now find some between lunch-and-diner treats. I don’t want to let you or your stomachs down!

That said, if you are coming and would like to bring ANY dish (it does NOT have to be vegan), I encourage you to do so! I hope to see a bunch of you tomorrow!

🙂   (yeah, you get a smiley emoticon)

Nutritionists Know Something Doctors Don’t Know (Neener neener neeeeener!)

This morning I was flipping through the latest issue of VegNews magazine, and came to a segment in the Q&A section, Ask Laura, that resonated with me:

Dear Laura, My doctor is concerned that since I’ve given up meat, I might not get all the vitamins I need. What should I tell him?

Columnist Laura Hooper Beck replies:

First, I question a doctor who thinks meat is chock-full of vitamins. Have you checked this person’s diploma? You might want to make sure it’s not written in crayon on the back of a Chuck E. Cheese menu. That said, most doctors know as much about nutrition as Octomom knows about birth control. They understand the theory but not the application. My last doctor thought the reason I had a cold was because I wasn’t eating enough chicken wings. True story. Most doctors receive very little education about diet in general and know next to nothing about veganism. For advice that doesn’t involve a prescription for prime rib, seek out a trained professional, like a vegan-friendly registered dietician or nutritionist.

Why I mention this…

In this previous post, I talked about gaining a lot of weight in college due to following a vegan diet that lacked in actual nutrition because I had no money for groceries and a mediocre meal plan.

I went home one weekend to visit my family doctor to help understand why I was so unhealthy since “I don’t go to McDonalds all the time or anything!” I was naive enough to believe that eating a diet that contained no animal products automatically made it healthy.

I met with the doctor and explained to him that I don’t go out eating cheeseburgers and fried chicken all the time, and then said “I’m vegan*, so I feel like I eat better than most people.” To which my doctor replied, “What’s vegan?”

This was a man in his late 40’s or early 50’s, who had gone to med school and been a practicing family doctor for the past several decades. And I – 20 year old college junior – had been the first person in all of that time to spring the word VEGAN on him?!? WHAT!?

(*Before everyone gets all huffy and puffy, I was a strict vegan at this time, so I’M GOING TO USE THAT WORD, okie dokie? Please write if you need to check my references and credentials of my life between the years 2000-2005.)


I could not – and to this day, still can’t understand how someone in the medical profession didn’t know what “vegan” meant, or had never even heard the term. And, what do you think he told me when I said I didn’t eat animal products or byproducts? “Well, maybe you need to get more protein and dairy.”

Say it with me now: AHHHHHHHHFBHBGHDBHBDH!!!!!!!!

My point is this: Doctors do wonderful things and help many people. But they are NOT nutritionists. And unfortunately, many (not all, but many) simply don’t know enough/anything about plant-based diets. Many doctors and nurses only spend THREE CREDIT HOURS on nutrition while in school. THAT’S IT. Some institutions spend even less time on the subject.

For those of you considering a transition to a veg-diet, or even if you are looking to take better control of you health and you’d like to know more about eating larger amounts of whole, plant foods, I encourage you to talk to someone directly in the field of nutrition. There is a LOT to be said about vitamins, omega 3’s, toxic colons, dioxins and antioxidants, etc etc… and you’d do best to spend your time and money with someone that specializes in knowing all about these things.

That said, I am starting to acquire folks interested in being Case Studies for my nutrition program, so if any of you are interested in working with me, it’s a win-win for the both of us. Please contact me!

Turn That Frown Upside Down – Party Time

Friends and Readers (one in the same),

I am equally overwhelmed and humbled by your support and absolutely beautiful, candid responses to what was a very negative situation. Sometimes I forget that not everyone reacts to adversity with calm and understanding, and the events at the beginning of the week were difficult to comprehend. I don’t have much of a backbone, though I think if it can be said any good has come from this, it is that my backbone is strengthened and (don’t mind if I say) I’m even proud of myself for staying true to my morals of respect and open-mindedness.

There was a 48 hour period when I had contemplated shutting down the whole thing, feeling deeply disheartened that my attempt at doing something so good – and doing it with humility and vulnerability along the way – had been subject to so much harsh criticism.

BUT… I soon learned that anybody that’s ever done ANYTHING has faced opposition, critics and sometimes just plain mean ridicule. I tried to see the situation as what can be considered, perhaps, complimentary that my message is reaching enough people that’s even worthy of such a reaction. (They always say, the day you become a sketch on Saturday Night Live, you know you’ve “made it”.)

The mission of this blog – beyond cooking, beyond screenprints of corn and eggplants, past the rambling videos – is to put forth a message of living your truth, and doing it with compassion. It’s so easy for something like this to turn us hard, bitter, to make us want to quit. In the end, it’s simply not worth it. “You just can’t please everybody.” But it fills my heart to know I have pleased and even inspired so many of you.

“Thank you” is merely eight letters and cannot begin to convey how much your kindness has meant to me, but thank you. Thank you, thank you. Times a million.

And to help close the case in the most celebratory way…

THIS SUNDAY is the Save the Kales/Remember PICNIC IN THE PARK!

Here are full event details as per Andrew’s Blog, Remember:

“I have rented pavilion number three at Cedar Beach Parkway for this event. THIS IS A LINK FOR DIRECTIONS FROM ROUTE 22 TO THE PAVILION.

Now, the main event will be a Cook Off which I announced on here yesterday evening. Entries will be accepted from 2 until 2:45 with judging beginning at 3. After the winner is crowned, everyone eats!

Around 4:45, Jaime and I (more to come) will be giving short talks about sustainable eating and sustainable parks with a question and answer session.

Following that, local musician Joe Tkach will be playing an acoustic set.

And then, straight relaxing until the sun sets!

Bring Frisbees!, Bring Friends!, Bring Family!, Bring Dogs!

Most Importantly, Bring yourself!

Leave a comment or send me an email (andrewkleiner@gmail.com) if you want to bring food for the contest or help out in anyway.  There will be a lot needing to get done over the next week as the event approaches.

Jaime and I are really excited about this and this is promising to be the exact kind of day you will be remembering down the line.   We hope to see you there!”


To sum up:

  • FREE event! Family and pet friendly
  • Save the Kales! is providing several vegan dishes for tasty noshing
  • Sign up for the COOK OFF, or simply bring a dish for everyone to share
  • 3:00 judging of cook off entries
  • 4:45, Talks about sustainable eating/Local environmental efforts by me and Andrew
  • An acoustic set by the super-duper talented, Joe Tkach

We’ll say the unoffical “start” of the picnic is 2pm. We have the pavillion til dusk. You are welcome to come and go as you please – in the end, this is an excuse to get together with great people and spend a day outdoors. (We also like nature and eating, so we’re working those in too, of course.)

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, just ask me here or: savethekales@gmail.com

I’ll see you there and we will hug and high-five each other!