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I stopped for a late lunch at the Living Well Bistro on my way home from visiting family in Oregon this past weekend.  This is a relatively new addition to the vegan restaurant listings for Portland, Oregon on Happy Cow.  The man at the counter said that the Bistro opened up about 8-9 months ago.  I’m ecstatic that I discovered it.  It’s located just inside the Adventist Medical Center.

As a health care provider who is constantly frustrated with the nutrient-poor food served in “typical” hospitals and nursing homes, I still can’t contain my enthusiasm about dining in a 100% Plant-Based restaurant inside a hospital.  Pinch me!  This gives me hope for the future of health care.

I looked on the Adventist Health website and found that the hospital also has a Garden Cafe, which “…embraces the Adventist position of practicing a vegetarian lifestyle to support the holistic nature of humankind. All food or beverages consumed should honor and glorify God and preserve the health of the body, mind and spirit.”

You can poke around this website to learn more about the Adventist Health Studies (AHS) at Loma Linda University.  AHS are “long-term studies exploring the links between lifestyle, diet, and disease among Seventh-day Adventists.”

I found out that, of the 96,000 AHS-2 study participants

  • 

8% are vegan
  • 28% are lacto-ovo vegetarian
  • 10% are pesco-vegetarian
  • 6% are semi-vegetarian (eating meat/fish less than once per week)
  • 48% are non-vegetarian.

So how do those numbers compare to the U.S. general public?

According to the 2011 Harris Interactive survey (conducted on behalf of the Vegetarian Resource Group)…

  • 5% are vegetarian
  • Half of the vegetarians are vegan (2 1/2%)

That’s quite a difference.  Those numbers are WAY too low!  No wonder that the Adventist Health studies provide so much information on the benefits of plant-based eating.

Now…let’s enter the Living Well Bistro…

The Living Well Bistro Menu features breakfast items, appetizers, soups, salads, whole grain bread, flax crackers, tacos, live pasta, naan pizzas (with Daiya vegan cheese), rice/quinoa bowls, wraps, desserts, smoothies, and other beverages:  A vegan’s dream come true!

On one side of the Bistro is a display of kitchen items for purchase…

I smiled W-I-D-E when I saw all the vegan cookbooks on display!
Dr. Neal Barnard is a doctor you can trust with your precious health…


Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s The Joy of Vegan Baking…


I ordered the Garden Veggie Wrap & Sesame Ginger dressing for the salad…

“A whole wheat tortilla filled with our sunflower pate, cucumbers, bell pepper, tomatoes, carrots and seasonal greens finished with a creamy dill dressing”

I grabbed a Banana Almond Smoothie for the road…

“Bananas, almond butter and dates blended in rice milk”


I couldn’t resist this crazy moist, melt-in-your-mouth Mint Brownie…

Just like the Terminator said…
“I’LL BE BACK.”

 

 
 

Milk a bean, milk a grain, milk a nut, milk a seed, milk a drupe (yes, a drupe!), but please don’t milk an animal.  When people consume milk from lactating animals, the first thing you should ponder is what is baby cow– baby goat– baby sheep– drinking?  What happens to the baby animals?  What happens to momma cow– momma goat– momma sheep when her overworked reproductive system stops being “profitable”?  The bad news is that the answers aren’t pretty.

The good news is that non-dairy milk options are plentiful.  It’s easier than you might think to wean off animal milk.  There is no nutritional need for animal milk in the human diet!

Go to the non-dairy milk section of your local store and you’ll notice an ever-increasing array of plant milks:  Soy milk, rice milk, oat milk, almond milk, hazelnut milk, hemp milk, coconut milk..even flax milk!  There are different brands of each type of milk.  There are different varieties within the types of plant milks..like plain, vanilla, chocolate, unsweetened, fortified.  If you don’t like one, try another.  Find your favorite!


Holiday flavors (YUM!) – Pumpkin Spice, Chocolate Peppermint, Nog


Make your “own” milk:  it’s easy to do and you needn’t endure a long pregnancy and painful delivery.  It’s also less expensive than packaged milk and more eco-friendly.  Personally, I don’t like the aftertaste of packaged almond milks but I love homemade almond milk.  I encourage you to make your own nut and rice milks.  Here’s how I do it…

First, make sure you have a batch of cooked short grain brown rice on hand.  I make up a batch and freeze portions in 1/2 cup glass jam jars.  One cup (dried) rice will make enough for 7 batches of milk.

You must use short grain rice!  You don’t want your milk to have a gritty sediment, do you?  What’s the difference between long and short grains?  The answer is in the percentage of the starches amylose and amylopectin.  (I first learned about them from chef Alton Brown…thanks, A.B.!)

Long grain rice has a higher percentage of amylose.  Amylose makes the rice cook up dry, firm and separate.  Amylose is insoluble in water.  Rice milk made from long grains has more of a “gritty” sediment.  The resulting milk is more watery, less creamy = not good!

Short grain rice has a higher percentage of amylopectin.  It releases starch when cooking, resulting in a moist, soft and sticky grain.  The resulting milk will be creamy without a gritty sediment = good!

On to the nuts…pick your favorite raw nut.  I like to use Brazil nuts, but sometimes I mix it up and use cashews, almonds, or hazelnuts.

Nut Rice Milk (my own creation):

Soak 1/3 cup raw nuts and 2 pitted dates into 4 cups water for 4-8 hours.  Blend the water, nuts and dates with 1/2 cup cooked short grain rice and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a VitaMix blender or other “sporty” blender.  (I don’t know if it would work with a wimpy blender!)  Frothy, healthy, affordable and delicious!  I don’t strain my milk.  I simply shake, then pour.

My personal favorite is mixing my homemade nut rice milk with packaged soy milk in a 50-50 ratio.  That’s just me!  You do what you gotta do…as long as you leave the animals alone!

"There are those who are appalled because I am so vocal about injustice, yet I am equally appalled by their silence." Lujene Clark

“Every time you purchase animal products you pay assassins to murder sentient beings for you.”

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"My purpose is not to offend you, it is to provoke you to think." Unknown

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