It's just one meal. How bad could it be?

Whether you are taking the Holiday Challenge for the first time or you are a veteran nutritarian, rich holiday foods packed with oils, animal products, white flour, and sugar may look tempting to you. Maybe tempting enough for you to say to yourself “It’s just for today, just this one meal. I’ll go back to my healthy nutritarian diet tomorrow – one unhealthy meal can’t possibly harm me.” Is that true?

Aside from the fact that a single low-nutrient meal may awaken old addictive drives that could then lead to many more low-nutrient meals, a single meal is enough to cause damage to your cardiovascular system. As Dr. Fuhrman mentioned in his recent Twitter chat, there are more cardiac deaths on December 25, 26, and January 1 than any other days of the year.1 This sobering observation suggests that overindulging at a holiday meal can be extremely hazardous to your heart.

First, I’d like to define the phrase “endothelial function,” which will be used frequently in this post: The endothelium is a specialized layer of cells that forms the inner lining of all blood vessels. Endothelial cells produce nitric oxide and other substances that regulate blood pressure, maintain balance between pro-thrombotic (blood clotting) and anti-thrombotic mechanisms, and act as a selective barrier between the blood and surrounding tissues. The functions of the endothelium are crucial; endothelial dysfunction is an early event in atherosclerotic plaque development and cardiovascular disease.2

Now let’s take a look at the traditional components of a holiday meal, and how they affect our cardiovascular system…

Meat, cheese, and oils. Fifteen years ago, a study reported that eating a high saturated fat, high animal product meal impaired endothelial function for four hours following the meal, and this effect has been confirmed in the literature over and over.3,4 For example, a study presented earlier this year reported the detrimental effects of a sausage, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich on endothelial function.5 In addition to impaired endothelial function, single low-nutrient, high fat meals have been reported to induce insulin resistance, increase circulating adhesion molecules (which allows excess LDL and inflammatory cells to enter the vessel wall – a contributor to atherosclerosis), induce oxidative stress, and deplete the body’s circulating antioxidants.6-8  The detrimental effects of a high saturated fat meal on endothelial function are believed to occur via oxidative stress and activation of pro-inflammatory pathways.4,9 Although most of the studies have focused on high saturated fat meals, there is also evidence that animal protein and excess oils (high in omega-6 fatty acids) may also negatively affect the endothelium and induce oxidative stress.10,11

Bread, pasta, and sugary desserts. For a refresher on some of the harms of added sugar, revisit Dr. Klaper’s post from last year’s Holiday Challenge. In addition to those effects, refined carbohydrate is just as harmful to endothelial function as saturated fat. Refined carbohydrates cause dangerous spikes in blood glucose – repeated spikes over time promote diabetes and other chronic diseases, but what about a single high glycemic meal? Acute hyperglycemia (short term elevated blood glucose after a single refined carbohydrate-rich meal) has been shown to impair endothelial function, promote blood clotting (which increases heart attack risk), induce oxidative stress and deplete circulating antioxidants, increase blood pressure, increase circulating adhesion molecules, impair the body’s ability to fight infection, and decrease blood flow to the heart.7,12-17

Salty snacks, beer, and wine. A single high salt meal impairs endothelial function, just like high saturated fat or high sugar meals, and alcohol magnifies the increase in blood glucose from a refined carbohydrate-rich meal.18,19

The point: A SINGLE unhealthy holiday meal inflicts damage on the cardiovascular system, contributes to atherosclerotic plaque development, and in susceptible individuals may even provoke a cardiac event.

When I see a fatty, sugary dessert, I try to think up some scary images to deter myself from indulging – here are some examples:

  • Sugar crystals floating around in my bloodstream, scratching up the delicate surface of my endothelium.
  • All the circulating antioxidants from my previous nutritarian meals being used up and destroyed.
  • My vessels constricting, failing to deliver adequate blood to my heart muscle.
  • My blood pressure rising, and my heart becoming fatigued from pumping against that extra pressure.
  • LDL cholesterol and inflammatory cells pouring through the gaps in my compromised endothelial barrier and building the beginnings of atherosclerotic plaque.

…and I stick with my G-BOMBS. But that doesn’t mean that I have to choose between excellent health and tasty food. I get the best of both worlds - I enjoy preparing and serving a special dish for the holidays, while sharing health-promoting foods with my friends and family.  And if I bring a nutritarian dessert, I don’t have to conjure up scary images of what an unhealthy dessert will do to my body; the nutritarian option is always far more appetizing! For the past few family holidays, I’ve made apple pie, key lime pie, raw chocolate pudding pie, and pumpkin chai ice cream. Trust me – no one missed the sugar, oil, or white flour!

This year I’m excited to share a new main dish recipe I created: Layered Sweet Potatoes with Rosemary Cream Sauce. Seasonal winter squash and rosemary make it perfect for the holidays!

Layered Sweet Potatoes with Rosemary Cream Sauce

Layered Sweet Potatoes with Rosemary Cream Sauce

(Serves 6)

Ingredients:

1 medium sweet potato

1 small winter squash, such as butternut or dumpling

1 large red onion

16 ounces cremini mushrooms

1.5 cups cooked white beans

2 tablespoons raw tahini or cashew butter

5 cloves garlic

1/3 cup nutritional yeast

1 cup water

2 teaspoons dried rosemary (or 1-2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary)

1/2 teaspoon dried sage

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

 

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F

2. Slice the sweet potato, squash, red onion, and mushrooms thinly (preferably with a mandoline).

3. Combine the remaining ingredients in a high-power blender and blend until creamy.

4. Spread a thin layer of rosemary cream sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 pan.

5. Layer one-third of each ingredient, and repeat to make three layers.

6. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes, then turn down heat to 300 and bake an additional 30 minutes.

 

 

References:

1. Kloner RA. The "Merry Christmas Coronary" and "Happy New Year Heart Attack" phenomenon. Circulation 2004;110:3744-3745.
2. Higashi Y, Noma K, Yoshizumi M, et al. Endothelial function and oxidative stress in cardiovascular diseases. Circ J 2009;73:411-418.
3. Vogel RA, Corretti MC, Plotnick GD. Effect of a single high-fat meal on endothelial function in healthy subjects. Am J Cardiol 1997;79:350-354.
4. Hall WL. Dietary saturated and unsaturated fats as determinants of blood pressure and vascular function. Nutr Res Rev 2009;22:18-38.
5. Lacroix S, Des Rosiers C, Gayda M, et al: Abstract 752: Baseline Triglyceridemia Influences Postprandial Endothelial Response to a Single Mixed Mediterranean-type Meal Compared to a High-saturated fat meal. In Canadian Cardiovascular Congress. Toronto, Canada; 2012.
6. Ramirez-Velez R. [Postprandial lipemia induces endothelial dysfunction and higher insulin resistance in healthy subjects]. Endocrinol Nutr 2011;58:529-535.
7. Ceriello A, Quagliaro L, Piconi L, et al. Effect of postprandial hypertriglyceridemia and hyperglycemia on circulating adhesion molecules and oxidative stress generation and the possible role of simvastatin treatment. Diabetes 2004;53:701-710.
8. Tsai WC, Li YH, Lin CC, et al. Effects of oxidative stress on endothelial function after a high-fat meal. Clin Sci (Lond) 2004;106:315-319.
9. Lacroix S, Rosiers CD, Tardif JC, et al. The role of oxidative stress in postprandial endothelial dysfunction. Nutr Res Rev 2012;25:288-301.
10. Mohanty P, Ghanim H, Hamouda W, et al. Both lipid and protein intakes stimulate increased generation of reactive oxygen species by polymorphonuclear leukocytes and mononuclear cells. Am J Clin Nutr 2002;75:767-772.
11. Hennig B, Toborek M, McClain CJ. High-energy diets, fatty acids and endothelial cell function: implications for atherosclerosis. J Am Coll Nutr 2001;20:97-105.
12. Lemkes BA, Hermanides J, Devries JH, et al. Hyperglycemia: a prothrombotic factor? J Thromb Haemost 2010;8:1663-1669.
13. Mohanty P, Hamouda W, Garg R, et al. Glucose challenge stimulates reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation by leucocytes. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2000;85:2970-2973.
14. Turina M, Fry DE, Polk HC, Jr. Acute hyperglycemia and the innate immune system: clinical, cellular, and molecular aspects. Crit Care Med 2005;33:1624-1633.
15. Fujimoto K, Hozumi T, Watanabe H, et al. Acute hyperglycemia induced by oral glucose loading suppresses coronary microcirculation on transthoracic Doppler echocardiography in healthy young adults. Echocardiography 2006;23:829-834.
16. Rammos G, Peppes V, Zakopoulos N. Transient insulin resistance in normal subjects: acute hyperglycemia inhibits endothelial-dependent vasodilatation in normal subjects. Metab Syndr Relat Disord 2008;6:159-170.
17. Lee IK, Kim HS, Bae JH. Endothelial dysfunction: its relationship with acute hyperglycaemia and hyperlipidemia. Int J Clin Pract Suppl 2002:59-64.
18. Hatonen KA, Virtamo J, Eriksson JG, et al. Modifying effects of alcohol on the postprandial glucose and insulin responses in healthy subjects. Am J Clin Nutr 2012;96:44-49.
19. Dickinson KM, Clifton PM, Keogh JB. Endothelial function is impaired after a high-salt meal in healthy subjects. The American journal of clinical nutrition 2011.

 

Have you ever heard someone say, "I'd rather enjoy my food and die early than eat healthfully and live long"?

People have exclaimed this phrase countless times to me when I explain to them what my diet is like. “Where is the decadence, the fat, the richness?” they proclaim when I tell them I don’t eat animal foods. “I don’t think I could live without a good steak every now and then,” I’ve heard on one too many social encounters. It seems as if a good chunk of the people I meet simply have no idea how much I love eating healthfully more than conventional food, not only because it keeps me feeling well in the present and will protect me from diseases later in life, but because it is one heck of a tasty diet. They just assume I am sacrificing enjoyment of life for a little better health, and it is not worth it.

I think people who have never given the nutritarian diet style a try might be skeptical about the taste of these foods and recipes and that is understandable. We like the foods we get used to eating. We are creatures of habit after all, and the foods we eat the most often become our comfort foods. It’s weird to me that people often believe that healthy foods are not as tasty as a bag of chips, a can of soda or even an oil heavy foie gras at a five star restaurant, for example. But I guess that is because other people get used to eating these types of foods early in their lives and I have never touched them. I’m sure that’s why people assume my diet of roasted butternut squash soups, lentil and mushroom veggie “meatloafs”, organic mesclun greens salads with pine nuts and roasted veggies, steamed edamame, and chocolate cherry smoothies (these are only a few examples of favorite foods I cook for myself) doesn’t taste very good. That’s the shame of it all- if only conventional eaters and the skeptics would give the nutritarian diet a chance to prove its deliciousness!

I’m not one to believe in sacrifice and I don’t think other people should have to either. I’ve met many people who use to eat the standard American diet (SAD) and now eat a nutritarian diet and love the variety of it, the taste of it, and the satisfaction of eating foods that promote wellness. My mom is actually one of these people. When my mom, whom was raised on a “conventional” diet, first met my dad’s sister in college (my mom and my aunt were actually good friends before she met my dad!), my mom said she felt sorry for my aunt, Gale (my dad’s younger sister) whom was raised on a healthy diet much like the one my dad advocates today. After only a few months of dating my dad when she was in her early twenties, she was converted to the nutritarian lifestyle and could no longer imagine eating the foods she previously ate regularly.  

Which brings me back to the title of this blog post and all of the implication it makes. Most people with poor eating habits don’t just “die early” but they will probably contend with illness, chronic pain, decreased brain function and reliance on expensive medications for many years before they say sayonara to this life. Taking care of oneself by making the right foods choices leads to feeling our most optimal in the present as well as protecting ourselves from future health problems. I don’t have to battle a constant cough, runny nose, colds that last for weeks, asthma, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or any other chronic health malady that results from wanting to “enjoy my food and die early”. Some people might get away with eating poorly for decades and then succumb to ill health for only a few years, or maybe even a few months or weeks, before they die, but that is not the norm. Chronic weight problems face more Americans than ever before, as do cancer, heart disease, autoimmune disorders and other diet-related health conditions. 

Healthy foods become much more appealing when we understand the relationship between what we eat and how we feel now and into the future. What we have to work on is finding our favorite healthy foods and recipes, making the decision to commit to this way of life with the resolve that you can have it all- tasty food and great health. The misconception that healthy food is bland and tasteless needs to become a thing of the past and you can do it with education, commitment and experimentation with recipes that you enjoy. You really can have it all if you give this lifestyle a shot.  

 

The Eat To Live cookbook is coming out within the next few months (I’ve seen the recipes and tasted them) and I can testify that there are plenty of nutritious, mouth-watering recipes to come! In the mean time, there is a cornucopia of delicious recipes available on the Dr.Fuhrman.com member center like this one:

 

Golden Austrian Cauliflower Cream Soup

Serves: 4

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

1 head cauliflower, cut into pieces

3 carrots, coarsely chopped

1 cup coarsely chopped celery

2 leeks, coarsely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons Dr. Fuhrman's VegiZest (or other no-salt seasoning blend such as Mrs. Dash, adjusted to taste)

2 cups carrot juice

4 cups water

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup raw cashews or 1/2 cup raw cashew butter

5 cups chopped kale leaves or baby spinach

1 tablespoon curry powder (optional)

 

Instructions:
Place all the ingredients except the cashews and kale in a pot. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender. Steam the kale until tender. If you are using spinach there is no need to steam it; it will wilt in the hot soup. 
In a food processor or high-powered blender, blend two-thirds of the soup liquid and vegetables with the cashews until smooth and creamy. Return to the pot and stir in the steamed kale (or raw spinach).

 

Cheers to enjoying food AND living long, disease-free lives!

 

image credit: flickr by Marc_Smith

Sesamin: a protective lignan found in sesame seeds

Dr. Fuhrman highly recommends eating seeds of all kinds.  Unhulled sesame seeds are rich in calcium as well as several forms of vitamin E.  Natural forms of vitamin E such as those found in sesame seeds are thought to have anti-aging properties, and sesame consumption is known to raise plasma levels of tocopherols (vitamin E) in humans.1 Sesame seeds display high antioxidative capacity and inhibit the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, especially black sesame seeds, which have triple the phenol antioxidant content of white sesame seeds.2

Research is beginning to accumulate on sesamin, the most abundant antioxidant in sesame seeds.  Sesamin is a lignan – a class of phytoestrogen with antioxidant activity.  Flaxseeds and sesame seeds are two of the richest sources of lignans.3

Sesame seeds

In human studies, sesamin has been previously shown to have cholesterol-lowering , antihypertensive, and antioxidative effects.Consumption of sesame seeds has also been found to result in decreased total and LDL cholesterol and oxidative stress, and increased sex hormone binding globulin concentrations, which could have implications for prevention of hormonal cancers.5

In new cell culture studies published over the past few months, sesamin has now been found to have these protective biological activities:

  •  Suppression of angiogenic activity (formation of new blood vessels) and expression of pro-angiogenic, pro-inflammatory, and pro-invasion molecules in breast cancer cells.6
  • Inhibition of proliferation of tumor cells from leukemia, multiple myeloma, and breast, colon, prostate, pancreas, and lung cancers.7
  • Decreased expression of adhesion molecules on endothelial cells initiated by an inflammatory stimulus (expression of adhesion molecules contributes to the formation of atherosclerotic plaque by attracting white blood cells).8,9

These data suggest that sesame seeds can be an important tool for prevention of cancer and cardiovascular disease.  Be sure to buy raw, unhulled sesame seeds or raw tahini (sesame seed butter) for maximum nutritional benefit.  White or black sesame seeds (or tahini) are a great addition to dips and salad dressings – try this apricot tahini dressing  on your next salad.


References:

1. Cooney RV, Custer LJ, Okinaka L, Franke AA. Effects of dietary sesame seeds on plasma tocopherol levels. Nutr Cancer. 2001;39(1):66-71.

2. Shahidi F, Liyana-Pathirana CM, Wall DS. Antioxidant activity of white and black sesame seeds and their hull fractions. Food Chemistry 2006 99(3):478-483.

3. Coulman KD, Liu Z, Hum WQ, et al. Whole sesame seed is as rich a source of mammalian lignan precursors as whole flaxseed. Nutr Cancer. 2005;52(2):156-65.

4. Miyawaki T, Aono H, Toyoda-Ono Y, Maeda H, Kiso Y, Moriyama K. Antihypertensive effects of sesamin in humans. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2009 Feb;55(1):87-91.

5. Wu WH, Kang YP, Wang NH, et al. Sesame ingestion affects sex hormones, antioxidant status, and blood lipids in postmenopausal women. J Nutr.2006 May;136(5):1270-5.

6.  Lee CC, Liu KJ, Wu YC, Lin SJ, et al. Sesamin Inhibits Macrophage-Induced Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor and Matrix Metalloproteinase-9 Expression and Proangiogenic Activity in Breast Cancer Cells. Inflammation. 2010 Jul 9. [Epub ahead of print]

7. Harikumar KB, Sung B, Tharakan ST, et al. Sesamin manifests chemopreventive effects through the suppression of NF-kappaB-regulated cell survival, proliferation, invasion, and angiogenic gene products. Mol Cancer Res. 2010 May;8(5):751-61. Epub 2010 May 11.

8. Wu WH, Wang SH, Kuan II, et al. Sesamin attenuates intercellular cell adhesion molecule-1 expression in vitro in TNF-alpha-treated human aortic endothelial cells and in vivo in apolipoprotein-E-deficient mice. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2010 Mar 19. [Epub ahead of print]

9. Lee WJ, Ou HC, Wu CM, et al. Sesamin mitigates inflammation and oxidative stress in endothelial cells exposed to oxidized low-density lipoprotein. J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Dec 9;57(23):11406-17.

Mango - a sweet treat with anti-cancer potential

Mango is the world’s most widely eaten fresh fruit. Mango originated from India and southeast Asia, but is now grown in the Americas, the Caribbean, Africa, and Australia as well – today, Mexico is the world’s largest mango exporter. Mangoes were introduced in the U.S. in the late 1800s, and some are still grown in California and Florida. Mango is part of a nutrient dense family – its relatives include cashews and pistachios, but unlike its family members, the seed of a mango is inedible.

There are over 50 different varieties of mango, and we see about five of these in the U.S. Color varies – green, yellow, orange, red, or a combination. Although unripe mangoes are usually green, the best test of ripeness is how hard or soft the fruit is. A mango that indents in response to gentle pressure is ripe. Tart, unripe green mangoes are used in several ethnic cuisines, and are sometimes sliced and dipped in salt (but not by nutritarians!). Ripe mangoes, however, are extremely sweet and tasty.1-2 

A great deal of research has been done on the health benefits of high antioxidant fruits – blueberries, goji berries, pomegranates, acai – but the mango has been somewhat ignored by scientists because its antioxidant capacity is not quite as high as these other fruits.  Atulfo mangoes – the smaller, yellow mangoes often sold in Asian supermarkets – have the greatest antioxidant content of the five common varieties found in the U.S. Also, the orange flesh of mangoes is full of beta-carotene and vitamin C.3-4

Mangoes

A new study has revealed that mango, despite its low level of antioxidant activity, may have potent anti-cancer properties. Researchers treated cells derived from several common cancers – colon, breast, leukemia, and prostate – with mango polyphenol extract. Breast and colon cancer cells were most significantly affected – the cell cycle was disrupted and they underwent programmed cell death in response to the mango extract. Normal colon cells, however, remained alive and undamaged. The researchers suggest that gallotannins, the most abundant antioxidant polyphenols contained in mango, were responsible for the anti-cancer effects.5

Fresh mango is delicious all on its own. If you haven’t quite yet figured out how to cut a mango, here’s one way. Another is to slice lengthwise on each side of the pit, score the flesh, and then turn each side inside out, as illustrated here

Frozen and dried mango can make a great treat too:

Dr Fuhrman’s Fantastic Mango Ice Cream

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, reserving 1 tablespoon for garnish

1/2 cup hemp, almond or soy milk

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1 10-ounce bag frozen mango

4 slices dried mango, unsweetened and unsulfured

Instructions:

Soak dried mango in the plant-milk until soft (overnight or one hour in advance). Then blend all ingredients, including the soaking milk, in a Vita-Mix or other high-powered blender until smooth and creamy. Garnish with reserved coconut.

 

References:

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mango
  2. http://homecooking.about.com/od/foodhistory/a/mangohistory.htm
  3. Manthey JA et al. Influences of harvest date and location on the levels of beta-carotene, ascorbic acid, total phenols, the in vitro antioxidant capacity, and phenolic profiles of five commercial varieties of mango (Mangifera indica L.). J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Nov 25;57(22):10825-30.
  4. http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1952/2
  5. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100111154926.htm

Bok choy - nutrient dense and delicious!

Bok choy (or pak choi) is a relative of cabbage, scientifically named Brassica chinensis. It is most often associated with Chinese cuisine, and has been grown in China for over six thousand years. Today, bok choy is also grown in Europe, Canada, and the U.S, and is available almost year-round – it is said to be most tasty in the winter months.

Bok choy has crisp, white stalks and dark green leaves, and in Chinese its name means “white vegetable.” There are over twenty different varieties of bok choy – the two most common seen here in the U.S. are the traditional and “baby” or “Shanghai” bok choy – however, if you visit your local Asian market, you may see several more of these varieties.1-2

Bok choy - traditional

Bok choy provides abundant amounts of vitamins A, C, and K as well as folate and calcium.3 A recent study detected 28 different polyphenols - antioxidant phytochemicals - in bok choy. Some of these were more concentrated in the leaves, and some in the stems.4 The most abundant polyphenol these scientists found in bok choy was kaempferol, a molecule shown to have anti-cancer properties.5 

Bok choy falls under the category of cruciferous vegetables, a family of especially nutrient-dense vegetables that contain unique anti-cancer compounds. Like all cruciferous vegetables, more cancer-preventive compounds are produced when bok choy is chopped before cooking. 

Bok choy is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world, and it is uniquely beneficial for its calcium availability – bok choy is lower in oxalate, a substance that binds up calcium and prevents it from being absorbed, than most other leafy greens. 54% of the calcium in bok choy can be absorbed by the human body – compare this to 5% in spinach, a high oxalate vegetable, and 32% in milk. We can much more readily absorb calcium from bok choy than from dairy products.

Bok choy can be eaten raw in salads, green smoothies, or vegetable juices, or cooked in stir-fries, soups, or other vegetable dishes. 

 Baby (Shanghai) bok choy

Braised Bok Choy

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

8 baby bok choy or 3 regular bok choy

1 teaspoon Bragg Liquid Aminos or low sodium soy sauce

2 cups coarsely chopped shiitake mushrooms

2 large cloves garlic, chopped, optional

1 tablespoon unhulled sesame seeds, lightly toasted *

Instructions:

Cover bottom of large skillet with 1/2 inch water. Add bok choy (cut baby bok choy in half lengthwise or cut regular bok choy into chunks).

Drizzle with liquid aminos. Cover and cook on high heat until bok choy is tender, about 6 minutes.

Remove bok choy and add mushrooms and garlic to the liquid in the pan.

Simmer liquid until reduced to a glaze. Pour over bok choy. Top with toasted sesame seeds.

*Lightly toast sesame seeds in a pan over medium heat for 3 minutes, shaking pan frequently. 

 

 

References:

1. http://chinesefood.about.com/od/vegetablesrecipes/a/bokchoy.htm

2. http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/?page_id=3002

3. http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2377/2?print=true

4. Harbaum B et al. Identification of flavonoids and hydroxycinnamic acids in pak choi varieties (Brassica campestris L. ssp. chinensis var. communis) by HPLC-ESI-MSn and NMR and their quantification by HPLC-DAD. J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Oct 3;55(20):8251-60. Epub 2007 Sep 12.

5. Luo H et al. Kaempferol inhibits angiogenesis and VEGF expression through both HIF dependent and independent pathways in human ovarian cancer cells. Nutr Cancer. 2009;61(4):554-63.

 

Delicious Guilt-Free Pumpkin Pie with Oat Crust

Here in the United States we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving in less than three weeks.  I thought it would be fun to share a recipe for pumpkin pie from the vast selection of nutritarian recipes that are posted on the members’ center of www.DrFuhrman.com  Enjoy!   

image of slice of pumpkin pie  

Serves 8

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

 

OAT PIE CRUST

1 cup quick oats (not instant)

1/4 cup ground almonds

1 tablespoon whole wheat pastry flour (optional)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons water

 

PIE FILLING

1 15-ounce can of pumpkin

1/2 cup date sugar*

1/2 cup raisins

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 1/2 tablespoons arrowroot powder

1 10-ounce pkg soft tofu

 

CASHEW CREAM

1 1/3 cups raw cashews

3/4 cup vanilla soy milk

2/3 cup dates

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Pie Crust:  Mix oats, almonds and flour.  Blend oil and water together with a wire whisk. Add to dry ingredients and mix until it holds together.  You may need to add a little more water.  Spray 9-inch pie dish lightly with cooking spray and press the crust to thinly cover the bottom and sides of the pie dish.

Pie Filling:  In a blender combine the pumpkin and date sugar.*  Add raisins, spices, arrowroot powder, and tofu.  (Some like more spices; individual preference.)  Blend until smooth.  Pour mixture into pie shell and bake for 15 minutes then lower heat to 350 degrees.  Cover crust with strips of aluminum foil to prevent burning, and bake for an additional 60 minutes.

While pie is in the oven make the Cashew Cream.  Blend all ingredients together in a Vita-Mix or other powerful blender.

Serve slightly warm or cold with a dollop of Cashew Cream.

Note:  The pie filling will firm up as it cools. 

 * A member commented that she used dates in the pie filling instead of date sugar and liked it better.  She baked the pie for 75 minutes at 350 degrees; 15 of those minutes with the crust uncovered, and 60 minutes with the crust covered.  (Tip:  Cover crust by using a square of aluminum foil with a large hole cut out in the middle, leaving most of the pie uncovered.)  According to her, the texture and appearance came out great!