Nutrition As Medicine

tagged Maureen Rich's Potato Bean Burgers with Excellent 2013-02-10 10:49:27 -0500

Potato Bean Burgers



Modified from Wendy Solganik:  Healthy Girl's Kitchen

After trying possibly a dozen veggie/bean burger recipes, including the Jeff Novick and Rip Esselstyn versions, these are my favorite (probably because of the potatoes).  I like to eat them without a bun, cut into pieces, with a dash of hot sauce or hot-pepper relish, alongside brown rice or corn, or especially cut up in a stir fry.  These are a staple that I rely on almost every week; I get a little nervous if some of these are not in my freezer.  They microwave fast if you forget to defrost them.   They're hearty and satisfying.  I usually make three batches at a time, and freeze them in 2-cup Pyrex glass containers, which holds them perfectly.  

The following spice mixture is the result of some taste tests, different from the original curry powder version.  (If you find a spice combo that you like better, please let me know).      

SINGLE RECIPE   Makes 12 burgers  (3 1/2 to 4" diameter, which fit in 2-cup Pyrex containers)


1 15-oz can no salt added kidney beans, drained = 10 oz (drained) = 1.5 cups (drained)
1 15-oz can no salt added garbanzo beans, drained  = 10 oz (drained) = 1.5 cups (drained)
1 cup rolled oats,  (i.e. "old fashioned oats" or "Quaker Oats;"  -This is the binding ingredient, so don't skimp)
1 cup cooked mashed potatoes
2 teaspoons cumin powder (or seeds)   (If you have the seeds you can toast them briefly in a dry frying pan to to develop the flavor: optional)
1 teaspoon coriander powder (or seeds)
1.5 teaspoons garam masala
1/8th - 1/4 teaspoons ground red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper (most people prefer 1/8th teaspoon). 
OPTIONAL:   2 teaspoons of Benson's Table Tasty (a salt-free seasoning similar to "Mrs. Dash" only better, available online). 
1/2 cup canned or fresh diced tomatoes.

(parchment paper for broiling)


•    With a potato masher, partially mash the kidney beans, transfer to a larger bowl, then partially mash the garbanzo beans, then combine all the mashed beans.    (Don't use a food processor which gives the wrong consistency).        

•    Add all remaining ingredients and stir.  

Cut parchment paper to fit a baking pan (or the edges might burn).   Form into patties and broil at a High setting for approximately 7 minutes on the first side (or until done), turn them over and broil approximately 4 minutes on the second side (or until done). Watch them like a hawk.  They will start to blacken a little, which gives a good texture if not too much.   Once you learn how long it takes in your oven, you can use a stopwatch.


VARIATION ONE on 12-19-14  
ALSO:   Omit garam marsala,  add 1 TBSP chili powder, 1/2 teasp black pepper, and decrease kidney beans from 2 cans to 1 can in this double-recipe.  (2 seemed like too many).   ADD 1 cup chopped fresh parsley (could use more),  5 large pressed garlic cloves (could use more)  1 can = 1.5 cup of diced tomatoes.    

Salt, salt substitute, or neither, as desired.
I realize most readers have never used 'Table Tasty,' my favorite salt substitute, available online.  In this recipe I used 4 teaspoons;  Comparison taste test shows the Table Tasty is a definite improvement vs. no Table Tasty. 
Or use a small amount of salt to taste instead of Table Tasty, or you can omit both.  
It's better with parsley, could use more.  1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder for this Double recipe seems about right to me, maybe could use more (but I like it hot). 

VARIATION TWO on 12-25-14
FOR DOUBLE recipe -  DOUBLE THE QUANTITIES IN THE SINGLE RECIPE.  ALSO, omit garam marsala, add 1 teaspoon curry (in addition to the cumin and coriander).   Use 2 cups chopped fresh parsley, 3/4 teasp black pepper.  Decrease mashed potatoes to 1.5 cups (from 2 cups in this double recipe).  
Comparison test:  I divided this double-recipe in half:  
To one half, I added 2 teasp garlic powder, 2 TBSP onion flakes,  1 TBSP  'Table Tasty'
To the other half, I added no garlic powder, 4 TBSP onion flakes, 1 TBSP 'Table Tasty'
The second half was a little better, but both are great.  

(Note:  you can substitute salt for Table Tasty, or use neither, still delicious).  


FYI, on a recommendation I tried Southwest Veggie Burgers which use sweet potatoes.  To me, the sweet-potato taste and sweetness was too much, and not burger-like.  Also, they did not hold together.   Like I said, I've tried at least a dozen and I keep coming back to this entry.    -    Dr. Joe

responded to Potato Wedges* with completed 2012-08-10 23:51:34 -0400

Potato Wedges*

Potato Wedges

Use either sweet potatoes or Russet white potatoes.

Cook whole by any method (microwaved, boiled, baked) until slightly soft (ideally about 80 – 90% done).

Allow to cool which makes them easier to cut without falling apart. 
Cut with a wet knife into wedges.    (The wet knive also makes them easier to cut without falling apart).

Place wedges on a plate where you will sprinkle seasonings on them (and keep the excess seasonings out of the baking pan).
Add seasonings while wedges are still wet, or sprinkle some water on the potatoes first, so the seasonings will stick.

(See Below for seasoning suggestions)

Place seasoned wedges, skin-side down, on a baking tray. 

You will need a small amount of oil on the tray to prevent sticking (*very* small amount with a non-stick baking tray).  Or you can use parchment paper in the baking tray, but don't let the edges of the paper get near the broiler or they may catch fire).

Broil until surface starts to get crispy.

White Potato Seasoning Ideas:

For the white potatoes:
(optional): Salt, especially seasoned salt.  This is optional and the original recipe does not call for salt.  However, most people seem to like some salt on their white potatoes (sweet potatoes don't seem to need any)   ...and...
paprika  (for flavor and especially color), or
garlic powder, or
old bay seasoning  (note: salt is the main ingredient)
chili powder, or
black pepper, or
combinations of the above

Sweet Potato Seasoning Ideas:
(Note: sweet potatoes don't require salt)
(optional):  sprinkle with orange juice and/or brandy 
curry powder,  or 
pumpkin pie spice  (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger), or

Official response from completed

tagged Dr. Joe's Sweet Potatoes with Fruit Cut-up or Mashed** with Excellent 2012-07-09 11:33:40 -0400

Sweet Potatoes with Fruit Cut-up or Mashed**











  • Sweet potatoes are delicious plain, but even better with fruit.   This is a staple for me.  
  • Mashed sweet potatoes (without skins) are pictured above, but it's quicker just to cut them up, with the skins.
  • The visual appearance of cut-up sweets isn't terrific, so the mashed version is good if you're serving it to others.    
  • The only reason to remove the skins is for visual appearance.  If you do, cut them into strips and broil them until they're a little crunchy, they're delicious.  
  • Everyone should keep cooked sweet potatoes in the fridge at all times, so they’re ready-to go.
  • Cut-up oranges seem to be the best fruit for this by far for some reason.  Blueberries are also great. Apples and other fruits work also. .  
  • This is a hearty, filling, satisfying and 100% healthy meal that you can have anytime: breakfast, lunch or dinner.
  • You absolutely don’t need butter or sweetener.  If you think you need a sweetener, get over it and add more fruit.  
  • Sweet potatoes taste a little better baked, but also delicious micro-waved or boiled.
    At 400 calories per pound, and with a very high satiety index, potatoes are a health food that helps people lose weight.  One of Chef A.J.s top three tips for ultimate weight loss is to "Eat Potatoes!"  ("You've been depriving yourself for far too long!")
  • Most (but not all) plant-based health authorities encourage consumption of white potatoes, but they all endorse sweet potatoes, which are even healthier.  



  • Cooked sweet potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Fruit, such as cut-up oranges, blueberries, etc. etc.


  • Nuts and/or raisins make this fancier and even more delicious.
  • A dash of brandy is delicious with this (in no way healthy, mostly sugar)
  • Maybe cinnamon


Combine in a bowl!      See Below!




Here are the broiled, crunchy skins (ready to eat, or to mix back in with the mashed sweet potatoes)





And here are the sweets with the crunchy skins!




 Here are mashed sweets with mango & walnuts.  You can't see the brandy, but believe me, it's there.





tagged Dr. Joe's Grilled Mango with Excellent 2012-07-09 11:21:31 -0400

Grilled Mango

Cut the mango in two halves (cut so as to avoid the large central seed).   Cut deep criss-crosses on the flat surface of each half.   Grill cut-side down until brown.  Before serving, push on the skin to invert it so that the cubes stick-up.

tagged Hearty Pasta & Bean Salad* with Excellent 2012-06-26 22:02:28 -0400

Hearty Pasta & Bean Salad*


Here’s an example of a “salad” with so many flavorful ingredients that it doesn’t need a dressing.   Normally, any available veggies are thrown in without measuring, but you may want to measure the first time.   There’s something about the combination of the key ingredients, which we believe are:   pasta, beans, lightly cooked veggies, raw greens, and crunchy sweet onion,  that makes this special.   Some variations on this theme are ‘Mango Lime Bean Salad,’  and ‘Pasta, Beans & Veggies.’    Even with unsalted pasta and beans (if you dare) it still tastes great!   Needs some red & green ingredients for visual appeal.  Great with hummus on the side.   You can really fill up on this with amazingly few calories; we could have called it “weight loss salad.”

SUGGESTED INGREDIENTS  measures are approximate:

2 cups Vidalia onions, raw, chopped (more attractive with purple onions, or a mixture of purple & Vidalia, since purple onions are stronger). 

One mango, cut up  (about 1&1/4 cup) or other fruit such as apple (if using apple, sprinkle the cut-up apple pieces with lemon or lime juice to prevent them from browning).

2 cups chopped cabbage (a mixture of white & purple cabbage enhances the color)

1&1/2 cups cooked beans such as pinto, black, kidney, etc.

1 cup whole wheat cooked macaroni or other pasta

2 cups cooked broccoli (do not overcook)

1 cup cooked corn kernels


¼ cup chopped olives

¼ cup chopped almonds or other nuts

juice of 1 -2 limes, preferably fresh.

Fresh or dried herbs, such as mint or dill, etc. 


DIRECTIONS:   Toss together


tagged Vanessa Kightlinger's Baked Tortilla Chips* with Excellent 2012-12-15 12:47:37 -0500

Baked Tortilla Chips*

(Shown with chipotle corn and bean salad)

• Corn or whole wheat tortillas


Preheat oven to 375F.
Cut each tortilla into fourths.
Place on a cookie sheet covered with a Silpat,* parchment paper, or cooking spray **
Lightly spray or hand-pat each chip with water.
Sprinkle with herbs or seasonings, if desired.
Turn chips over and Bake another 8-10 minutes until crisp.

* A Silpat is a non-stick Silicone Baking mat. Nothing sticks to it and you can reuse.
** FYI "cooking spray" is 100% fat although the label says "fat free."   (If using the spray, a non-stick baking pan makes it even less likely that anything will stick).

Official response from not planned

tagged Dr. Joe's Mango Lime Bean Salad* with Excellent 2012-04-30 22:10:19 -0400

Mango Lime Bean Salad*

contributed by Joe Adams, M.D.,    from Forks Over Knives (the book);  originally from Ann Crile Esselstyn:  'Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease'

Ann Esselstyn:  "It vanishes in a flash. It's our all-time favorite summer salad.  Make sure there is PLENTY of lime - it makes the difference!  This is also good as a salsa."  

Dr. Joe:  Fresh limes are best; use the juice and the pulp.  Occasionally too much zest can be bitter, which would ruin the dish.  Don't zest too deep, or to be on the safe side, don't zest at all.  A small lime yields about 3 TBSP of juice - if you want to cheat with bottled juice.  More would be OK too.

Serves 2:

1 mango, peeled and diced
One 15-oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed.   [one cup, a little less, also works; amount is not critical]
Red onion, diced, to taste (about a half an onion
Cilantro . . a lot  (1/2 cup or more!)
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1 juicy lime, squeezed.  

Combine all ingredients and serve in a bowl or on a bed of arugala or baby lettuce, or mache if you can find it.  

tagged Vanessa Kightlinger's Corn and/or Bean Salad variations* with Excellent 2012-12-15 12:36:00 -0500

Corn and/or Bean Salad variations*



Fiesta Corn Salad:

This is a hit at parties.  Once you've got the ingredients: just a few minutes!   Elegant and delicious!


One pound of frozen corn: steamed
3/4 - 1 can of black or kidney beans, rinsed
3/4 - 1 purple onion, sliced
Fresh lime juice, 4 TBSP or more (juice of 2 limes) 
1/2 of a bunch of cilantro, chopped
1/8th teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper  (optional)

Toss ingredients together:  serve cold      


(These are more trouble than their worth, unless you have time on your hands.  The beauty of this dish is simplicity).  

Hearts of palm, one 15 oz. can (shown in photo)
Cut up red bell pepper
Cut up avocado
1 teaspoon salt or to taste (optional; not needed)
1 garlic clove: minced


  • You need firm beans with a nice color contrast.  Canned kidney beans work well and are always firm enough;  black beans are the other preferred bean choice (sometimes not as firm).  
  • It's OK to avoid measuring and just add the amount of ingredients that seems right. 




White Bean & Mango Salad:

(Similar, but no corn in this one: only one yellow ingredient at a time!)













A can of cannellini or other white bean
1 - 2 mangoes, cut up

bunch of cilantro, cut up
purple onion, coarsely cut up
Juice of about 2 fresh limes

Note: This elegant salad, without the corn, is also a hit at get togethers.   You can just to add the quantities of ingredients that seem right, rather than measure.   The amount of lime juice is not critical, as long as it's a lot.





tagged Thai Dressing with Great or Good 2012-03-11 12:52:52 -0400

Thai Dressing

(from:  The McDougall Quick & Easy Cookbook)

We tried this with cole slaw:  Very good!

3.5 TBSP fresh lime juice
2 TBSP soy sauce
½ - 1 teaspoon ground chili paste
1 TBSP or less of minced fresh garlic

published General Eating Advice in General Advice 2012-02-20 09:15:12 -0500

General Eating Advice


When first starting out with healthy food, you can continue eating the foods you are used to while adding new delicious foods to your menu.  Some people start out by eating healthy just for breakfast, later for breakfast & lunch, etc.  As soon as you find enough healthy foods that you love,  enough for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you're ready to give up the old foods, maybe for a 3-week trial period. 


First become familiar with three or four healthy meals, and at least one low-fat salad dressing that you love.  Keep these ingredients available..


RECIPES:   Keep several recipes in your purse or wallet so you can get ingredients in one shopping trip. 

PREPARE AHEAD:  At night and in the morning, ask yourself: ‘Is it time to soak some beans or grains?’   Pre-chop some veggies or greens and keep them in the fridge.   Keep pre-cooked ingredients in the fridge such as veggies, pasta, rice and beans.  KeepbBags of frozen veggies such as corn, peas, etc. etc. handy - they cook in minutes and can be added to almost anything - or eaten as they are (without butter).  Make it a high priority to identify fat-free salad dressings that you really like (you generally need to make these; can't find them in the store). 

COOK LARGER QUANTITIES and freeze leftovers.  You'll need a good number of plastic containers for the freezer, and small bowls for the fridge.  

KEEP QUICK FOODS available, like fruit, veggies like carrots.  Hummus is a famous and popular quick food that is good to have available at all times.  Store-bought hummus is high in fat and calories, but it's easy to make healthy hummus at home (see our recipes). It's a sandwich spread, dip, or a side dish (everything goes well with a dollop of hummus on the plate).  

Slips or cravings are normal learning experiences that are often the result of not having foods choices readily available.  


Real food may taste unfamiliar at first if your taste buds have been hijacked by salty, fatty, addicting food.  Your taste buds will wake up within 2 - 3 weeks at the most.  Eat slowly and pay attention while eating so you can stop when you are “done,” as opposeo when you are “full.”     

. . .

are even more exciting than, for example, pasta & marina alone, fruit alone, beans alone, or veggies alone.   All these items taste great together in a quick stir-fry with a variety of textures & flavors:  pasta, marinara, beans, fruit (apples or raisins) and/or veggies, in any combinations!


Include satisfying comfort foods if you feel temporarily deprived, such as pasta (preferably whole grain), potatoes (preferably red or sweet potatoes; or white potatoes if you prefer),  or some richer “seasonings” (nuts, seeds or avocados).  Normally, nuts, seeds & avocados are recommended only as part of a meal (if at all) and not as snacks. 


At some point you will be ready to eat 100% healthy food for a month, however you define that.  This will allow you to see results and to re-set your taste-buds, revealing a world of culinary variety and excitement.  If you decide this will include dairy, fish, chicken or oil, that is completely up to you.  The more you move toward a plant-based menu, the more powerful the health and weight-loss benefits will.

published Amazing No Queso Sauce in Sauces 2012-01-16 11:03:00 -0500

Amazing No Queso Sauce

By Tiffany Hobson, from the November 2011 edition of The McDougall Newsletter:   Tiffany:  "This has become one of the most requested items since its inception from all of my friends.
This is great on just about anything!  Over a baked potato, On top of your favorite chili,  or with baked tortilla chips.   The link to the newsletter has a "Cauliflower Mac & No Queso" recipe (we haven't tried yet) that uses this.
Instead of using 8 ounces of pimientos, try using 4 ounces and add in some chopped jalapeños or habaneros if you like it hot and spicy.

Preparation Time: 3 minutes   Cooking Time: 5 minutes   Servings: 2 cups. 

¼ cup raw cashews
1 cup butternut squash
¾ cup water
8 ounces pimientos
¼ cup nutritional yeast
3 tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt

Place all the ingredients in a blender and process until completely smooth.  If you own a Vitamix, this process will take 3 minutes; if you own a regular blender, the process will take about 5 to 6 minutes. 
Pour the mixture into a saucepan and cook at medium heat until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.
Note:  This cheese sauce is great on just about anything!  Pour it over a baked potato, have it on top of your favorite chili, or over some baked tortilla chips.  Instead of using 8 ounces of pimientos, try using 4 ounces and add in some chopped jalapeños or habaneros if you like it hot and spicy.

tagged Muriel Urquidi's Easiest Way to Make Oatmeal for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner* with Excellent 2012-11-12 16:02:58 -0500

Easiest Way to Make Oatmeal for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner*



  • This is another staple for me.  I routinely bring this for lunch because it’s so easy.  
  • The easiest way to cook oatmeal is in a 4-cup pyrex measuring cup.  You don’t need to measure anything, but that’s about the right size to avoid boil-overs.   This avoids the need to clean-up a pot.  (If you do use a pot, a non-stick pot is much easier to clean than a conventional one).
  • Adding salt is optional, you will probably learn to use little or no salt with time.  
  • You absolutely do not need sugar; fruit adds sweetness.  (If you think you need sugar, get over it and add more fruit).  I like blueberries, but most any fruit will do. Raisins are tasty in this (but dried fruit is high in calories). 
  • Oatmeal is completely healthy (UNLIKE dry cereal).  
  • A variation is steel-cut oats, or whole oat groats.  But the common rolled oats (i.e. Quaker oats), which are somewhat healthier because they're less processed, but take longer to cook.  I think they're all absolutely delicious.  Cooking time for these less-processed oats can be markedly reduced by soaking overnight in water or soy milk. 



Rolled Oats ("Quaker Oats")
(salt, if using)


Bring about a cup of water to a boil (preferably in the 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup) in a microwave

Add the right amount of rolled oats.  There's no need to measure; you can tell.

Return to the microwave for 1 – 2 minutes on “low” (setting “4” out of 10).

Add fruit (and salt, if using).

Eating it from the Pyrex measuring cup makes for super-fast cleanup.  


published Potatoes in Food Without Recipes 2012-01-13 18:26:00 -0500


Potatoes may be natures perfect food.  They're an inexpensive, healthy, and ultra-convenient whole food that is extremely satisfying.  

Sweet potatoes have more fiber than white, and are nutritional and flavor powerhouses. 

Sweet or white potatoes are most delicious baked, but can also be microwaved, steamed, boiled, or fried (without oil).  You can bake them at 400 degrees for 45 - 60 minutes.  Hint: Do this often; always have some baked potatoes in your fridge!  (I like to boil them if I'm making mashed potatoes)

Please, *don't* add butter, margarine or sour cream! 

Sweet potatoes, especially, don't need salt. They're fabulous straight-up for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack, maybe with a little cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice.

White potatoes seem to go with a greater variety of spices (try garlic powder, chili powder, black pepper, hot sauce, vinegar, rosemary, etc.). Some people feel they need a little salt on white potatoes, but they're actually delicious without it.

Once cooked & possibly spiced, you can eat the potatoes as is, or slice them and caramelize the slices in a dry non-stick pan for a little crunch and an elegant look. 

You can broil potato wedges for a little crunch.  You may want to spice them first, maybe after adding a little water so the spice sticks.  (see Potato Wedges)

White potatoes go well with sauteed onion, and other veggies. 

Mash white potatoes with soy milk, pepper, and parsley, and you can throw in some cooked peas for fun. 

Mash sweet potatoes with orange juice, or orange juice concentrate, and maybe a little brandy!  (See Mashed Sweet Potato Variations)

Sweet potatoes don't store well before cooking so cook soon after purchase.

Potatoes are a healthy, whole food that is extremely low in fat.  Don't fall for the myth that they don't have enough protein: they have plenty of protein so there's no need to combine them with other food - unless you want to.

The bottom-line is:  Always keep some pre-baked potatoes in the fridge!