Brendan Brazier at Market Organics
I had the pleasure of hearing Brendan Brazier (professional Ironman triathlete, bestselling author, vegan, and formulator of Vega) speak at Market Organics yesterday evening. I would have invited more people to the event except that MO advertised it only half-assedly and I wasn’t even sure it was going to happen. But it did, and I’m glad I went. He’s got a really interesting nutrition philosophy and knows a thing or two about being active and vegan. I haven’t read his books yet, but I think I’m more primed to do so now after hearing him speak. My partner uses Vega Sport Performance Protein and really likes it. I’m still quite content just trying to eat a diverse, plant-based whole food diet, but I like the idea of whole food vegan energy drinks and protein powders. They’re just hella expensive. (I should have asked him about that!) Brendan has got me more interested now in the alleged health benefits of consuming pseudo-grains like amaranth and buckwheat and herbal plants such as maca and rhodiola. He discussed the difference between acid-forming foods and alkaline-forming foods and how we generally consume too much of the former. Consuming more “green” foods (like kale or spinach) helps us to eat more alkaline-forming foods and thus helps with stress levels (cortisol control) and with digestion (less energy required to digest, therefore more bang for your buck in terms of acquiring energy from food). He mentioned that a nutritionally-balanced meal would be, for example, having lentils with a side salad. Funny, that’s precisely what we had last night before the talk. I gave myself a figurative pat on the back. I think my efforts to eat more diversely have really started to pay off in terms of health. I also notice that the more I experiment with different grains and vegetables (basically, whole foods), the more I appreciate and crave them. If only more people craved flax and lentils over fast food and desserts. :(
In celebration of whole foods and Brendan Brazier’s professional and health successes, here is the recipe for my lentils last night.
Indian Dhal (lentils) and Spinach (recipe adapted from allrecipes.com)
- 1 1/2 cups lentils (e.g., red, green, or brown)
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 box frozen spinach, chopped or whole leaf (you can also use fresh)
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter or cooking oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon mustard seed (or 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard powder)
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- handful, unsweetened coconut flakes (optional)
- Rinse lentils and prepare according to package directions. (Basically, for 1.5 c. of lentils, use 4.5-5 c. water, boil vigorously for 10 mins. then turn heat down and cook for about 20 mins. or until desired consistency is reached.)
- In a large saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter/oil and saute onions with cumin and mustard seeds/powder, stirring often. Cook until onions are transparent, and then add lentils, salt, turmeric, chili powder, and cayenne.
- Stir in garam masala and coconut milk and cook until heated through (1-2 mins.)
- Serve over brown rice or solo and sprinkle over unsweetened coconut flakes, if desired.