Pure Prescriptions Interview

QUESTION MARK – ASK THE NATURAL CHEF

Chef Mark Reinfeld

Author, Vegan World Fusion Cusine

[Q&A] The 7-Minute Chef Interview

by Dr. Devin Ryerson of PurePrescriptions.com

DR: Mark, first off, I wanted to say that I really enjoyed your first book, Vegan World Fusion Cuisine. Can you tell me what the impetus was to follow this up with “The 7-Minute Chef”?

Thanks for your kind words about our first book. I’m really glad you like it. The impetus to follow up with 7 MINUTE CHEF was to get people excited about cooking. We wanted to go deeper into the ‘how to’ of natural food preparation and show how easy and fun it is to create delicous and healthy cuisine. It’s cool how people notice they feel alot better eating foods prepared in this way.

In the book we include over 100 recipes including quick and easy suggestions and variations of some of our favorites. We also include chefs tips and tricks as well as cooking charts and suggestions for the perfect pantry to help people get started. It’s a book that will benefit everyone wishing to eat in a healthier way. By learning simple 7 minute techniques, you will have all the tools you need to make incredible meals. We feel so strongly about it that we are actually offering a money back guarantee.

DR: So, the 7-Minute Chef deals strictly with the many benefits of a plant based diet. Why a plant-based only diet? What about getting enough protein?

Thats a great question. 7 MINUTE CHEF shows how to create incredible tasting plant based cuisine. Most people would agree that including more healthful foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains is a good idea, even if its just a few more times a week. People who begin eating more plant based foods begin to experience increased energy and optimal health.

A great deal of evidence exists indicating that the over consumption of cholesterol and saturated fats found in animal products leads to heart disease and certain forms of cancer. Other studies have been done suggesting that the over consumption of animal products leads to obesity – for both children and adults, diabetes, hypertension, gout and kidney stones.

As far as the protein question, we really don’t need that much protein on a daily basis for optimal health. The RDA for protein is approximately .8 gram of protein/kg of body weight. These protein requirements are easily met by including a wide variety of plant based foods such as nuts, seeds, beans, vegetables and grains. You can also enjoy these plant based protein sources without the harmful side effects of the cholesterol and saturated fats of animal products.

DR: “Food as A Medicine” is something that I think almost anyone can identify with. Your new eBook has a nice focus on this. Can you tell us more?

It’s important to us to emphasize that food can be healing. We feel that many of the illnesses that are prevalent today can be prevented, cured or minimized with the aid of appropriate changes in one’s diet and lifestyle. In 7 MINUTE CHEF we include ‘food is medicine’ sections, where we highlite the ingredients in our recipes that have a history of being used for healing purposes. It’s fascinating to learn that many of these foods with reputed healing qualities, such as some of the common spices we regularly enjoy, also have a rich folklore.

DR: Can you describe briefly for our readers what exactly is “Organic Food ” and why one would consider consuming over conventionally grown foods?

Organic products are grown without the use of powerful and toxic chemical pesticides or fertilizers, many of which have not been fully tested for their effects on humans. Organic farmers employ farming methods that respect the fragile balance of our ecosystem. This results in a fraction of the ground water pollution and topsoil depletion that is generated by conventional methods. Most people have also found the taste and nutrient quality of organic products to be superior to that of conventionally grown food. We recommend using the freshest, organically grown ingredients whenever possible.

DR: And what about GMO foods? What are these and are they even safe?

This is a pretty hot topic. We feel that GMOs (Genetially engineered and Modified Organisms) pose a great threat to people, the environment and our agricultural heritage. Once a seed is genetically modified, either to become pesticide resistant or to increase yields, the plant that grows from this seed produces seeds that are infertile. These killer seeds or assassin seeds prevent the replication of the genetic bond. This is the antithesis of sustainable agriculture. Farmers must constantly purchase seeds every year from the companies that manufacture them. Pollen from these GMO crops can also contaminate non GMO crops, posing a great risk to organic farms in the area. All of this is in addition to the fact that the long term effects of GMO seeds on the consumer is still unknown.

DR: Wow! Okay that’s pretty scary stuff…Besides the obvious health benefits for adopting a plant-based diet, what about the lesser known environmental rationale?

It’s eye opening to look at the environmental impact of a plant based diet compared to a meat based one. This topic can fill an entire article so I’ll just mention a few things to consider – land and water usage, the rainforest and global warming, aka global meltdown.

For land usage, it takes about sixteen pounds of grain to produce one pound of meat. The livestock population of the U.S. consumes enough grain and soybeans each year to feed over 5 times the human population of our country. If Americans were to reduce meat consumption by just 10 percent, it would free up 12 million tons of grain annually.

For water usage, it takes approximately 2,500 gallons of water to produce a single pound of meat. Half of the water used in the U.S. goes to irrigate land growing feed and fodder for livestock. Looking at our precious rainforests, a staggering amount of land is cleared for cattle grazing purposes. This is a great tragedy when you release the amount of biodiversity we loose when rainforests are destroyed.

With Global Warming, one of the most crucial issues or our time, a recent UN report indicates that livestock are responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions. Including more plant based foods helps diminish these harmful emissions. For anyone interested in learning more about these important topics, I highly recommend John Robbin’s book, Diet for a new America.

DR: Any favorite recipe from the book you could share with us?

How about this Kitchari recipe. Its a staple dish in the Indian Ayurvedic healing tradition. During cleanses called ‘pancha karma’, royalty would eat this as their only dish for days at a time. It is harmonizing, balancing and available for you to make today.

KITCHARI

7 minutes prep / 40 minutes cook / 4-6 servings

2 Tbl coconut or safflower oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp fennel or mustard seeds
1 Tbl ginger, minced
1 cup brown rice
1 cup mung beans, rinsed and drained
7 cups filtered water or stock
2 cups assorted vegetables, chopped small
2 tsp coriander or curry powder
2 tsp sea salt or to taste
2 Tbl minced cilantro – optional

loving preparation

1. Place oil in a stock pot on medium high heat. Add seeds and ginger and stir constantly until the seeds pop. Add rice, beans and water, reduce heat to medium and cook for 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add veggies and spices and cook for 5 minutes or until veggies, beans and rice are cooked through and most of the liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently.

serving suggestion

~ serve warm or cold as a side dish on top of a bed of organic green salad mix.

variations

~ it’s a bit unconventional, but adding a bit less salt and adding 1 Tbl of soy sauce imparts a nice flavor to this dish.
~ have fun with adding different types of vegetables.
~ you can experiment with different Indian seeds and spices and different types of mung beans. There are various split mung beans available. An Indian grocery will have several different varieties to try. You will need less water for the split mung varieties.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mark Reinfeld is the founding chef of the Blossoming Lotus Restaurants and a recipient of a 2006 Platinum carrot award given by the Aspen Center of Integral Health to ‘Americas Top Healthy Gourmet Chefs’. He is a recognized authority in the field of healthy cuisine. Mark is the coauthor of Vegan World Fusion Cuisine, winner of 9 national awards.

None of the above is intended as medical advice. Since every individual’s health condition and circumstance are unique, we recommend seeking the services of a qualified health care professional before using any of this information for medical purposes.

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Tofu for Two » Mung Beans with Basmati Rice  |  April 3, 2009 at 11:45 am

    […] lovely and thorough blog post about khichdi, and closely read through quite a few kitchari recipes. Heikki loved this dish and commented that kids would probably enjoy it as well – before he even […]

    Reply

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