Chef Ryan

Cajun Chef Ryan

Feeling & sharing a world of cooking ~ more than your average Cajun


Eat To Live, It Starts

March 29th, 2010 · 6 Comments

ETL, Greens and Beans, and a Vegetable Pot Pie recipe

Before we get to today’s recipe, thought I would share with you the progress on our Eat to Live Diet (ETL). Yesterday marked the first official day starting the “Greens and Beans” Eat to Live diet, and having stocked up with plenty of both, our two fridges and pantry are chock full now. On the ETL diet, you eat at least one pound of raw vegetables a day and one pound of cooked vegetables per day. That means many fresh salads and plenty of steamed or roasted vegetables with no added fat, salt or dairy.

The real challenge with the ETL diet for me is taking the guidelines and making some tasty meals without adding oils, salt, or dairy in the preparations, and make them both flavorful and appealing.

Besides the benefit of loosing some weight, with Monique’s high blood pressure and anxiety, this diet is supposed to help cure all those ills and more. Having just finished the ETL book on Friday, I started reading the Michael Pollan book, “In Defense Of Food.” In addition, the recurring themes in Pollan’s book are striking; the complete title of the book is “In Defense of Food, an eater’s manifesto! Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” This book ties in perfectly with the ETL diet plan.

Apples to Apples
One amazing fact that I would like to share with you from the Pollan book, an apple today is not your grandmother’s apple! All produce, grains, and even meat for that matter have less nutrients per item or pound than they did 60 years ago. To get the same nutrients from an apple that your ancestors ate you would have to down three of them today. He calls this the move from “quality to quantity”.  Because of modern agriculture’s use of chemicals and hybridizing, farmers can now produce more calories per acre than ever before. Faster growing and higher producing varieties of crops only increase the yield, not the nutritional value. A boon for the food industry, and a loss to the consumer.1

Speaking of produce, just ran across an interesting article on organic: Are You Getting Cheated When Buying ‘Organic’ Produce? Tips on how to verify that the organic produce you are buying is actually organically grown.

Greens, Fruit, and Vegetables…oh my!
Here is a partial list of our initial purchases for the greens, fruits, and vegetables part of the diet. Two huge heads of romaine lettuce, two pounds of cleaned and washed kale leaves, four pounds of fresh baby spinach, five pounds of broccoli floret’s, three pounds of cucumbers, two pounds of Medjool dates, four pounds of tomatoes, two heads celery, eight zucchini squash, five pounds of white seedless grapes, three pounds of kiwi, and five pounds of Clementine’s. Some of these vegetables should last us for the next 10 days or so, in fact we also bought some frozen vegetables and fruits too.

Baked Kale Chips
On the way into work, this morning Monique and I talked about what we would do with the two pounds of kale we purchased. Lo and behold, on Facebook this morning I found a recipe for baked kale chips that David Lebovitz shared on Facebook. Posted by Smitten Kitchen on Friday, we are going to try this one with a slight variation as we will be omitting the oil and salt, and replacing it with some vegetable stock, fresh chopped herbs, and some minced garlic. We will let you know of the outcome later in the week.

The beans portion of the diet included some nuts too, and purchasing six cans of black beans, six cans of red kidney beans, two pounds of pinto beans, one pound of split peas, one pound of black-eyed peas,  two pounds of great northern beans, and eight cans of French cut green beans. With the pantry stocked now, we should be in good supply with the beans and nuts for several weeks or months.

Eat to Live, Greens and Beans diet plan
As some of you have known since last week Monique and I committed to giving the ETL diet plans a go, we announced it in last weeks Greens and Beans, baby!, and for the next six weeks, we are incorporating all that we have both read and learned from Dr. Fuhrman’s book.

The before
An honest measure of healthy progress includes not only our body weight, but also our body measurements, blood pressure (BP), and while BMI is a popular indicator, I will include that as well. For the last four weeks or so, we have been eating a diet from Weight Watchers menus and have both lost 7 pounds, mostly following a guideline of eating less than 400 calories per meal. Monique has opted to display her weight loss amount only, and I respect that so we will only list the pounds she has lost. I can say, however, that with going to Curves, she has toned up her muscles quite a bit in the past month.

Ryan – Starting weight / BMI: 238 / 35.1; current: 231 / 34.1
Starting BP: 135/95; current BP: 120/79
Starting waist: 42; current 41

Monique – Weight loss: 7 pounds

ETL – Week 1, Day 1
We made a huge batch of Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Famous Anti-Cancer Soup last night, and it is quite a production. We made ours with the aid of our Cuisinart food processor; however, I like the tip that the Dr. has of using a Vita-Mix blender for this preparation. This soup is essentially a puree soup with no oil, salt, or dairy product. Just vegetables, water, a few beans, and some vegetable stock. Textured vegetable protein (TVP) is optional. Moreover, here is a short video of the Doctor making a batch of the soup.

Sunday was more of a transition day as we finished off some eggs with a Southwest scramble, which held us over for lunch, then snacked on some dates and cashews. For dinner, we ate some of the vegetable potpie (see recipe below) and had a one-pound portion of the Anti-Cancer Soup.

ETL – Week 1, Day 2
Monday, today we each ate a Clementine and four dates for breakfast, our lunch today is the remaining vegetable potpie, as we continue to ease our way into the complete ETL plan. In addition, for lunch and snacks is one pound of grapes, one ounce of walnuts for our daily Omega-3 fatty acid dose, another Clementine, and a yogurt that we need to finish. For dinner tonight, we will have a half-pound of Anti-Cancer Soup, a huge salad of romaine, spinach, broccoli, cucumbers, and tomatoes with a tomato balsamic dressing.

Vegetable Pot Pie
We found this recipe on the back of the Curves newsletter “Women in Motion”, March 2010 issue, and you could easily add meat or chicken to this dish if you desire. However, at 340 calories per portion any added animal protein would increase the nutritional values. This was our dinner Friday evening and before we started the ETL diet, still some left today to finish. Read more…

UPDATE: To simplify the categories and make it easier to locate the recipe I have decided to create a separate post for the recipe. Click the Read more… link above.

1 In Defense of Food, Pollan, Michael; page 118, 2008.

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Tags: Eat To Live

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 HoneyB // Mar 29, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    I really applaud you and Monique for doing this Ryan. I’ll be anxious to see how this works out for you and I’m thinking I need to get Grumpy the ETL book and both he and I might benefit from following this ourselves. If I can convince him by showing him your story, that would be awesome! 🙂 Good luck!

    P.S. I look forward to your version of the Kale Chips! 🙂

  • 2 Greg // Mar 29, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    I am down to my last glass of milk in my fridge, so I am going dairy-free tomorrow. Cheese, Ice Cream, Yogurt and milk are history for at least 3 months. It will take another week or so to get rid of the meat at the house. Then, I will restrict myself to fish & organic poultry. It will be interesting to see what the outcome is. Glad to know that somebody else is working at it, too.

  • 3 Shree B. // Mar 29, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    Good luck with this! I am sure both of you will succeed 🙂

  • 4 Vegan Thyme (Kelly) // Mar 29, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    First, I wish much success to both of you down this very cool diet! Both the weight losses are something to brag about! Might there be a vegetarian in you somewhere? Or, dare I say vegan? I love this recipe you posted, too. I will be checking out the ETL book as I am unfamiliar with it–so I am now interested! I do have one diet cookbook I’ve really loved–The Flat Belly Diet Cookbook.–really great ideas/meals–taking into account the calorie per meal (400 3xs a day) plus other stuff. I am very much a fan of Pollan! I, like Monique, would NEVER post my weight online–it’s been the same on my driver’s license since college and so it shall remain.

  • 5 claudia // Mar 30, 2010 at 6:15 am

    another healthy great recipe and a classic fav love pot pies!!!

  • 6 OC2Seattle // Mar 30, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    Loved In Defense of Food – such an eye opener. Looking forward to following you on this diet and cheering you on!