The Nourishing Health » Whole, nourishing, plant-based health and nutrition

Thanksgiving is next week!  It’s time to create your menu and beat the grocery store crowds.  Whether you’re looking for a hefty plant-based holiday menu or simply a healthy dish to share with guests you’ll be covered with my family’s favorite picks from past years!

Main Course

Lentil Walnut Apple Loaf

White Bean & Brussels Sprout Stuffed Delicata Squash with Lemon Tahini Sauce


Side Dishes

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts with Rosemary and Garlic.  I’ve often made this without the potatoes and added extra Brussels sprouts.

Lemony Roasted Potatoes & Broccoli Rabe

Cheesy Cauliflower Rice and Broccoli Bake

Clean Green Bean Casserole

Vegan Creamy Pumpkin Tomato Soup

Roasted Red Pepper, Cauliflower & Walnut Buckwheat Salad

Raw Cranberry Persimmon Relish


Raw Pumpkin-Maple Pie with Baked Oat Crust – I have made this pie the past several years and have been told its the best pumpkin pie many have tasted. (I can say that since its not my recipe):) In my mind the best part is it can be prepared in advance and left in the freezer until an hour prior to serving, making Thanksgiving dinner one step easier!

Pumpkin Spice Bars with Maple Frosting Drizzle

Gooey Pumpkin Spice Latte Pudding Cake – My husband requests Angela Liddon’s Fudgey Mocha Pudding Cake for any special occasion.  Angela gives her classic a fun fall twist with some pumpkin spice.

*When I cook I use use a light spray of coconut oil rather than tossing my food with much oil.  For baking I use coconut butter in place of coconut oil and all the above recipes.  You get all the nutrients from the whole coconut when using coconut butter – more nutritional bang for your buck!

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I’ll admit, I’ve barely cooked this month.  On July 30 our little girl entered this world and we’ve been consumed with love, snuggles, diapers, feeding, burp cloths, and healing.  In the midst of this transition we have been well fed by family and friends, for which I am immensely grateful!


Anything hearty and simple.  That’s how I start my mornings now.  The 5 Minute Oatmeal Power Bowl truly gives a powerful nutritional punch and the endless combination of toppings keeps me from getting bored.  Lately I’ve been using half a banana in the oat recipe and adding fresh fruit on top the next morning.

Almond milk.  Oh, how I love homemade almond milk and my friends know it!  When you get a pint of this almond milk dropped off at your house and you leap for joy, you know you have problems.:)

Main Dishes

The Big Vegan Bowl was an easy lunch staple.  Preparing extra of the ingredients allowed lunch to be constructed quickly and simply between breastfeeding sessions and snuggles.

A dear friend made several freezer meals for me prior to delivery including My Favorite Vegan Chili.  We enjoyed it for several days eating is as a warm chili and creating a simple taco salad with the leftovers.

Italian Bean Balls with Thick & Chunky Tomato Sauce over zucchini noodles was incredibly flavorful and filling.  The Italian Bean Balls were one of the several freezer meals I made in early July and the tomato sauce came together easily for a healthy meal in just minutes.  For the tomato sauce I used sun dried tomatoes that were not packed in oil, left the seeds in the tomatoes, and added approximately 1/4 cup of tomato paste.



Nothing beats a sweet friend dropping off sweet treats on a hot summer day! These Blueberry Lemon Mini Cheesecakes were incredible and delicious straight from the freezer and slightly thawed for a few minutes.

I’ve enjoyed this Creamy Chocolate Hemp Seed Smoothie nearly every day for the last few weeks.  I love satisfying my sweet tooth with something so rich in omega-3’s from hemp seeds and added cinnamon for stabilizing blood sugars.  I’ve been drizzling a bit of molasses on top to get some extra iron in this postpartum body.  :)

Have you cooked or created a great recipe recently that you’d like me to share?  I love trying new recipes, so please send your favorite plant-powered to for a chance to be featured in the months to come!

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Described by Publishers Weekly as the “male equivalent to a vegan Rachel Ray” Mark Reinfeld has 20 years of experience preparing creative vegan and raw cuisine and has authored or co-authored 6 cookbooks.

As you know from my posts, simply ascribing to a vegan diet is not inherently healthy (many popular junk foods are technically vegan), but consuming a whole food, plant-centric diet is the goal, which is exactly what Mark promotes and what you’ll find on the pages of Healing the Vegan Way.  With a Masters Degree in Holistic Nutrition the emphasis of his nutritional philosophy is consuming foods that are the richest in nutrients and able to fuel and heal your body for long-term health.

Healing the Vegan Way provides a detailed yet approachable walk through of the latest medical research on various approaches to nutritional healing by leading medical experts Dr. Michael Klaper, Dr. Michael Greger, and Dr. Joel Kahn, as well as Registered Dietitians Brenda Davis and Julieanna Hever.



In addition to the comprehensive medical information Healing the Vegan Way provides readers with the tools needed for success and satisfaction as they strive to implement more whole plant foods into every day.

Part 1

  • Shares the endless benefits of a plant-based diet while assessing other popular dietary approaches
  • Examines other lifestyle factors to implement for a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle
  • Describes the most nutrient-rich plant foods and the associated health benefits
  • Looks at the extraordinary benefits of raw whole foods
  • Provides a 14 day menu plan following the guidelines of the Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP) developed by Dr. Hans Diehl
  • Comprehensive Nutrient Reference Chart illustrating the macro and micronutrients needed for optimal health and the plant sources where they can be obtained.

Part 2

  • Helps you set up your kitchen and begin developing essential kitchen techniques for adopting a plant-based diet
  • 200+ plant-powered vegan recipes, including Template Recipes that allow you to create endless variations to suite your specific taste preferences

What better way to truly preview a book than to sink your teeth into one of the fabulous recipes?!

Now you can thanks to the publisher, Da Capo Press!


Curried Garbanzo Cakes with Poppy Seeds

Yield: 8 cakes

Prep time: 15 minutes, Cook time: 15 minutes,

Total time: 30 minutes, Serving size: 1/8 cup patty | Number of servings: 8

Did you know it takes 900,000 poppy seeds (give or take a few) to make a pound of them? Poppy seeds are nutty-flavored oil-seeds from the opium poppy plant that date back to ancient Egyptian times.

These seeds are especially rich in oleic and linoleic acids, which help lower unhealthy cholesterol levels. They work nicely with the garbanzo flour (sometimes sold as besan flour, chickpea flour, and gram flour) which perfectly complements these flavorful bean creations. Garbanzo bean flour is a stand-out in terms of supply of protein and folate – well above that of wheat flour. Serve with a tamarind sauce, sweet and sour sauce, or a mint chutney.


1 cup garbanzo bean flour

½ cup water

1 ½ tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

1 ½ teaspoons poppy seeds

1 teaspoon garlic flakes

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 ½ teaspoons dehydrated onion flakes

½ teaspoon cumin seeds

½ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

½ teaspoon ground turmeric (optional)

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon ground coriander

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Oil, for baking sheet (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°f. Place all the ingredients, except the oil, in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Scoop out eight equal balls onto a well-oiled or parchment paper–lined baking sheet, and form into small pancakes about ½ inch high.
  3. Bake for 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm

Excerpted from Healing the Vegan Way: plant-based eating for optimal health and wellness by Mark Reinfeld. Copyright © 2016. Available from Da Capo Press | Lifelong Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

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College.  A time of new adventures, goals to pursue, and endless change.  Navigating this new phase can be exciting and quite nerve-wracking.  One change I didn’t anticipate was the way my body would adjust to this new lifestyle.  I went from practicing high school sports for several hours a day to many hours sitting at my desk studying.  Mom’s fresh-from-the-garden home cooked meals were replaced by endless dining hall options.  Friends and late-night study sessions replaced a responsible bedtime and by the end of my first year I had a little more than the Freshman 15 to commemorate my first year.  :)

This is where my interest in health and nutrition really began.  Previously having taken good health for granted I knew it was time to learn how to truly care for myself well.  Though I wanted a “get slim quick” plan I knew it wouldn’t be sustainable so I  started slow, making a few simple changes each week and gaining excitement as I gained momentum with my changes.

Weight loss, clearer skin, less headaches, increased energy and better sleep were the first changes I saw as I kicked a serious caffeine habit and began to fuel my body well.


If you’re in college and looking to reverse some of the same habits I picked up or about to enter and want to avoid my Freshman misfortune consider the following ways to stay fuel your body well while on a budget!

  1. Make the Dining Hall Serve You – Those endless swipes on your dining hall card can certainly derail you if you’re not smart about your choices.
  • Most every dining hall has a salad bar so make salad your first and main portion by loading it with as many vegetables as you can and a generous serving of beans and healthy fats from avocados and nuts and seeds. Be wise about your salad dressing by selecting a vinegar based dressing and tossing your salad with dressing rather than drenching it. Confession: I believe freshman year was the first time I discovered Ranch dressing, using 2 large packets on a salad. While I don’t encourage calorie counting, these two packets added nearly 300 calories and 30 grams of fat to my “healthy” decision.
  • If baked or sweet potatoes are available create your own loaded spud with steamed and fresh veggies, beans, and salsa.
  • My sister’s college dining halls advertised their menu online a week in advance, which allowed her to pick her favorite spots for a healthy grab and go meal.
  1. Eat Out Smart – Most campuses have a Chipotle nearby, which is an excellent option for creating a nourishing salad or brown rice bowl. Add beans, your favorite salsa, and their amazing guacamole and you have a truly powerful meal! My Guide to Navigating Restaurants will provide you with further details on making wise decisions no matter where you eat.
  2. Make it a Community Event – If you live in a house, apartment or your dorm has a kitchen, make new friends by arranging a time to cook together. Make every Tuesday night a time to connect and create a nourishing meal with enough for leftovers. Meals are always better shared with others!
  3. Eat in Your Dorm with Ease
  • Dorm meals –
    • Overnight oats make a delicious and easy option for a grab and go breakfast, so do smoothies, trail mixes, and almond butter banana sandwiches.  Engine2’s College Greens post has 6 great ideas for cooking in your dorm whether you have a stove or not.
    • Amy’s has various soups and bean burritos that are excellent options for a quick meal.
  • Appliances – Ask for a rice cooker or Instant Pot as a graduation gift. They will be used well beyond college! Rice, quinoa, beans, and lentils can all be made in a rice cooker and an Instant Pot allows for the creation of endless meals without a stove and other appliances necessary. The Instant Pot serves as seven appliances in one and would allow any college student to make an array of meals with one pot and limited time. I certainly wish I had one in my college dorm!

I’d love to hear from you!  Do you have ways you ate healthy in college or are currently implementing nutritious choices while on campus?  Please share!:)

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