Monthly Archives: April 2015

Post 110: Finding a pleasant bathroom near the Central Pus Station, if only I could eat Kitnios on Passover, Healthy Spinach Cauliflower Soup

I try to keep a look-out for a clean bathroom in Jerusalem. That’s not to say that the many hotels will turn you down. Here’s the best hotel near the Central Bus Station: The Crown Plaza, tucked away behind Ninyanei Ha Uman, and recently renovated.


It comes in handy because we often wait for a tour bus outside Binyanei HaUman.


Crown Plaza Jerusalem
Walk to the left most side of the Binyanei Ha Uman parking lot and continue going behind the building past the movie entrance. Then you will see this awning covered path. Take it  to find the hotel.entrance.



If only I ate Kitnios on Passover:

A store on Aggripas Street became vacant on Passover. Or maybe the owner wanted a vacation and gave the store over to a relative. It’s gone now, but for Passover a tasty hot, kitnios meal was ready by means of an enterprising young woman who brought the food that was cooked in her kitchen.


This Kashrut symbol of Rav Machmud stands for a high level of Kashrut, highly respected. However, during Passover The Rav supervises baking with Kitnios, I did not know this and bought half a Kilo of the most delicious looking cookies. I had to forfeit them to a friend whose husband is from Belgium and the family eats Kitniot. I returned to the store and asked the owner if the cookies had kitniot. He looked at me rather surprised at the question. He replied” Only the best”.


Healthy Spinach Cauliflower Soup (Macrobiotic)

Ingredients: Small bunch of spinach or 10 oz frozen, 1 medium onion chopped, 3 cloves sliced garlic, Cleaned and cut cauliflower, mustard or thyme to taste


Remove the green leaves from the cauliflower, remove the stem and chop the florets coarsely.
Wash the spinach well, dry in a towel or salad spinner and chop coarsely.
In a stock pot, heat the oil over medium heat and add the garlic, cook for just 30 seconds.
Add the cauliflower, vegetable broth and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the half defrosted spinach and cook another 5 minutes, until the spinach is wilted, integrated into the soup and the cauliflower tender. Mix in the mustard and thyme.
Using a hand-held immersion blender, puree the soup in the pot until smooth.
Add pepper and additional salt to taste.



Post 109: Some Passover memories, PLANT LIST at Naot Kedumim, the teapot at Naot Kedumim, the walls, sheds and shelters constructed by volunteers, vegetables and herb combinations, the tale of mallow, Lymph massage therapists

This post describes two phenomena: natural terrain in Israel and  human terrain, the body. The energy observed on both surfaces is sometimes visable and also invisable since most of the flow is under the surface bubbling away. The visit to Naot Kedumim was extraordinary and demands another visit for each season.

I like to look back at Passover Outings: This year at Naot Kedumim:

The above link is to a well written film about Neot Kedumim

  1. Neot Kedumim, the Biblical Landscape Reserve in Israel Hebrew: נאות קדומים‎ is a Biblical garden and nature preserve located near Modi’in, mid-way between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Israel. The reserve began in the 1960’s.


    Neot Kedumim is an attempt to re-create the physical setting of the Bible. The park covers an area of about 2,500 dunams (2.5 km2; 0.97 sq mi) or 625 acres. The idea of planting such a garden dates back to 1925. In 1964, land was allocated for the project with the help of Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion.[

    Neot Kedumim comprises a series of natural and agricultural landscapes, among them the Forest of Milk and Honey, the Dale of the Song of Songs, Isaiah‘s Vineyard and the Fields of the Seven Species. Signs are posted throughout the garden quoting relevant Jewish texts in Hebrew and English.[

    Neot Kedumim offers pre-booked organized tours but is also accessible to individuals who can roam the site on their own with maps provided by the park.[5]


    When Ephraim and Hannah Hareuveni immigrated to Palestine in the 1920s, they dreamed of developing a biblical landscape reserve that “embodied the panorama and power of the landscapes that both shaped the values of the Bible and provided a rich vocabulary for expressing them”. Their son, Noga, a physicist, dedicated his life to implementing his parents’ dream. To build the park, thousands of tons of soil were trucked in, reservoirs were built to catch runoff rain water, ancient terraces, wine presses and ritual baths were restored, and hundreds of varieties of plants were cultivated. 

    In 1994 Neot Kedumim and Noga Hareuveni, the driving spirit behind the garden, were awarded the Israel Prize for their special contribution to society and the State of Israel.

  2. Address: Ben Shemen, Israel, equal distance to Mdiin, and Rehovot. outside of Lod
  3. Phone: +972 8-977-0777
  4. IMG_20150407_145413
    This structure is near the Summer Garden. It has wheels. I imagine it traveled the streets of Tel Aviv to refresh passersby and then was retired to this spot under a tree. I requested more details from Naot HaKedumim. When they respond, I will add the details here
    Relaxing in a hut covering an ancient oil press


    One of the many walls constructed over the years by volunteers


    PLANT LIST at Naot Kedumim; A Great Project-going back to Naot Kedumim and finding the plants!

    (in alphabetical order by Latin names)

    English common name Latin name Family English transliteration
    Negev acacia Acacia gerrardii Bentham subsp. negevensis Mimosaceae B shitah
    spiraled acacia Acacia raddiana Savi Mimosaceae B shitah
    almond Amygdalus communis L. Rosaceae B shaked, luz
    strawberry tree Arbutus andrachne L. Ericaceae k’talav
    asphodel Asphodelus ramosus Miller Liliaceae T yavlit
    saltplant Atriplex halimus L. Chenopodiaceae B maluakh
    balm of Gilead (possible ) Balanites aegyptiaca (L.) Delile Zygophyllaceae B? tzori, zakum
    Sodom apple Calotropis procera Aiton fil. Asclepiadaceae B a’ra’r
    spiny broom Calycotome villosa (Poiret) Link Papilionaceae B ezrakh
    caper Capparis spinosa L. Capparaceae T tzalaf
    cedar Cedrus libani Loud. Pinaceae B erez
    carob, also St. John’s bread Ceratonia siliqua L. Caesalpiniaceae B(?)
    Mediterranean redbud, also Judas tree Cercis siliquastrum L. Caesalpiniaceae klil hakhoresh
    varthemia Chiliadenus iphionoides (Boiss. et Blanche) Brullo Compositae bar sela
    pink rockrose (possible source of ladanum) Cistus creticus L. Cistaceae B? lot, lotem varod
    white rockrose (possible source of ladanum) Cistus salviifolius L. Cistaceae B? lot, lotem lavan
    fragrant rockrose (possible source of ladanum) Cistus sp. Cistaceae B? lot, lotem davik
    citron, also etrog Citrus medica L. Rutaceae T etrog
    myrrh (possible ) Commiphora abyssinica Engl. Burseraceae B? mor, commifora
    thyme Coridothymus capitatus (L.) Reichenb. Labiatae T siyya
    hawthorn Crataegus aronia (L.) D.C. Rosaceae B,T tapuakh, uzrad
    cypress Cupressus sempervirens L. Cupressaceae B te’ashur
    fig Ficus carica L. Moraceae B te’ena
    sycomore, also Egyptian fig Ficus sycomorus L. Moraceae B shikma
    barley Hordeum sp. Gramineae B seora
    inula Inula viscosa (L.) Ait. Compositae B sirpad
    walnut Juglans regia L. Juglandaceae B egoz
    laurel, also sweet bay (possible oil tree) Laurus nobilis L. Lauraceae B,T etz-shemen, dafna
    Spanish lavender Lavandula stoechas L. Labiatea T ezov kokhli
    henna Lawsonia inermis L. Lythraceae B (eshkol ha-) koffer
    hyssop Majorana syriaca (L.) Rafin. (Origanum Maru L.) Labiatae B ezov
    mandrake Mandragora autumnalis Bertol. Solanaceae B dudaim
    tea hyssop Micromeria fruticosa (L.) Druce Labiatea T ezov beit diklai, ezov hatey
    myrtle Myrtus communis L. Myrtaceae B hadass
    narcissus (possible lily of the valley) Narcissus tazetta L. Amaryllidaceae B shoshanat ha’amkim, narkiss
    oleander Nerium oleander L. Apocynaceae T harduf
    olive Olea europaea L. Oleaceae B zayit
    sand lily Pancratium maritimum L. Amaryllidaceae khavatzelet hakhof
    date palm Phoenix dactylifera L. Palmae B tamar
    reed Phragmites australis (Cav.) Steudel Gramineae B kaneh
    Jerusalem pine (possible oil tree) Pinus halepensis Miller Pinaceae B oren
    gum terebinth (possible balm of Gilead) Pistacia lentiscus L. Anacardiaceae B(?)
    tzori, mastikin, elat hamastik
    terebinth Pistacia palaestina Boiss. Anacardiaceae B elah
    pistachio Pistacia vera L. Anacardiaceae B,T botnim, botna, elat habotnim
    plane tree Platanus orientalis L. Platanaceae B,T armon, dolev
    white poplar Populus alba L. Salicaceae B tzaftzafa (makhsifa)
    willow-poplar, also Euphrates poplar Populus euphratica Oliver Salicaceae B,T arava, khilfa-gila
    prickly prosopis Prosopis farcta Macbride Mimosaceae B,T kharul, hizma (pl. hizmi)
    pomegranate Punica granatum L. Punicaceae B rimon
    apple Pyrus malus L. Rosaceae B tapuakh
    wild pear Pyrus syriaca Boiss. Rosaceae agass bar
    Kermes oak Quercus calliprinos Webb Fagaceae B alon, na’atzutz
    Tabor oak Quercus ithaburensis Decaisne Fagaceae B alon, nahalol
    white broom Retama raetam (Forssk.) Webb Papilionaceae B rotem
    buckthorn Rhamnus lycioides L. subsp. graeca Tutin Rhamnaceae T etzbonit
    sumac Rhus coriaria L. Anacardiaceae T og
    castor oil tree, also Jonah’s gourd Ricinus communis L. Euphorbiaceae B kikayon
    wild rose, also dog rose Rosa canina L. Rosaceae T shoshana, vered (hakelev)
    madder Rubia tenuifolia Dum.-Urville Rubiaceae T puah shel tzlaot
    dyer’s madder Rubia tinctorum L. Rubiaceae T puah shel idit, puat hatzabaim
    raspberry Rubus sanguineus Friv. Rosaceae T sneh, petel
    willow Salix acmophylla Boiss. Salicaceae B arava
    pungent sage Salvia dominica L. Labiatae B moriah (kharifa)
    three-leafed sage Salvia fruticosa Miller Labiatae B moriah (meshuleshet)
    Jerusalem sage Salvia hierosolymitana Boiss. Labiatae B moriah (hararit)
    Judean sage Salvia judaica Boiss. Labiatae B moriah, moriat yehuda
    thorny burnet, also poterium Sarcopoterium spinosum (L.) Spach Rosaceae B,T seerim, seera
    whorled savory Satureja thymbra L. Labiatae T ezov romi
    golden thistle Scolymus maculatus L. Compositae B khoakh
    yellow broom Spartium junceum L. Papilionaceae akhirotem
    storax Styrax officinalis L. Styracaceae B livneh
    tamarisk Tamarix sp. Tamaricaceae B eshel
    poley Teucrium polium L. Labiatea T ezovion
    spiked thymbra Thymbra spicata L. Labiatae T ezov midbari
    wheat Triticum sp. Gramineae B khitta
    Sharon tulip (possible rose of Sharon) Tulipa sharonensis Dinsm. Liliaceae B khavatzelet hasharon
    cattail Typha domingensis (Pers.) Steudel Typhaceae B soof
    white squill Urginea maritima (L.) Baker Liliaceae T khatzav
    Abraham’s bush Vitex agnus-castus L. Verbenaceae siakh avraham
    grapevine Vitis vinifera L. Vitaceae B gefen
    jujube Ziziphus spina-christi (L.) Desf. Rhamnaceae B

A Taste of Mallow (Malva nicaeensis)

“Can what is tasteless be eaten without salt?  Does slimy halamot juice have any flavor?” (Job 6:6).

These descriptions are made by Job as he laments the terrible downturn his life has taken. He claims that life is meant to hold certain undeniable, reliable truths such as the tastelessness of unsalted food or the repugnant sensation of juice of the halamot.

Regarding these foods he adds “I refuse to touch them; they are like food when I am sick” (6:7).

Biblical commentators have struggled to identify the halamot of verse 6.  Some suggestions include meaningless (“tasteless”) words, or egg whites, or and a particular cheese called “halum” in Arabic that secrets a slimy juice and has a vile taste. Every one of these identifications relies, among other things, on the etymology of the word itself.

Other commentators and scholars believe that halamot refers to a plant.  Here too, several possible candidates have been suggested over the years.

Today it is widely accepted by scholars that the halamot is in fact a plant and it has been identified as Malva nicaeensis, or mallow, whose modern Hebrew name, halamit, is almost identical to the biblical halamot.  The plant is easily recognized by its edible fruit that resemble a small, round loaf of sliced bread. Inverting the Hebrew letters gives us the word lehem – bread. This is also reflected in the Arabic name for the plant – hubeza, from the Arabic word hubz, bread. The round leaves of the mallow are edible only after they are cooked, which removes the slimy juice.

The mallow is an annual plant that reaches a height of some 50 cm (20 inches). It blossoms from February to June, and has pink, five-petaled leaves, approximately 2.5 cm (about one inch) in diameter.

Mallows thrive on nitrogen, and are therefore commonly found in cultivated areas, by road sides, in gardens, garbage heaps, and grazing areas where livestock drop their nitrogen-rich manure. The genus Malva includes some 30 species that are found throughout Europe, Asia and Africa.  A small number of Malva species found their way to other parts of the world, including the United States.  Israel is home to six species of the plant, and at Neot Kedumim visitors can see the mallow (Malva nicaeensis) and the small-flowered mallow (Malva parviflora).

In folk medicine, mallow is used to bandage wounds and reduce swelling. Studies have found that the mallow is rich in tannins, anti-bacterial components, anti-oxidants, as well as vitamin A, which also makes it a useful ingredient in shampoo to strengthen hair follicles.

The mallow spreads itself over a large area and is an integral part of the green landscape that characterizes Israel in the winter months. This green covering was a part of the natural outdoor “buffet table” of our ancestors during the winter months when the fruit trees they cultivated were in deep hibernation.  This “vegetable of the field” is an important addition to the diet of animals and people. “As the ox consumes the vegetable of the field” (Numbers 22:4), certainly included the mallow.


In the modern history of the State of Israel, this plant also holds a place of honor regarding the steadfast courage of the pre-state Jewish population of Jerusalem. In November 1947 the United Nations ratified the Partition Plan that created Jewish state. The response of Jerusalem’s Arabs and the Jordanian legion was swift: the city’s Jews were attacked and the Old City placed under siege. By spring of 1948, the Arab forces cut the main road into Jerusalem, making it impossible to bring food and other basic supplies into the city.

The military governor of Jerusalem at the time, Canadian-born Dov Yosef, later wrote in his book “The Faithful City: The Siege of Jerusalem, 1948” that to survive the siege and assuage the pangs of hunger, the residents had their children go into the nearby fields and pick mallows – halamit. The plant tastes like spinach, and it was packaged and sold in Jerusalem as “New Zealand spinach.” On local radio broadcasts people were told how to prepare the “spinach.”  However, the Jordanians also listened to the Hebrew broadcasts and when they heard that the besieged Jews were eating hubeza – the food of poor people and donkeys, they realized that the situation of the Jews was so dire that the Old City of Jerusalem would soon fall. So the Jews stopped the radio broadcasts, and passed on the culinary information via runners and word of mouth.  The food was not fancy. But it did allow the Jews of Jerusalem to hold out and survive the siege.

The short winter months and the green covering of nature give us the chance to know the abundance of edible plants of the field, like the halamit. Gathering the leaves and preparing them into edible, even tasty, food makes for a unique healthy culinary experience as well as a cultural experience that gives us a taste of how our forefathers lived in this land, and how they used the natural flora to enrich their winter dietary needs.

While the mallow may have been known as the food of the poor, it is often the poor who have the knowledge and understanding to distinguish between plants that are edible and healthy, and those that are not.  These are the people who have the wisdom of nature to sense the true grace of God to provide for them. The 8th century BCE Greek poet Hesiod wrote that the rich were “stupid…they know not how much more full the half is than the whole, or how much can be benefitted from the mallow.”



Vegetable Herb Combinations:  (Protein Herb combinations will appear In Post 112) Just a sprinkle, so simple

Broccoli Caraway, oregano

Cabbage Caraway, celery seed, mint, tarragon

Carrots Basil, bay leaf, ginger, mint, oregano, thyme

Cauliflower Marjoram, nutmeg

Corn Cumin, curry powder, paprika

Green Beans Basil, cloves, marjoram, savory marjoram, parsley

Salad greens Basil, chives, marjoram, mint, tarragon, thyme

Squash Allspice, cloves, curry powder, ginger, nutmeg, rosemary, sage

Tomatoes Basil, bay leaf, cloves, dill, marjoram, nutmeg, oregano

What is lymph drainage?

Lymphatic Massage Therapy

massage lymphatic

What is lymphatic massage?
Lymphatic massage, also called lymphatic drainage or manual lymph drainage, is a technique developed in Germany for treatment of lymphedema, an accumulation of fluid that can occur after lymph nodes are removed during surgery, most often a mastectomy for breast cancer. Lymphedema can also be present at birth or develop at puberty or during adulthood. This type, known as primary lymphedema, can affect as many as four limbs and/or other parts of the body. The cause is unknown. Lymphatic massage for conditions other than lymphedema is not medically recommended, although it may be promoted by some therapists.

What conditions is lymphatic massage used for?
Up to 25 percent of breast cancer patients whose surgery includes removal of lymph nodes in the area of the armpit eventually develop lymphedema. The condition can also occur in the legs or other parts of the body if lymph nodes are removed in the course of other types of surgery – for melanoma, colon, prostate or bladder cancer, for example – or are damaged by radiation treatment, infection or trauma. Symptoms include swelling and pain near the site of the removed or damaged lymph nodes. Lymphedema can occur immediately after radiation therapy or surgery, or weeks, months, and even years later.

What should one expect on a visit to a practitioner of lymphatic massage?
A lymphatic massage session for women who develop lymphedema after surgery for breast cancer starts with light massage on the surface of the skin of the neck. The therapist gently rubs, strokes, taps or pushes the skin in directions that follow the structure of the lymphatic system so that accumulated lymph fluid can drain through proper channels. Lymphatic drainage is very gentle, is not painful and doesn’t have a stimulating effect. Each session lasts from 45 to 60 minutes, and therapy usually is performed once a day four or five times a week for two to four weeks. One study showed that the greatest reduction in swelling from lymphedema occurs in the first week of treatment and stabilizes during the second week.

Are there any side effects or conditions where lymphatic massage should be avoided?
The National Lymphedema Network lists four circumstances under which lymphatic massage or drainage should be avoided:

  1. When patients who have developed lymphedema after surgery experience a sudden, marked increase in localized swelling. Under these circumstances, patients are advised to stop treatment and to see their physicians for evaluation as soon as possible.
  2. Patients with a sudden onset of lymphangitis (an infection) should immediately discontinue treatment until the infection is treated and completely clears up. Patients who are at increased risk for blood clotting should be tested to rule out deep-venous thrombosis before being treated. During treatment, these patients should be followed closely, and testing should be performed on a regular basis.
  3. Patients who have congestive heart failure must be monitored closely to avoid moving too much fluid too quickly, which could put a strain on the heart.
  4. When pain is present, treatment should be discontinued until the underlying cause has been determined and the pain subsides. (Dr. Weil)

אזור ירושלים performing lymph massage; I understand that Meuchedet also pays to cover visits to independent therapists. however, for patients,
 who have congestive heart failure, this therapy is not recommended by most doctors, since the patient must be monitored closely to avoid moving too much fluid too quickly, which could put a strain on the heart.

אבו אחמד אסרא קופ”ח כללית מכון מקור ברוך ושיח גראח ירושלים 052-5909752
אבו גזולה מונייה אל טור, ירושליםת.ד. 51420 052-299857202-6281255
אבו דיאב רובא ירושלים\ שועפאטמכבי שירותי בריאות
עמותת אלאמירה בסמה בירושלים
אמיתי-עמיחי נעה מכבי: רמת בית שמשפרטי: מושב מטעד.נ. מטה יהודהפרטי: רח’ עמק רפאים ירושלים 054-2649770
בן דב בת-עמי מכבי ירושלים
כפר תפוח ד.נ. אפרים 44829
ע- -02-6238230ב-  03-6427502050-8803765
ברגמן אסתר כ”ח באייר 27/5 אלון שבות’מאוחדת’ ירושלים, סניף גילהקליניקה:בית הטיילת תלפיות 054-724083402-6468640
בר- משה שרון כללית בית שמשרחוב מטע  10 בית שמש 02-992169602-9910775054-4691820
ברק אלקה קופ”ח כללית מכון רמות אשכולירושלים 02-5889595050-5875690
גולדפיין שולה מאוחדת ירושלים
יצהר 56/13 גבעת קנדה ירושלים
ע- 02-5314552
ב- 02-6763410050-6617512
גילה  יעל מכבי מודיעין 08-9704115050-8464633
גינסבורג טלי רח’ סוקולוב 18  ירושלים 02-5632997054-6249695
דולב תהילה כללית מודיעין-רעות-מכבים. קשת11 רעות ת.ד 604 מיקוד 71799 ע- 08-9735534050-9866866
הראל שלמה ר’ח הדורית 262מודיעין-מכבים-רעות  71799 054-7632399
ווכטל סרינה יד בנימין, בית שמש, קריית גת, גדרה. 054-7607150
וולץ אסתי קופ”ח  רמות אשכול פארן 12
בן עזאי 5 בקעה, י-ם. 93505
ע- 02-5889503
ב- 02-6722824
זינגרביץ’ נעה ירושלים, ניל”י, מודיעיןמכבי שירותי בריאות ירושלים 0543974054
זלוטניק רקפת ב- הנורית 109/18 ירושליםמכבי אגריפס 40 ירושלים 052-4508765
חחיאשוילי דקלה נוקדים  ד.נ. צפון יהודהמיקוד 90916 02-9925040050-4917860
טווינה שרי מושב טירת יהודה-חבל מודיעיןע – הדסה עין כרם 054-2341577
לוי ערן קליניקה: פיזיואקטיב-אצטדיון טדי, ירושליםמאוחדת: ירושלים 054-2560189
לם חיה רח’ צונדק 30 י-םמורגנטאו 56 י-ם. 97225 ע- 02-5863020
ב- 02-5866646
מוהתדי אמירה ירושלים העיר העתיקה עקבת אלסראיא 543120774549723535
סופר איריס מושב מעון ד.נ הר חברוןמאוחדת קרית ארבע 058-4903672
סקוויל בתיה שיריזלי 11 נחלאות ירושלים 054-9067566
עובדיה מורית נהר פרת 10/5 נחלאות ירושליםלאומית, טרומפלדור 3 ירושלים 050-833443802-5675103
צונץ דפנה ‘מאוחדת’ פסגת זאב, רח’ משהדיין 106, ירושלים 02-5843444050-2081834
שטייניץ ניצה כללית, פיזיותרפיה גילהנעמי 10 אבו תור י-ם 93552 ע-  02-6469238ב-  02-6711031



Post 108: Yom Ha Atzmaut: Photos from Mirkas Ha’Ir Jerusalem, Mapo Tofu Goes Vegetarian.

Mapo Tofu Goes Vegetarian.


  • 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 cups water
  • 15 ounce block of soft tofu (do not use silken), or marinated tempeh
  • Salt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 small dried hot red peppers or less as you choose
  • 1 tablespoon fermented black beans, rinsed or use adzuki beans
  • 1 tablespoon fermented spicy broadbean paste (doubanjiang)or to keep it mild white miso
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground Sichuan pepper
  • 1 tablespoon corn- or potato starch, dissolved in 3 tablespoons cold water
  • ½ cup slivered scallions, both white and green parts
  • Cilantro sprigs, for garnish


  1. Remove stems from mushrooms. Make a light mushroom broth by simmering stems in 2 cups water for 15 minutes, then strain and reserve broth (discard stems). Dice mushroom caps and set aside.
  2. Cut tofu/tempeh into 1-inch cubes. Cover with boiling salted water, let steep for 15 minutes, then drain.
  3. Put oil in a wok or wide skillet over medium heat. Add red peppers, black beans and bean paste and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add garlic and ginger and let sizzle, then add mushrooms, soy sauce, sesame oil and Sichuan pepper. Add 1 1/2 cups mushroom broth and cook mixture gently for 2 minutes.
  4. Carefully add tofu cubes. Shake pan to distribute sauce, using a wooden spoon to help. Try to avoid smashing tofu. Drizzle in cornstarch mixture, gently swirling pan to incorporate (sauce will thicken) and simmer tofu in sauce for 2 minutes more. Thin with a little mushroom broth if necessary. Transfer to a low bowl or platter. Sprinkle with scallions and cilantro sprigs.        


Post 107: TED X Conference Jerusalem Hebrew University, Juicing at Chabas on Jaffo, Watercress Soup

I was part of a TED-LIKE experience. What is a TED_LIKE experience? I did not know about the program until I arrived. There were TED Talks videos, live speakers, all around the theme of INSIDE OUT. The aim was to give a glimpse of Jerusalem’s science, culture, technology, and to hopefully use these mediums to bridge the divide between the many Jerusalem Communities. Many “Social Enterprises” were featured. Giving freedom and voice to disabled and disenfranchised through the arts was a main focus.

TEDxJerusalem took place on Tuesday April 14th, 2015 at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Mount Scopus Campus, Mexico Hall.  There were many sessions of enthusiastic speakers. The activity depicted in the above photo was done by member of the audience.  They were asked to share their thought on what they are thankful for.

There were seats for 800 odd English speakers. People from all ages filled the auditoium, all trying to find their “nitch” in Israel.  I understand that several thousand wanted to participate. Our fees ranged from 175sh-250sh. That’s $60.00-$75.00, a low price affording many students the opportunity to attend the day long event.

The crowd enthusiastically  applauded on demand. I was not present for the first few presentations. Nevertheless, by the last presentation, felt that I had earned free entrance to a performance by the Israeli superstar David Broza, whose 30 albums speak of Peace and Love.

The were three Tech Talks, one The future Of Health Care, describe personalized on demand stem-cell therapy. It was delivered by Yael Poat, PHD in Immunology of BioGenCEll. This bionic industry will be a great boon to Israel. Regional centers  will host foreigners willing to spend large sums for treatment. These therapies will be out of reach of most Israelis for quite a while.

The talk by Matan Berkowitz was entitled, How Can Music Change Lives, was worth the price of admission. He received a standing ovation. His eclectic knowledge of engineering and music is called music technology.

If Beethoven were alive today, he might stimulate his brain with electrodes so he could  “hear” music.Berkowitz demonstrated how deaf, blind, speechless, and handicapped people benefit from the tools that he developed to create and perform music. He develped an electric hand for a performer to use in lieu of a hand that she had lost in an accident.

Professor Oded Shoseyov’s talk on a plant molecule resilin  was thrilling.

CNC is Nanochrystal Celulose and resilon is a new substance
This new flexible material will provide high jumps.
The material will also broaden architecture to include curved walls and windows.

There were a total of 16 presenters:



Jewish Educator, Spiritual Mentor, and Author




Founder and CEO – BioGenCell Ltd


Interdisciplinary artist and entrepreneur




Chef and Entrepreneur


Faculty Member of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

ALON NEUMAN-Fertility Treatment and Men



VP for Business Development at Voiceitt


Independent Artist


CEO of Coolnet


Author, Speaker and Journalist

DR. AYELET LANDAU Brain Rhythm and Attention

ALI ABU AWWAD Non Violent Activist


Advertising, Media & Film Haredi Woman’s Party Candidate for the Knesset

A very nice aspect of the program was that all the speakers were available during the breaks for conversation. They weren’t scooted to the back. However, for an event that professed to be inclusive, I saw no evidence of making space available for Charedi men and women to participate. The men and women would need to be seated in separate rooms, watching the presentation on a monitor. When the women present and comment , charedi men would have been offered alternative TED talks. And kosher food. And the opportunity to mingle among themselves.



 Juicing at Chabas on Jaffo

I brought an empty pasta sauce jar to my favorite juice bar, “Chabas”, on Yaffo. The counter lady filled it up to the top giving me about 4 servings. My charge was for only 2.

Watercress Soup


  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter/olive oil
  • 2 cups leeks, white or yellow onion, chopped
  • Salt
  • 1 cup white wine, chicken stock, or vegetable stock (wine or veg stock for vegetarian version)
  • 1 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 6 cups water
  • 6 cups fresh watercress, about 1/2 pound, chopped, stems included
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper omitted
  • About 6 Tbsp sour cream, stirred in, or for garnish-I left it out



watercress-soup-1.jpg watercress-soup-2.jpg

1 In a large pressure cooker pot, heat the oil until steamy, then cook the onions over medium heat until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Salt the onions as they cook. Add the wine or stock, potatoes and water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, cover the pressure cooker pot and simmer until the potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes. Let pressure drop.

watercress-soup-3.jpg watercress-soup-4.jpg

2 Add the watercress to the pot. Stir well and cook for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and purée the soup with an immersion blender.

3 Soup is ready! Adapted from:

Post 106: Charging your phone at the Central Bus Station, Jeusalem, Visiting the Rav card Office at the Central Bus Station


You probably don’t recognize the object in the photo. But you can be sure that every soldier is familiar with it. This gadget contains several outlets enabling travelers to charge their cell phones. It is positioned on a public wall on the entry-level to the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem. I understand that the bus to Beit Shemesh has phone charger hook-ups under the seats.

Visiting the Rav card Office at the Central Bus Station:

I want to share with you some tips about negotiating the bureaucratic enmeshments at the Rav Card offices:

The case of the missing Rav Card.

My grandson had a missing Rav Card with a balance on it. When he reported it missing at Central Bus Station, the clerk requested that he sign a document, and he awaited his refund, The refund did not come to his house, but a letter from Rav Card stating that to receive  his 3.5 Sheckels refund, by the way,much lower than he had deposited into his card, he’d be required to return a second time to the Rav Card Office at the Central Bus Station. Of course my grand-son didn’t bother.

I saw a similar scam in the making. I too went to the office to report a lost card and meekly accepted the clerks words that I would receive a paper worth the full 16 trips on my lost card. I had the slip from the bus driver with the number of trips and the card number. I also had a receipt of my original trip purchase on the card. The clerk took the card and threw it in the garbage. I tried to speak with a supervisor, but no-one would help me. I know now that this first meeting is the preliminary stage that one must go thru to obtain a refund.

Is it worth your while to go to the Central Bus Station twice for 60 sheckels? There were calls to the Rav Card Office to consider. Although I could not negotiate the refund on the phone, I did get the name of the supervisor in the Central Bus Station office and I had the name of the person on the phone who helped me. I also received a paper offering me the meager sum of 3.5 sheckels refund like one that my grandson received.

On my second trip to the Rav Card Office, I took a number and walked up to a blue shirted staff member who seemed to be trying to move people in and out of the office. I explained my problem, and showed him that I had evidence. He took my Teudat Zahut and at a phone/printer, I overheard him say that I had the Petak, (receipt).

He apologized and I received a paper giving credit for the full amount, half on the Rav Card and half in cash, which was provided at the Kupah.

Why did I spend time on such a trivial amount of money? I would like to warn you that it’s possible that you could, with enough gusto, and evidence possibly squeeze the refund out of the clerk on the first trip.  Israel is a country, like most, with more than several people who need jobs. The clerk at the Rav Card office only makes about 24 sheckels per hour.

It was satisfying in the end when I was given special consideration. And that money can’t buy.

Post 105: In the end all we got is an attic, trying new foods and taking the time to cook

I guess to Jews in Europe, an attic wasn’t considered a big asset.

Yiddish for being fooled, conned, swindled, duped, never materialized, didn’t end up happening, a hoax


היה סתם מתיחה, תעלול, משהו שלא קרא בסוף, הוליך שולל


עס האָט זיך אויסגעלאָזט אַ בּוידעם


es hot zikh oysgelozt a boydem


it ended up being an attic

Trying New Foods:

1) If you can manage to break away from eating precessed and sugary foods, foods that you didn’t like will start to “grow” on you. I like to combine vegetables like butternut or acorn squash into a chocolate cake.


Taking the time to cook:

1) I like before preparing  a dish to have all the peelings off and ready to go in the fridge.

2) A big saver of time is to cut wedges that will fit into your food processor.

It also makes the job easier to square off the load into the feeder tube

3)I used my pressure cooker to prepare adzuki beans. First soaked the beans, then used the pressure cooker for about one hour and let the pressure drop before opening the lid.

This Soltan Pressure cooker is Israeli made. I did not know how to use it. The instructions were only in Hebrew. I called the factory and they patiently explained the process. There is no gasket to deteriorate.

The beans were not cooked enough after the hour. I replaced the pressure cooker cover with a regular cover and brought the contents back to a simmer and let that go for another hour. The result were perfect soft beans.

4) The bean cooking could have been broken down to two stages depending upon your schedule. At the same time I had my skillet going with a stir fry of carrots, onions, green squash, pumpkin, and yellow squash, all prepared with a thin slicer attachment on my food processor.

5) Veggies should be stored separately after cooking. They will last longer.

Post 104: Designing products for the disabled, Eating Healthy Affordably

Designing products for the disabled.  Israel’s Tikkun Olam Makers (TOM) held a 3-day make-a-thon – a unique marathon in Tel Aviv, geared to producing affordable and cutting-edge products that will significantly improve the lives of people living with disabilities.

– This system allows people who are paralyzed from the neck down to turn pages in a book. (ZOA Productions)

This system allows people who are paralyzed from the neck down to turn pages in a book. (ZOA Productions)

For three days in Tel Aviv, a group of innovators and makers recently took part in a unique marathon geared to producing affordable and cutting-edge products that will significantly improve the lives of people living with disabilities.

The TOM:TLV make-a-thon brought together technologists, designers, therapists, and people with disabilities  who developed ideas and products that address the challenges of people living with disabilities, their family members, and health-care professionals.

Participants had access to 3D printers, laser-cutting machines, and CNC machines (computer-operated milling devices). They built models and prototypes of aids for people with disabilities that organizers intend to develop for widespread use in the near future.

These unusual crutches allow people to simultaneously use cellphones while also relieving shoulder pressure. (Photo credit: ZOA Productions)

TOM (Tikkun Olam Makers), an initiative of the Reut Institute and ROI Community, is a movement of makers, technology developers, and innovators who seek to solve unmet social challenges in disadvantaged communities and nations, fulfilling the traditional Jewish value of Tikkun Olam – repairing the world.

The Ruderman Family Foundation, who is spearheading innovative efforts to include people with disabilities throughout the global Jewish community, joined TOM:TLV as a strategic partner, with the hope of producing affordable and cutting-edge products that will significantly improve the lives of people living with disabilities.

The most recent event focused on product development teams to help people with disabilities be more independent and get more involved in their communities.

This prototype turns physical therapy into a game, allowing users to play while making significant progress in their rehabilitation. (ZOA Productions)

8 Tips on Ways You Can Eat Healthy for Less Money from Fertility Diet Tips

1. Buy in Bulk-Join the various “Schoonatis” around Jerusalem-at no fee. Go to: Post 21: Israel Food buying Co-op: Get ready for a Balagan for details

The key to saving money on organic food purchases is to buy in bulk. If   you can find a purveyor of staples and frozen items that’s the best way to go. Suppliers are willing to work with you for cash up front. Our family works with two sources and restock every month or two. Delivery is not always included.

Purchasing food from bulk bins eliminates the cost of fancy, glamorous packaging and waste from that packaging. Dried fruits, nuts, seeds, seed and nut butters, honey, grains, beans, granola, and tea are available from bulk bins, or available in larger packages if a bulk bin retailer isn’t available in your area. Purchasing rice and dried beans in one and two pound bags is less expensive in the long run than purchasing canned beans and prepared rice side dishes in boxes (there’s also less packaging, less sodium, fewer preservatives and less processing involved).

Should your local grocery store not have a bulk aisle, there may be a membership-only warehouse food buying club in your area. These often carry a variety of fresh and pre-packaged food items, with many organic options. This option may not be ideal for those of you also looking to cut out excessive packaging, but does allow for you to buy more, for less. This means less trips to the grocery store, more food in your fridge and pantry and more money in your pocketbook.

The not-for-profit Center for the Study of Services conducted the Consumers’ Checkbook survey that found that Sam’s Club prices were on average 33% lower, BJ’s prices were on average 29% lower and Costco’s prices on average 30% lower, than the largest supermarket chains.

Another option is to join an organic food-buying club. If you live in a city, you may be able to find a local one. If not, I know you can find some online organic buying clubs where purchases are all done on a website and then they ship directly to you.

Food-buying clubs also create the opportunity for families to coordinate shopping trips, go in on larger purchases (think rice, beans, oats, apples, onions), share membership fees and shop together.

2. Choose Minimally Processed Foods

Foods that are handled less are often cheaper. Are you thinking, “what?” Bare with me… If the food item you choose has been broken down in a way to create ease of preparation, the cost will be more. The best example is chicken. A whole fryer chicken (skin, bones and often giblets) for sale costs less than prepackaged boneless, skinless chicken breasts. In my local grocery store a whole cage-free chicken can cost as little as $5.99/lb., but a package of two or three chicken breasts of the same brand costs $6.99/lb. Purchasing an entire chicken may also provide meat for several meals versus just one.

3. Eat Seasonally and Locally

Farm to Table

Most areas of the world experience at least two different seasons, some of us experience four each year. Different plants flourish and produce more fruits and vegetables in different seasons. Fruits and vegetables are less expensive in the seasons in which they are grown. I often think of blueberries. Where I live, in the Spring blueberries can often be purchased by the carton for anywhere from .$98 to $1.99 a pound and prices quickly spike to $3.99 to $4.99 a pound in the late Fall and Winter when they aren’t growing here or anywhere near here.

Late in the summer a local CSA, Community Supported Agriculture farm, had an overabundance of peppers and if we are willing to drive to the farm, peppers could be purchased three for $1.00… locally and organically-grown, vibrant, large peppers for cheap.

Do some research on local organic farms in your area and see how you can keep in touch with them, so you know which foods are in season and when. There is great satisfaction in knowing where your food is coming from, and it will contain more nutritional value. Why? This is because fresh local produce, doesn’t have to be shipped cross-country, which means there is less time for nutrient loss.

5. Compare and Save – Clip Coupons and Sale Shop

I have joined two local heath food chains. The charge was minimal and I watch for their sales. Many grocery stores and markets have their own brand of organic and health food. Take time to learn if your favorite food retailer has it’s own brand, connect with the establishment on social media or sign up for eNewsletters too. This is often how stores promote products and offer coupons.

Another way to save is to stock up when there is a sale, especially on items consumed regularly.

6. Barter

Do you have a talent to share with others or enjoy a particular activity you might offer doing for someone in return for the food they grow? I have a dear friend whose mother is a large-scale gardener. They both in exchange for my herbal knowledge and the occasional herbal remedy will share produce or preserved goods.

7. Grow Your Own Food-Join a Pot Luck group like Macrolovers Jerusalem for ideas.Start a roof garden

Fertility Diet Tip - Grown Your Own FoodPlease read on because you don’t need acreage, or to be a farmer to grow your own food. There are a variety of ways to grow food. I know not everyone has land to till and sow. In fact, not everyone who will read this even has a yard. So, consider the following ways to grow your own food and  the people that you will  meet in the process of putting a roof garden together.  Accomplishing the job chik-chock (quickly), some might say would entail one stop at the  nursery choosing some annual plants, some shade loving plants,  and bags of earth. Of course raised up pots and  drip irrigation from our apartment on a pump and timer would be in place . That activity would throw some sheckels into the economy.

But, running the water seems costly in the long run and risky because we are not always here. And the piping would have to extend over 4 flights outside the window. And trial and error would have been my dad’s way to go.  The conditions are harsh six flights up. the heat and the wind are permanent factors. The need to have a pretty space was not vital. That would be later down the line.

My roof garden started  a few years ago. Friends contributed cuttings. Others shared their composting worms. I have moved the composting bin indoors to my machsan (storeroom). The weather on the roof is too harsh in the summers and winters.

Several weeks ago I came across eight wooden flats. They were standing outside the art store on the corner. They looked perfect for a base for planters.

Many of you are familiar with composting.  Simply put, composting turns green scraps from vegetables into compost,  which helps plants thrive. Compost also holds water and releases it slowly. Water consumption is taken very seriously in Israel.


  • Plant a garden – till and sow seeds in a part of your yard you are sick of mowing or that is unused, or build raised bed gardens in this space. Another option is container gardening on a deck or patio.
  • Grow Indoors – window sills are sufficient for growing herbs and microgreens which are small leaved greens that researchers are learning have nearly four to six times the nutrient levels of the mature leaves from the same plant. Some examples of microgreens are spinach, pea shoots, beets or purple mustard greens, daikon radish, arugula, cilantro, and even basil. Many of these plants just spring out of my compost.
  • Rent a community garden plot – plots of land are popping up in even the smallest towns around the US and being designated to gardening. They are available in Jerusalem at the Nature Museum in the German Colony. These spaces also encourage community around growing ones food.

Before you begin, do a little research into what grows well in your area (hardiness zone), soil types best for the veggies, herbs and fruits you are interested in growing and what levels of light are best based on which direction your windows and garden plots face. This will help you to grow your own produce more successfully.

8. Slowly Transition to Organic

If you can’t purchase organic everything, here are a few tips to start making the transition from conventional to organic:

  • Fruits and Vegetables – Focus on the dirty dozen. It is believed that produce with skins that can be removed are less likely to pass harmful pesticides and herbicide residueonto those who consume them. According to the Environmental Working Group the top 12 foods most commonly grown with pesticides and tend to have pesticide residue on them, or within them are apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, sweet bell peppers, nectarines – imported, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas and potatoes.
  • Meat & Dairygrass-fed, hormone-free, or organic meat and dairy options are best. Choose lean meat options and high-fat dairy. Eggs should be cage-free.
  • Focus on eating foods that pack a healthy punch like avocado, beans, flax seeds, kale, swiss chard, beets, celery and arugula. Each of these provide a variety of fertility health benefits, from healthy fats and nutrients, vitamins and minerals, to enzymes and fiber.

It is important to know that it is perfectly okay to start transitioning your diet by taking baby steps, starting small. It wasn’t an overnight transition for myself and my family and still isn’t complete. I now have jars of grains, beans, nuts and dried fruits on my pantry shelves and don’t have to purchase these staples nearly as often, allowing me to be able to put my food dollars toward organic food items more often. We recently were able to purchase a quarter of a grass-fed cow to stock our freezer.

Eating healthy is a way of LIFE. Sure, it can take a bit of leg work at first, but the health benefits are worth it.

Post 103: Keeping clothing longer with a Simple trick, Day 3: Reading food labels, Basic Diabetes Type two foods to stock up


The simple trick is controlling the temperature of your home washer.

I discovered that a new piece of lingerie lost the stretch in the waistband after 3 washings. When I am dissatisfied I return to where I purchased the item.

Katherina from Argentina, the owner of I’Gool on Rechove Agrippas shared her secret. Adjust the temperature to 30 degrees and use a short cycle. In Israel we don’t have a gentle cycle.


Look at the care instructions on the label. Except for delicate fabrics and ornate decoration, many panties can be washed in the machine. If there are stains, apply a delicate wash or stain treatment and let the panties soak for a few minutes. Then, wash in the machine using the delicate cycle ( 30 degrees C = 86 degrees F, 34 minutes, super quick spin)  with other lightweight items.

My machine had a means of adjusting the temperatures for the several cycles. Check your use and care booklet.

Mesh lingerie bags will keep panties from twisting or catching on other garments. If you prefer washing cotton undies in hot water, do so, although it may shorten the life of your panties. Like bras, air-dry. The dryer is not lingerie’s friend.

 The following is a discussion of sugars present in processed foods, essentially,what to stay away from for clean eating.

What to Eat – and What Not to Eat

First, I’ll start out with the bad news. Clean eating means no more cans of soup, no more candy bars and no more white bread and processed lunch meats. No bacon, ham, fried chicken, fish stix, or French fries. A fast food burger is out, and so are the chocolate shake and onion rings. No chocolate milk, baked beans, ice cream, frozen dinners, pizzas, chips, dips, soda and fruit-flavored beverages. Most yogurt is not allowed, and neither are cookies, pies, and cakes.Most canned goods are not allowed because they often contain added sugars, fats or sodium. Meals that come in boxes or bags are not allowed either.Okay, that’s enough – it’s no fun to think about what you can’t eat, so focus on what you can eat.All fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and whole grain products made without preservatives are allowed on a clean eating diet.Fresh meat, poultry, fish are fine, as long as you keep them simple – no heavy breading, sauces or creams.Dairy products are fine as long as they don’t contain extra flavorings. Cooking methods count in a clean eating plan, too. Baking, broiling, roasting and steaming are best. Avoid dishes that must be fried. No added sugars, fats or seasoning salts. Use fresh herbs and spices to flavor your meals.Whether you cut out all processed and junk foods or not, it’s still important to eat a balanced diet with low-fat calcium sources, a small amount of healthy omega-3 and monounsaturated fats and lean protein sources.

Shopping is Going to involve conscious decisions

It’s going to take some work if you buy anything that’s packaged, but with some practice, you’ll get used to it.How do you know if you shouldn’t eat something? Check the food label. If it contains ingredients you can’t pronounce or have never heard of, then it’s best to put the product back on the shelf and find something made with simple ingredients.Organic foods are often cleaner than regular foods. You still need to read the labels to avoid excess fats and refined grains, but organic foods are usually good choices.

What About Restaurant Dining?

Eating at any restaurant is going to be rough, unless you find a place that specializing in fresh foods and local fare. Even then – don’t be afraid to ask questions about how each dish is prepared.The best bet is to order a salad and ask for oil and vinegar served on the side. Add a whole grain roll. The main course may be more difficult, but if nothing on the menu looks right, ask if you can have your fish, chicken or meat baked, broiled or grilled and served with a baked potato or green vegetables. It’s okay to add a little butter or sour cream to your potato, but hold the gravy, unless it’s made from scratch.Most clean eaters choose to eat 5 to 6 smaller meals a day, but counting calories isn’t necessary. That doesn’t mean you can’t overeat, but if you’re eliminating foods with added sugars and excessive amounts of fat, the calories will probably take care of themselves.

Scouting for SUGAR

1. If a package says a serving size is ¼ cup, it’s best to actually measure some out to get a clear idea of how much that is, as it’s very easy to underestimate the amount we’re actually eating. But there are 16 tablespoons in a cup, so the error could be as much as 8 grams in either direction. Serving size is for me the greatest factor when I choose a sweet, for example a piece of a chocolate bar.

2. Refined and processed carbohydrates, including both sugars and refined grains. are sources of sugar. “Sugar” can go by a lot of different names, (e.g. high fructose corn syrup), many of which are signs of a highly processed food.

Sugar Has Many Disguises

Careful reading of labels is necessary to know how much added sugar you are getting. Sometimes there will be small amounts of many types of sugars, so none of them end up being in the the first few ingredients of the label. Other times, sugar masquerades as apparently more “healthy” ingredients, such as honey, rice syrup, or even “organic dehydrated cane juice”. These are sugar. Sometimes fruit juice concentrates will be used, which sound wholesome, but usually the juices chosen, such as white grape, apple, and pear juices, are among the least nutritious of the juices. By the time they are “concentrated”, very little remains but the sugar.

Here is a list of some of the possible code words for “sugar” which may appear on a label. Hint: the words “syrup”, “sweetener”, and anything ending in “ose” can usually be assumed to be “sugar”. If the label says “no added sugars”, it should not contain any of the following, although the food could contain naturally-occurring sugars (such as lactose

  • Agave Nectar
  • Barley Malt Syrup
  • Beet Sugar
  • Brown Rice Syrup
  • Brown Sugar
  • Cane Crystals (or, even better, “cane juice crystals”)
  • Cane Sugar
  • Coconut Sugar, or Coconut Palm Sugar
  • Corn sweetener
  • Corn syrup, or corn syrup solids
  • Dehydrated Cane Juice
  • Dextrin
  • Dextrose
  • Evaporated Cane Juice
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Glucose
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Invert sugar
  • Lactose
  • Maltodextrin
  • Malt syrup
  • Maltose
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Palm Sugar
  • Raw sugar
  • Rice Syrup
  • Saccharose
  • Sorghum or sorghum syrup
  • Sucrose
  • Syrup
  • Treacle
  • Turbinado Sugar
  • Xylose

Remember, your body doesn’t care what the label says, it’s all just “sugar”!A Word About Sugar Alcohols: A lot of “Sugar Free” foods have ingredients called sugar alcohols in them such as maltitol and sorbitol. These ingredients can be as bad or worse than sugar.

Fiber is one type of carbohydrate that does not raise blood glucose. In fact, the presence of fiber can slow down the impact of the other carbohydrates in a meal. Therefore, when counting carbs, we subtract the grams of fiber from the grams of total carbohydrate. This gives a number which is variously called effective carbs, or usable carbs, or net carbs, or impact carbs. This figure is the amount of carbohydrate in a food that affects blood sugar.

On many labels we see “evaporated cane juice” – another name for sugar.

Processed starches often take the form of wheat or other flours. Processing grains or grinding them into flour makes them more glycemic. Note that the first ingredient in the sample label is “wheat flour.” This almost always means “white flour,” otherwise it would say “whole wheat flour”. If the label doesn’t say the grain is “whole” you can assume it isn’t.

 Sugar Alcohols – As noted previously, carefully check which sugar alcohol are in the ingredient list. Some, like erythritol, which is a truly low-impact sugar alcohol, so that’s a good one from the standpoint of low-carb eating.

What are sugar alcohols?

Sugar alcohols are a type of carbohydrates called “polyols”. Part of their chemical structure resembles sugar, and part of it resembles alcohol — hence the confusing name. Examples of common sugar alcohols are maltitol, sorbitol, isomalt, and xylitol.

Where do sugar alcohols come from?

Sugar alcohols occur naturally in plants. Some of them are extracted from plants (sorbitol from corn syrup and mannitol from seaweed), but they are mostly manufactured from sugars and starches.

Why use sugar alcohols?

Sugar alcohols are like sugar in some ways, but they are not completely absorbed by the body. Because of this, the blood sugar impact of sugar alcohols is less and they provide fewer calories per gram. Additionally, sugar alcohols don’t promote tooth decay as sugars do, so are often used to sweeten chewing gum. One, xylitol, actually inhibits bacterial growth in the mouth.

It’s important to note, however, that the different types of sugar alcohols act very differently in the body (see chart below).

Can sugar alcohols cause problems?

Befoe my research Elite MOST was a favorite


Though the word “alcohol” is part of their name, they cannot get you drunk. But because they are not completely absorbed, they can ferment in the intestines and cause bloating, gas, or diarrhea. People can have different reactions to different sugar alcohols. Careful experimentation is advised. Elite Methol Flavor Drops

Contains sugar alcohols isomalt and sucralose.Sucralose, the chemical in the brand-named product Splenda, does, in fact, originate with the sucrose (sugar) molecule. It then undergoes a process of molecule replacement, however, that renders it qualitatively different. After the lawsuit was settled, Splenda debuted a new slogan: “Just What’s Good — it’s made from sugar. It tastes like sugar. But it’s not sugar.” Read more at


How are sugar alcohols labeled?

The names of the individual sugar alcohols will be on the ingredient list of any product that contains them. They will be included in the amount of carbohydrate on the label,

How do sugar alcohols compare to other carbohydrates?

There’s more to the story. Though sugar alcohols have fewer calories than sugar, most of them aren’t as sweet, so more must be used to get the same sweetening effect. A good example is maltitol, which has 75% of the blood sugar impact of sugar, but also only 75% of the sweetness. So they end up being equal in that regard. Still, there is a range of sweetness and impact on blood sugar among the sugar alcohols.

This chart compares the different polyols.

GI=glycemic index

Cal/g=Calories per gram

Bear in mind that the glycemic index is a range, rather than a fixed number. Different studies yield different results. This chart is mainly sourced by the Livesey research reported in Nutrition Research Reviews, December 2003.Comparison of Sugar and Sugar Alcohols

Ingredient Sweetness GI Cal/g
Sucrose(sugar) 100% 60 4
Maltitol Syrup 75% 52 3
Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate 33% 39 2.8
Maltitol 75% 36 2.7
Xylitol 100% 13 2.5
Isomalt 55% 9 2.1
Sorbitol 60% 9 2.5
Lactitol 35% 6 2
Mannitol 60% 0 1.5
Erythritol 70% 0 0.2

3. Special Low-Carb Ingredients – There are some other special ingredients that are put into low-carb products to maintain taste or texture without raising blood sugar, such as artificial sweeteners. On some labels we see inulin and wheat gluten. Wheat gluten is the protein part of the wheat. Inulin provides sweetness and texture.

4. Partially hydrogenated oils are trans fats. Avoid any food with this ingredient.

If a package says a serving size is ¼ cup, it’s best to actually measure some out to get a clear idea of how much that is, as it’s very easy to underestimate the amount we’re actually eating. But there are 16 tablespoons in a cup, so the error could be as much as 8 grams in either direction

Natural Sugar
sugar alcohol is in the product. The chart at the bottom of this article about sugar alcohols has a lot of information about this. Note especially that many of the sugar alcohols aren’t as sweet as sugar, so more must be used to get the same sweetness. Also noted earlier, many sugar alcohols (most notoriously maltitol) can cause gas and other adverse intestinal reactions.Erythritol is the only commonly-used sugar alcohol that I feel comfortable recommending not counting in the total carb count. I don’t eat maltitol at all, but it could be counted as having 3/4 of the stated carbs. Sorbitol can be counted as half of the stated carbs — and so on, according to the chart.

vegetables & spices to stock up – Some of my after Passover shopping

  • curry powder

  • spinach

  • turnip greens

  • coriander

  • rosemary

  • parsley

  • peppers

  • mushrooms

  • chard

  • cinnamon

  • peppers

  • artichokes

  • broccoli

  • Brussel sprouts

  • kale

  • sage

fats and oils

  • butter

  • coconut oil

  • olive oil

  • fish oil

  • flaxseed oil


  • in season

eggs & dairy

  • egg yolk

  • whole egg

  • goat cheese

  • parmesan cheese

  • cream

  • camembert

  • feta

  • cheddar

  • parmesan

  • mozzarella

  • ricotta

nuts & seeds

  • brazil nuts

  • sunflower seeds

  • peanuts

  • pecans

  • pumpkin seeds

  • almonds

  • macadamia nuts

  • almond butter

  • pine nuts

  • flax seeds

  • chia seeds

  • hazel nuts

  • coconut milk

  • coconut meat

  • cashew nuts

animal products

  • organ meats

  • sardines

  • herring

  • bacon

  • mackerel

  • turkey

  • chicken

  • beef steak

  • lamb

  • salmon

  • talapia and other white flesh fish

Post 102: Yiddish explanation of Obama, Day 2 Starting Vegan/Macro, Stocking a Healthy Vegan/Macro kitchen, lentil lasagna

I had a conversation across continents and as usual,President Obama’s name  came up.

being delusional, deceiving oneself, believing in something that doesn’t exist, having a pipe dream, blowing smoke, having a God complex, wishful thinking. All of these  images are  described in Yiddish.

First in Hebrew:

בעל דמיון, אחד שיש לו אילוזיות,  fantasy פנטזיות,   wishful thinking רצון לא בר מימוש, פרי הדמיון הביטוי  ביידיש הוא

אַן אײַנרעדעניש איז ערגער ווי אַ קרענק

an aynredenish iz erger vi a krenk

Being delusional is worse than being sick. (And I’ll add destructive, dissembling, dishonest when the delusional person is the President of the United States).

אשליה יותר גרוע ממחלה

 Day 2 Starting Vegan/Macro: Stocking a Healthy Vegan/Macro kitchen; All of the dry ingredients, spices and herbs should be part of your pantry in plastic bags, boxes or tins. The parmesan will stay well in your freezer. These are just a few basics.

Healthy Dry Foods-All easy to combine

Brown rice: Just reheat or briefly heat with water already cooked varieties. Consider buying a rice steamer for a no-hassle way to use uncooked rice. Serve as a whole grain side dish alone or mixed with veggies or tomatoes. Use rice as a base for meats. Add to thicken soups or casseroles. You can also cook other whole grains like quinoa in a rice steamer.

Cereal (whole grain): Whole grain cereals are a fast healthy breakfast or a mid-day snack. As a crunchy topping, they quickly make yogurt or fruit more appealing.

Nuts: Nuts are rich in healthy fatty acids and phyto chemicals. Eat a small handful of nuts as a snack, or sprinkle over cereal, yogurt, fish, or casserole dishes.

Pasta (whole wheat or whole grain): Try all shapes and sizes of whole-wheat  or soba (buckwheat pasta — rotini, penne, medium shells, extra-wide noodles, linguine, and spaghetti. Few meals are faster than heating a jar of pasta sauce or a sauce that you have prepared and frozen, or canned tomatoes, pouring it over some steamed noodles, and topping with a bit of cheese or substitute.. Steamed veggies and pasta with the broth of your choice is another tasty, fast treat.

Tomato, lentil and spinach vegetarian lasagne

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy


  • 200g dried, red lentils (or a can of lentils)
  • bay leaf
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 400g tin of tomatoes
  • a large handful of oven-dried tomatoes or fresh tomatoes chopped or a small tin (227g) tinned tomatoes
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped for Vitamix cooking or finely if conventional
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (or to taste)
  • 1/2 dried chilli
  • dash of Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • 50g butter/olive oil
  • 50g spelt flour
  • 400g milk/almond milk
  • pinch nutmeg, fresh grated
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 500g leaf spinach, washed and tough stalks removed
  • 9 dried, green lasagne sheets, non-precook type (approx depending on the size and shape of your pan)
  • 300g Parmesan, Grana Padano or vegetarian hard cheese (grated) plus extra


  1. Heat the oven to 220 C and get out large oblong or square baking dish or lasagne dish (minimum 20cm x 20 cm)
  2. Put the dried, red lentils in a medium-sized pan with the bay-leaf and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer until cooked (about 25 minutes). Drain, remove the bay-leaf.  Skip this step if using canned lentils.
  3. Saute the onion until softened but not brown (about 5 minutes), add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Put into a Vitamix or power blender with the tinned tomatoes, carrots, oregano, chilli and Worcestershire sauce (if using). If you want a smooth sauce add the oven-dried and/or fresh tomatoes at this stage. For a chunkier sauce, stir them in at the end. Switch the Vitamix on, turn up to 10, then cook on full power for 7 minutes until the sauce is warm and smooth. Alternatively continue to simmer all the above ingredients in a pan with the onion and garlic until the carrots are tender (blend if desired). Add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  4. Pour sauce into a jug and rinse out the Vitamix. To make the Bechamel, melt the oil in a non-stick pan, stir in the flour and cook the paste for a few minutes. Add the almond milk and pour into the Vitamix adding a good sprinkling of freshly grated nutmeg. Blend on high until warm, thick and silky (about minutes). Season to taste. If using a pan, add the almond  milk a splash at a time stirring constantly until all incorporated and thickened (then add seasonings). You can also put the butter, flour and milk directly into the Vitamix and blend but I think you can still taste the uncooked flour this way.
  5. Wilt the spinach over a medium heat in the same pan you sautéed the onion. Remove and chop roughly.
  6. Stir the lentils into the tomato sauce. Spread a layer over the base of the baking dish. Place 3 lasagne sheets in a row. Spread a thin layer of Bechamel over the pasta. Sprinkle with parmesan and dot over half the chopped spinach. Repeat this using the other half of spinach. Repeat so that the last layer is Bechamel and a good sprinkling of cheese.
  7. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the lasagne is soft and the top is brown.

A note on making this strictly vegetarian. Animal rennet is always used in traditional Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano so find a cheese that specifically mentions it is without this. Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce is not vegetarian as it contains anchovies, but you can buy vegetarian alternatives or make your own. I have one that is fish free (Wellington)

Post 101-Nazis, suicide and the Jew behind ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel: First Vegan/Macro marathon – taking Vegan out of the box

I was fortunate to receive many “best films” of 2014. The review below is not mine. Reading a review before viewing the film helps me to place the character in a historical setting. Then I can concentrate on the details in the film that either collaborate or oppose the opinions of the reviewer. The main character, is drawn from the novelist Stefan Zweig, whose short stories I read in German in college.


Nazis, suicide and the Jew behind ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’
by Danielle Berrin
February 17, 2015 | 2:48 pm


Ralph Fiennes Ralph Fiennes
F. Murray Abraham F. Murray Abraham
Mathieu Amalric Mathieu Amalric
Adrien Brody Adrien Brody
Willem Dafoe Willem Dafoe
Jeff Goldblum Jeff Goldblum
Harvey Keitel Harvey Keitel
Jude Law Jude Law
Bill Murray Bill Murray
Edward Norton Edward Norton
Saoirse Ronan Saoirse Ronan
Jason Schwartzman Jason Schwartzman
Léa Seydoux Léa Seydoux
Tilda Swinton Tilda Swinton
Tom Wilkinson Tom Wilkinson
Owen Wilson Owen Wilson
Tony Revolori Tony Revolori
Larry Pine Larry Pine
Mr. Mosher
Giselda Volodi Giselda Volodi
Serge’s Sister
Florian Lukas Florian Lukas
Karl Markovics Karl Markovics
Volker Michalowski Volker Michalowski
Günther (as Volker Zack Michalowski)

The Grand Budapest hotel is nestled into a snow-capped mountain dreamscape — a painterly paradise in the former republic of the fictional Zubrowka, which was once, we are told, “the seat of an empire.” It is a world awash in color, crazy characters and an antiquated glamour born of a longing for the past. And filmmaker Wes Anderson readily admits he “stole” it from Jewish novelist Stefan Zweig.
“Two characters in our story are vaguely meant to represent Zweig himself,” Anderson told British publication The Telegraph in March of last year. “In fact, the main character, who is played by Ralph Fiennes, is modeled significantly on Zweig, as well.”
Anderson is fond of crediting Zweig as the progenitor of his Oscar-nominated film (it received nine nominations in 2014, including nods for best picture, directing and original screenplay). Both the setting and the story were inspired by Zweig’s body of work — “The Post Office Girl” and “Beware of Pity” in particular — but also, more significantly, by the historical contours of Zweig’s life.
Set in the 1930s, the beautiful, baroque world evoked in the film, at once dreamy and dark, is an endangered one, a last glimmer of opulent Europe before Hitler destroyed it. The film’s cherished fairytale of grand hotels, luxury, leisure and sought-after escape is a portrait of a doomed world. And it parallels the trajectory of Zweig’s own experience as he went from wildly successful, famous writer to alienated outcast; a man in exile from his home, his mother tongue and his cherished society.
Born in 1881 to a well-to-do Viennese-Jewish family, Zweig enjoyed all the freedom, glamour and flexibility wealth could afford. His father was a textile manufacturer, and his mother came from a prominent Italian-Jewish family of bankers. This allowed him unmitigated freedom to pursue his passions; as a student, Zweig began submitting poems and essays to a literary journal and amassing a collection of important manuscripts. Later on, he would find himself in possession of a prestigious collection of rare artifacts that included Goethe manuscripts, handwritten Mozart compositions and Beethoven’s writing desk (in 1933, according to The New Yorker, he also purchased a 13-page manuscript of a speech by Hitler). Perhaps these items suggested to him the possibilities of great art, and served to fuel his ambition.
His career was undoubtedly a successful one. Zweig earned international renown as a biographer, novelist, playwright, essayist and librettist. According to The New Yorker, “he was the most translated writer in Europe” throughout the 1920s and ’30s, his work appearing in nearly 50 languages. And yet, Zweig was not considered as “literary” a writer as his contemporaries — authors and intellectuals such as Thomas Mann, Bertolt Brecht, Hannah Arendt and Joseph Roth, for instance (the last of whom he mentored quite devotedly). But he was far more popular and produced a prolific amount of plot-driven work that was well suited for Hollywood. His novel “Fear” was produced as a movie three different times — in 1928, 1936 and 1954, including one version starring Ingrid Bergman — and the 1948 film “Letter from an Unknown Woman” is based on another of his novels.
“In Zweig we are in the brooding, highly urbane Central European universe where sepulchral obsessions and the shady regions of the soul can only be glimpsed and not examined, much less explained, and where redemption is seldom given or earned,” scholar André Aciman writes in his introduction to Zweig’s “Journey Into the Past.” Zweig “is the master of hidden impulses, of passionate excesses … of desires that run amuck.”
In recent years, Zweig’s work has been experiencing a cultural resurgence, with new translations of his writing trickling back into print as well as a stream of cinematic interpretations finding their way to the screen. The 2013 film “A Promise” was based on “Journey Into the Past,” and George Prochnik’s acclaimed biography, “The Impossible Exile: Stefan Zweig at the End of the World” received the 2014 National Jewish Book Award.
Zweig’s romantic allure within the cultural pantheon stems from his belonging so inextricably to the past. While other Jewish writers saw war and fascism degrading Europe and promptly left, Zweig resisted. His Austrian passport, the New York Review of Books noted, enabled him to travel freely between the U.S., South America and Europe until the Anschluss in 1938. So while fellow Jewish intellectuals permanently fled around 1933 — upon Hitler’s rise to power — Zweig clung to his European lifestyle as long as he could. Still, eventually he had to leave: In 1934, Zweig left Austria for England, hoping the war would not escalate. Next he went to New York, which he frankly didn’t like. And by the time his books had been thoroughly maligned and banned in Europe, he finally capitulated and went into exile in Brazil.
It was there, along with his second wife, Lotte (formerly his secretary, 30 years his junior, whom his first wife appointed), that Zweig and his beloved ingested a fatal dose of Veronal in a dramatic double-suicide worthy of cinema. In his suicide note, he complained of “my own language having disappeared from me and my spiritual home, Europe, having destroyed itself.” He confessed he didn’t have the energy within him to “make a new beginning.” Everything he loved, everything he cherished, the urbane, borderless Europe that once afforded so many pleasures and treasured experiences, ceased to exist.
As sometimes happens, Zweig’s suicide heightened his fame as never before, with The New York Times reporting his death on its front page. But to this day, many still puzzle over why Zweig killed himself: Had he not been spared the horrors of the Holocaust? Had he not possessed means and talent, friendship and love? A day before his death, he had completed the second of two major new works. So what was it, exactly, that Zweig couldn’t handle?
Fellow writers were brutal in criticizing Zweig’s political cowardice. “He should never have granted the Nazis this triumph,” Mann said of Zweig’s suicide. “And had he had a more powerful hatred and contempt for them, he would never have done it.” In reviewing his memoir, “The World of Yesterday,” Arendt accused Zweig of being blind to the political realities of his time and slammed him for his “unpolitical point of view” concerned only for his own fame. But where Zweig’s contemporaries found solace in intellectual and political resistance, Zweig, ever the ardent pacifist, found himself at a loss. “I would never speak against Germany. I would never speak against any country,” he said, excusing his silence as a byproduct of temperament. “I am a man who prizes nothing more highly than peace and quiet.”
There was no peace, though, for Zweig in exile. “I ceased to feel as if I quite belonged to myself,” he wrote in his memoir. “A part of the natural identity with my original and essential ego was destroyed forever.” In other words, the urbane, sophisticated, secular Jew who prized the freedom to travel anywhere and belong everywhere — but who, notably, rejected Zionism — in the end, found himself an estranged citizen, a wandering Jew.
At the conclusion of “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” there is a telling scene between the present owner of the hotel, Mr. Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham) and a young writer (Jude Law). After Moustafa shares the story of the hotel, recalling its glory days and the legendary concierge Gustave H (played by Ralph Fiennes and based on Zweig), who was shot by German authorities during the war, Moustafa offers a kind of elegy for that lost world, and the artistic soul decimated by it: “There are still faint glimmers of civilization left over in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity — he was one of them.”
When the young writer asks if Moustafa keeps the Grand Budapest, now dilapidated and empty, to honor a “lost connection to a banished world — his world,” Moustafa answers with a sad lament. He is talking, of course, about Zweig:
“To be frank,” he tells the young writer, “I think his world had vanished long before he ever entered it. But I will say, he certainly sustained the illusion with a marvelous grace.”
Like the fantasy of Zion restored, the world Zweig so ardently longed for was the world of his own imagination. The writer in him yearned for the world as it ought to be, but the Jew in him was forced to live in the world as it was — broken, bitter, emptied out of the 6 million souls just like him who once lived at the heights and ended in smoke.

The Promised Vegi Challeng -adapted from Southernblondevegan:

Day 1-

I have seen many people show interest in going vegan/macro in the new year, after Passover, so I wanted to do a series of posts on how to get started and my best tips for success in this lifestyle!

1. Firstly, Spring is the time of regeneration. Israel is Abundance. What do I mean by this? It’s actually really simple – while there are hundreds of delicious fun plant-based foods you can eat and recipes to try, the basics of eating a vegan diet are really simple. FILL your home with an ABUNDANCE of FRESH foods! Do 90% of your shopping in the produce section of your store, and leave the other 10% for whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. If a product contains an ingredient your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize, do not eat it or buy it. Pack your refrigerator and pantry full of fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables. These are the ultimate fast food! When you’re hungry and craving something sweet, grab a  couple of dates, an apple, some grapes, make a smoothie, or a “nicecream“ (blended frozen mango). If you’re craving something savory, roast some vegetables/ and throw them on the biggest bowl full of greens you can find, make a veggie burger, make a veggie sandwich on Ezekiel bread, or a massize bowl of zoodles (zucchini noodles) with a plant-based sauce – all of these are super filling and satisfying meals. These are just a few examples of meals we eat constantly! EAT a LOT. Do not ever limit your fruit or vegetable intake. Counting calories is a thing of the past for you. You are counting nutrients now!

2. Educate yourself. The best way to insure success and longevity in this lifestyle is to be fully informed of the reasons why it is so important for each person, our planet, and the creatures we share it with. Veganism/macro is best for our health, the health of the world our children inherit, and the health of the animals we co-exist with. Read books (“The China Study” by Dr. T Colin Campbell, “Whole” by Dr. T Colin Campbell, “801010” by Dr. Douglas Graham), watch documentaries (Forks Over Knives, Earthlings, Vegucated, Cowspiracy), and follow vegan blogs with great tips and recipes (,,,,

3. Give yourself grace. This is not a simple transition when you’ve been eating a certain way your whole life. What I can tell you is, it gets easier and easier the longer you do it. I know it seems as though it would be the opposite but it’s not. You will probably feel a little like death for the first few weeks. Your body has MANY chemicals and toxins it will be detoxing from, and it will suck. You will crave sugars, fats, and processed foods like drugs – because they act like drugs to the brain. It’s scientifically proven, refined sugars have the same effect as crack on your brain. IT WILL SUCK. But push through and don’t be too hard on yourself for struggling, it’s inevitable. When you push past the first month, you are in the clear. It only gets easier from there! Your body will begin to crave things like kale, spinach, broccoli, fresh fruits, omega-3’s, and whole grains. You will begin to feel better than ever!

4. Eat out smart. You do not have to confine yourself to your home to eat! Most restaurants have vegan options or are happy to accommodate you, just ASK. Google is your friend! Research a restaurant before going there to plan out what options are available. You do not always have to stick with a simple “garden salad”, how boring is that for every meal? If there are no good vegan options readily available for you somewhere, get creative with menu options and transform a dish by taking away/adding certain ingredients. You will be surprised just how helpful most places are! With all of this being said, I DO recommend most meals be cooked yourself. It’s just better to know where your food is coming from, how it’s being prepared, and what is going into the process. We have become so accustomed to other people making our food for us, we need to take that responsibility back for ourselves and take charge of the fuel we put in our bodies.

5. Invite others on your journey, but never push them. I can say without a doubt, this is an easier transition to make with a loved one! It’s so wonderful to have a partner to hold each other accountable and share your highs and lows with. If you can find that, great! If you can’t, never try to force someone to do this if they aren’t ready. This is not simply a “diet” to lose weight , it is a whole life change. You can be a great example to another person just by living your life and allowing them to see what a positive impact this has on you. Eventually, they may desire it for themselves when they’re ready!

6. Blenders are your friend. I use my blender and food processor constantly. I make soups, desserts, sauces, smoothies, juices, crackers, crusts, breads, and just about everything else you can imagine with these two tools. They make a plant-based diet much more enjoyable! You don’t need a ton of fancy tools, but I do absolutely recommend a great high speed blender and a good food processor.

7. Quit the artificial sugars – NOW. No more splenda, sweet & low, or anything next to them on the shelf. These are cancer causing chemicals that are highly addictive and very dangerous to our bodies. The sweetener I suggest, aside from pure maple and natural fruits, is stevia. It’s made from a plant and actually tastes much better than the alternatives! Liquid stevia may cost a bit more, but if you need to sweeten teas, dessert, lemonade, or smoothies this is the best way hands down. They come in all kinds of flavors (vanilla crème and English toffee are my favorites!). No more carbonated drinks and sugary sodas. Just quit them, cold turkey, and never look back. It is NOT too late to take control of your health.

8. Try new things! There are SO many times on my journey where I would ask my husband to try one of my vegan creations and he would do the Jimmy Fallon “EW” before even tasting it. I would then plead with him to be open minded, and after tasting them, he would be shocked!   Be open to trying new plant-foods and cooking them in different ways to find out what you prefer. Experimenting is your friend. Take a recipe from someone and make it your own based on what YOU like!

9. Be patient with others ridicule. You will be very surprised at how many people will criticize you for your decision. We as a culture are very confused with food. You will be asked about your protein, daily. Here is a really simple response – all food has protein, and with a well balanced vegan diet you can easily exceed the amount of protein needed to thrive. Have you ever actually met someone with a protein deficiency? I have been vegan for 3 years now, and after getting my blood tested my protein levels were way above what was considered “acceptable”. This is from plant foods only! You will have many people tell you you’re being “irresponsible” with your health by going vegan. This is simply so twisted. This is always why my #2 tip is so important – be INFORMED so you know how to answer the criticism.

10. Do not quit on yourself. This is the rest of your life here. If you drop your phone and it gets a tiny crack do you proceed to chunk it at the wall until it breaks into 1,000 pieces? No. So if you fall off track and make one mistake do not sabotage the rest of your life due to one mess up. There are so many important reasons to commit to a vegan lifestyle, and the more you research the more you’ll learn them in detail, so keep those at the front of your mind and keep pushing forward. Do not quit on your health, you are worth the struggle it takes to get where you want to be.

I hope some of these can help you on your journey forward! As always, if any of you has any questions ask away. I certainly do not claim to have all the answers but I’m here to help any way I can!