With Janet Tubbs
Janet Tubbs is a leading authority on being a vegetarian and author of If You Can't Pronounce It, Don't Eat It - ABasic Guide to Veganism.
Q: I have been a vegan for about 5 years. I take vitamins and when theflu season hits, I take extra C, but I don't like to take the capsules.I know they are made from gelatin and that it comes from cows, but if I don't take the vitamins, I get sick easily. What can I do? What do youdo?
A: Many vegans feel as you do about taking capsules. The good news is that you don't have to swallow them. Just open the capsules and emptythe contents into a small glass jar. I regularly take a multi-vitamin plus grape seed extract, extra B-complex (all vegetarians need extra B)and at the beginning of the flu season, I add an echinacea/goldensealcombination. Fill the jar with water and orange juice, put the top on and shake. It's a lot easier than trying to swallow all those capsules and you won't be ingesting gelatin.
I'd also suggest fresh garlic every day if you feel yourself coming downwith a cold or flu - or if you've already got it. See the two letters below for more ideas about staying healthy and taking care of your body the vegetarian way.
Q: Now that the colder weather is here, I eat a lot of soup. I'm tired of the recipes I've been making for the past few years. Any ideas?
A: Here's a delicious and very quick soup that I think you'd like. It'sone of my favorites that I make year 'round and tastes just like the minestrone found in the best restaurants.
Canned kidney beans save time, but if you prefer, you can soak dried beans overnight, drain and cook until almost tender. Add to minestr one with the other vegetables. For a variation, try different kinds ofbeans: ba by limas, Great Northern and pinto alone or in combination.Beans are a great source of protein.
QUICK AND EASY MINESTRONE
Sauté onion, garlic and mixed vegetables in olive oil. Add tomato ormarinara sauce and seasonings. Mix well. Add remaining ingredients and simmer until pasta is tender. Double the recipe if you like to freeze individual portions.
Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and crusty French bread. The best real Parmesan cheese is found freshly grated in dairy cases. This can be omitted if you're vegan or you can try one of the grated substitutecheeses on the market.
Q: I know this isn't a question about vegetarianism, but I'm hoping you can help me.Sometimes my eyes get irritated and I'm not sure what to do. My mother said not to buy eyedrops at the store and to make my own but she doesn't know exactly what to use.Can you help?
A: Many people have eyes that are very sensitive to pollution and sunlight. There are also certain diseases that create constant burning or itching, but since you say that it happens only "sometimes", that's probably not something you need to worry about. Ifyou have other symptoms, it might be a good idea to have a check-up, including theeyes.
Smog and automobile exhaust are daily problems in many cities and it's common forone's eyes to feel irritated. Here's a wonderful eyewash that's very soothing. Dependingon the strength of the golden seal, it may sting for a few seconds, but it's normal.
Boil 1/2 cup water, mix in 1/4 tsp goldenseal and 1/4 tsp boric acid. Let cool and drip inthe eyes either from a teaspoon or a clean bottle with a dropper, if you have one.
Better yet, if you have an eyecup, pour the mixture into the cup, almost filling it, bendyour head slightly, place the cup to your open eye and tilt your head backwards. This willcompletely bathe the eyeball in the wash and you won't lose most of it trying to pour it infrom a teaspoon. Eyecups are available in drugstores.
Q: Now that the flu season is here, is there anything natural I can take to prevent it?
A: It's best to start building up your immune system before the flu season hits. Take extra vitamin C and zinc. Both are available as chewable lozenges, so you can carrythem in your pocket. Zand's Insure Formula with golden seal and echinacea is wonder fulas a preventive as well as a remedy if you should get the flu. I take a dropper-full everyday year round and increase it during the flu season.
You'll want to take fresh garlic every day, if you don't already. Garlic is probably the most potent germ fighter in your home. Twenty-five years ago it was called "Russian penicillin" because of its healing capability. Don't ask me why it was called that.
Garlic doesn't have any taste unless you chew it, so the trick is to mince it and take it insmall amounts with water. Just swallow it and your co-workers will never know the difference!
Of course, if you love the taste of garlic, use it instead in your salad or on top ofvegetables. Always use raw, fresh garlic!
Homeopathic flu remedies are available in health food stores that work very well if taken at the onset of the season -- or of the flu. Drink plenty of distilled water to flush out toxins and natural fruit juices.
Get plenty of rest. A tired body can't resist invasion of viruses or any illness for that matter. And be sure to eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables and fewer carbohydrates.
Q: I read that you are a vegan. Was it hard for you to give up meat? Didyou eat a lot of pasta instead? What about coffee and tea? I don't wantto give up everything at once. I am 18 years old.
A: I think it's best that you don't give up everything at once. It maybe a shock to your system and not everyone can become a vegan or even vegetarian. A great deal depends on why you want to be a vegetarian. Because other people are doing it? Because you think it's wrong to kill animals? Because you want to lose weight? Because you've read that it'shealthier? All of the above? It's often a matter of mind over matterand if you're not totally dedicated to the idea of giving up meat anddairy products, it might be difficult.
It was easy for me to become a vegetarian because all my friends wereand it just rubbed off when we ate in restaurants or at each other'shouse. At the time, I was cooking for my husband and four children, andsince I love to cook big meals, doing without meat was no hardship.
Cheese was a weakness of mine and I continued to eat it for several weeks until I read that dairy products may be responsible for sinus headaches. When I stopped eating it, the headaches disappeared and Ibecame vegan.
I rarely ate pasta because I enjoyed the variety of vegetables and lost30 lbs when I gave up meat and dairy products. Often, when vegetarians substitute spaghetti, macaroni and noodles for meat, they are puzzled attheir weight gain and don't understand the calories in carbohydrates.
I never drank tea until I decided to give up coffee and drank herb teainstead. It wasn't that easy because it takes a while to give up 15 cupsof coffee a day! I discovered roasted chickory that is a wonderfulsubstitute for coffee - and actually an ingredient in coffee.
Good luck. Please don't hesitate to write again if you have any questions.
Q: I am about to wean my 21-month old baby from breast feeding. So far,she has rejected drinking the organic cow's milk we offer her, anddoesn't even really like cheese or yogurt. My question is: how does ababy or toddler get enough calcium if she isn't drinking milk or eatingdairy products?
A: There are an increasing number of children who are vegetarian - andvegan - and this question invariably arises when babies are about to beweaned. I would not be in a rush to present cow's milk, even organicmilk since it may produce an allergy. When my daughter was weaned, I puther on regular cow's milk (this was back in my dark ages!) and she immediately developed allergies, which she has to this day.
In addition to milk and dairy products, she became allergic to tomatoes and broke out in hives wherever these foods touched her skin. If I knew then what I know now, I would have given her soy milk from the time she left the breast since we later learned that her grandmother had a number of allergies that may have been inherited.
Tofu is a good source of calcium, and for premenopausal women, a good source of estrogen. My granddaughter called it "Grandma's chicken" andloved it, but if we called it "tofu" she refused to eat it.
A good, nutritious diet of fresh veggies, lightly steamed, fruit, and legumes will provide the nutrients she needs. Vegans of all ages usually need extra B12 in their diets. I know several families with healthy,bright and beautiful children who are vegans, and even one with a vegan dog who is 6 years old and loves his melon!
Q: I want to lose weight and look like the models in magazines. If Is top eating meat, will I lose weight? I am 12-years old and exercise 3hours a day. Please answer soon. Suzie
A: Hi Suzie..thanks for writing. I'll answer your questions, but I'm notsure you'll like the answers. I hope you will believe that I am telling the truth and I care about you.
Twelve years old is way, way too young to worry about losing weightunless you are grossly overweight. Too many girls want to look like movie stars and especially TV stars, who are very thin and often looksick.
You said you want to look like models in the magazines. Did you know that most of the models don't look like that in real life? There is a procedure that editors do to pictures with an airbrush where they can change and remove just about anything. One well-known model has one tooth that is longer than the other teeth and they airbrush it so it'sthe same length. She is just a little thick in the waist, so they airbrush her waist line to look slim She has small breasts, so they magically increase their size for the magazine. She is also bulimic andalmost died from taking 40 laxatives because she wanted to lose moreweight.
I am telling you this to let you know that appearances can be deceiving and it's far b etter to have a role model who is contributing somethingto make our world a better place to live and not just to be famous forher looks.
A girl your age doesn't need to exercise for 3 hours a day, or even 2hours. D o you walk to school? Do you take gym? Play tennis orbasketball? If so, you're probably getting all the exercise you need.If you really enjoy exercise, scale it down to 30-40 minutes a day and you'll probably find you have a lot more energy (and time to do funthings!)
Giving up meat will not make you lose weight; you need to start with the way you think. Girls with bulimia and anorexia almost always think they're fat, when in fact, most people think they look just right. When people purposely lose a lot of weight, they don't look healthy and people wonder if they're sick.
My suggestion is to be an average 12-year old, keep active, eat a healthy, well-rounded diet and don't even think about being fat. Most kids put on a few pounds from 12 to 15, so it helps to know that it'sperfectly normal and you'll slim down by yourself. It's all part of nature and the last thing you want to do is mess around with MotherNature!
Q: How long can I keep to fu? And how do you cook it anyway?
A: Tofu can be kept for several weeks, unopened, in the refrigerator andup to a week, opened. If it starts to smell a little sour, just simmerit for about 20 minutes and it will be fresh and ready to use.
If you freeze tofu, it changes the consistency to a sponge like texture,which is great in chili, soup and stew.
Tofu can be cut in 1/4" slices and fried in a little olive oil on medium to low heat. Add a little liquid smoke and the result is a tasty,bacon-like, healthy snack.
Most people who say they don't like tofu have eaten it directly from the container instead of cooking with it. This is a very bland product, withl ittle or no taste of its own; instead it picks up the flavor of amarinade or the food with which it's combined. Tofu is one of the most versatile foods available and a ready source of protein. Recent research states that it can be a natural estrogen replacement.
One of the best books on tofu cookery is a book of the same name. TOFUCOOKERY has an abundance of recipes that are easy to prepare,nutritious, attractive and delicious. My vegetarian cookbook, IF YOUCAN'T PRONOUNCE IT, DON'T EAT IT, has a number of tofu recipes as well.
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