Monday, December 24, 2012

Creamy Basil Rice with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

This recipe has a nice nutty flavor to it and is a twist off of my "risotto" recipe.  Seriously though....pumpkin seeds are BOMB!  They are a wonderful source of healthy fats and essential trace minerals like manganese, zinc and copper.  In addition to this dish, I put them in granola or just eat them raw.   They are the business so please do try them out if you haven't already.  This recipe is great for picnics, entertaining and just for you at home.  Let's do this:

2 - 2 1/2 cups of cooked brown rice
1 cup of chopped basil
1-2 - 3/4 of a red onion
4 cloves of garlic (I'm obsessed with garlic so if you are not, tone it down to 2)
1/2 cup of cashews
1 cup of water
juice from 1 lemon
1 tsp of salt
1/2 of toasted pumpkin seeds

Saute red onion and garlic for 3 mins.

Add rice and saute for 2 mins to flavor it.

Blend cashews, water, salt and lemon until smooth and pour onto rice mixture.  Add chopped basil leaves.
*Note: As you can see I'm trying to keep salt to a minimum.  I don't have a problem with using salt but I like to keep the amount very small.  Truth is if you use enough fresh ingredients, you actually don't need to add very much if any sometimes.  It's just a little hint to bring out flavor.  I'm trying to keep you hypertension-free long term, aiight.  :)

Toast pumpkins seeds until lightly brown for around 5 mins.  You can up the nutritional ante with the addition of more fresh uncooked veggies: peas, chopped sweet peppers, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, etc.  Just add these right at then end. 


Thank you for reading!  My people, I appreciate you all so much.  Be happy and healthy.  Ciao!

Monday, December 17, 2012

The What? Why? and Really? Pink Slime is Suing

Photo Credit: mysanantonio

This article really caught my attention when I first saw it.  You read it correctly:  Pink slime is suing ABC for slander.  Let's first lay down the context of the situation.  Earlier this year, various media outlets honed in on one notorious meat product called "pink slime".  The news about this pink slime was all over the place.  From ABC to the HuffPost, folks were not playing about trying to get down to the bottom of this mess.   So what was this controversy all about?  It all started when the word got out about what was really in this stuff.  First, let's figure out what in the world is pink slime, anyway?

The official name for pink slime is "Finely Textured Lean Beef".   Ok, so beef is still in the name, so one can assume that it is mostly the meat of the cow that constitutes this "textured lean beef".  Weeeeeelll, not so much.  The very words from the mouth of a former corporate quality manager of a pink slime producing company, Beef Products Inc, describe it as simply......a filler.   It comes from the discarded portions of the cow during the meat production process and only after the application of heat, centrigual force and ammonia is it considered USDA approved.  The only thing that comes to mind when I think of ammonia is disinfectant....... for cleaning the toilet.......................Ew!   Yooo, you're real messed up for that.  Kit Foshee, the former manager spilled a little more of the beans in the article:

"It kinda looks like play's pink and frozen and it's not what the typical person would consider will fill you up but it won't do you any good."

Photo Credit:

Foshee was alluding to the nutritional value of the substance in that because it is derived from mostly connective tissue rather than muscle tissue (DOC training has me all over this tissue stuff), it is more like gelatin and provides little nutrition.  This appears to defeat the whole purpose of consuming a meat product because the sole purpose is to contribute nutritionally in regards to protein.

Photo Credit: Inhabitots

 If it can't give you that, why is it being sold?  And why is it being fed to the babes in school who need nutrient-dense meals for their growing minds and bodies?  This math doesn't add up.

Photo Credit: Kath Dedon

Thinking about having spaghetti and pink slime balls for dinner wouldn't sound that appetizing, right?  Since I got my bangin' bird food, I wouldn't be eating it in any lifetime but the thought just kills the appetite.  So what do the scientists have the say about it?  A research study carried out by pathologists at Cleveland Clinic performed in a sense, a purity assessment, to see how much of this "beef" was really beef.    After testing the amount of actual flesh in burgers containing the pink slime filler, they found the range to be from 2.1 % to 14.8 %, with a considerable level of fat in adipose tissue and lipid droplets as well of two unexpected cases of the parasite, Sarcocystis.  So majority of this product does not even contain real meat?  Did the pink slime producers leave their math kills at the door?  I'm just confused as to how a product containing under 15% real beef can be officially and legally labeled "finely textured lean BEEF".  This math is not adding up.

The technique of processing this mass because, my people, it sure ain't meat is actually approved by both the USDA and the FDA.  Really though, you guys signed on that?   See now I have to question everything else you sign on.......GMOs.......crazy levels of pesticide........inhumane slaughterhouse practices.....the lists appears to go on.

The NYTimes was already questioning the process back in 2009.

Photo Credit:

In a HuffPost by Dr. Micheal Gregor, he points out that instead of taking the necessary measures to change practices and thus choose consumer health over company profits, companies simply shift the responsibly of food safety to the consumer.  Man, how easy is that.  It is true what they say about our human tendency to take the road less traveled.  In this situation, the road less traveled really means cutting costs and the road is made of gold bricks shining brightly in your face.  Only one question seems important for these companies: "How can I extract the most cha-ching out of this beef thing?"  Profit/People = Lack of concern for people and their well being.   Ok, I see how the math adds up now.

Photo Credit:

This whole "blame the consumer approach" appears to be the traditional method of choice for not just meat companies but any company or industry that profits off of negatively impacting the health of living beings.  When you look at it as objectively as possible, that is sadly what is taking place.  Take the junk food companies, for example.  The advice given is: eat better.  However, I'm finding it hard to understand how people are supposed to make better decisions about their health when billions of dollars are poured into advertising junk food on billboards, on television, in schools, in the supermarket, on the internet, on buses and in magazines for people to eat. And they research hard as a mug to determine how best to influence their decisions.

So I just thought it was quite interesting for the main producer of the pink slime to first, accuse the media of initiating a slandering campaign and second, for zoning in on ABC as the main culprit in propagating the so called "myth".  ABC was quite obviously not the only news channel involved but according to the chairman, they took the slandering to the next level and set the fire ablaze to the news traveling like wildfire.  I thought this warranted a What? Why? and Really? post seeing that pink slime is not a myth.  You can also sense the angry tone in the article from the company chairman as he describes how ABC has convinced the American people that they are selling "some filthy product that is hidden away in ground beef".  Oh, you mad?   This reminds me of a common human behavior: getting mad when you get called out or caught doing something you should not be to push the blame somewhere else.  Well, companies are just clumps of people so I guess it shouldn't be surprising that this behavior was observed here.  Folk are still mad up until an employee of the company coming out with another lawsuit against ABC just two days ago.

Photo Credit:

So let me tie up my spiel here.  The most important thing I have learned from this story is that people have seeeeeerious power to change circumstances if they act as a unit.  The concept of power by numbers is no more true than in this situation.  This is what happens when people respond.  McDonald's immediately stops buying the product, supermarkets discontinue Pink Slime purchasing and stocking, Pink Slime sails plummet and Pink Slime companies go out of business.  Whoa!  People don't play.  Reckon with that force, you better not.  So if this is what we can do in regards to this product, what could we do in regards to changing the current culture and production of food?  If we can change this little thing, we can change bigger things.  The truth is business principles are very much alive and well.  Businesses need your participation.  Businesses also consider your desires and preferences.  So you, as a consumer, possess a ton of power.  That power lies in this one phrase: the customer is always right.  With that one phrase, I think we absolutely have the opportunity to change the future.

Chairman suing ABC
Pink Slime article by ABC
Pink Slime by Dr. Gregor
McDonald's drops pink slime
2009 NYTimes article
Employee suing ABC

Thank you for reading!  My people, I appreciate you all so much.  Be happy and healthy. Ciao!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

My Favorite Salad

This is my aaaaaaall-time favorite salad. It is such a simple thing because there is actually no intensely amazing thing about it.  It requires only six ingredients: avocado, red onion, tomato, sweet peppers, spinach and carrots.  I don't know what it is about the combination of these ingredients but it all works!   The avocado plus the tomatoes create its own salad dressing.  I served this at a little hangout/gathering the other day and folk couldn't even believe that it was dressing-less..........and then they gobbled it up :).  This is a great everyday, go-to salad.  I'll let this post be as simple as the recipe.  Let's do this:

2 tomatoes
1/4 - 1/3 of a red onion
3 - 4 cups of spinach
1 whole carrot (sliced on an angle)
1/2 - 1 avocado
1/2 of a sweet pepper
A squeeze of 1/2 of a lemon (optional)


Thank you for reading! My people, I appreciate you all so much.  Be happy and healthy.  Ciao!

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Jermaine talks about bangin' bird food from the perspective of a fitness lover.  

1.  Tell us about your "bangin bird food" lifestyle.

I follow, as much as possible, (within a reason) a plant-based diet.  I started looking into it because of my interest in athletic hobbies, health and longevity.

2.  Did you have a light bulb moment when you decided, "Okay, I am making this change now"? If so, what was it?

I definitely did.  I was into sports/weight lifting since high school and I ate alot of meat and junk to gain more muscle.  It was making me look and feel unhealthy, so I switched and decided to be plant-based heavy in diet and healthier...not so much vegan or vegetarian, but healthy and strong without using dairy, meat or animal protein.

3.  Was it difficult to make the switch?

Nope! I sat down and bought a huge steak sandwich as my farewell and ate it and loved it, but I knew I wanted health and longevity, youthfulness, cancer-less health, so I leaped in proudly.

4.  What was the hardest food item to give up along the way?

OMG, PIZZA (crying)!! I have always been slim enough to eat pizza as much as I could handle so I never thought about giving it up, but what helped me was learning that dairy is not good for my body.   If I eat dairy now, within an hour.....HEADACHE. What made me give up pizza was learning about the pH diet/lifestyle, which basically teaches that plant-based foods in there whole food state and minimally processed are best to eat.  Plus...cheese is so acidic and the body doesn't like acidity, especially my own body.

5.  What sources of information (articles, books, videos, documentaries, blogs, etc) were helpful to you during the transition? was my main source.

6.  Was there anyone who particularly inspired you to make this lifestyle change?

Besides my mom, and my friends, I would have to say was motivating...and it takes years to build solid muscle even though you can drastically change your appearance in 3 months if you're a beginner/intermediate weight lifter, but for solid muscle, unless you are supernaturally high in testosterone or you "juice" aka use anabolic supplements intramuscular steroids/HGH or oral simply takes time, diet, nutrition, hard work and rest. Truth be told, animal protein is not essential and steroids come with a price and long-term issues.  Ahh-nold Schwarzenegger has a ton of money and can afford heart surgery, which he's had a couple times.  There's a place for steroids medically...for older people or sick people, sure.  Otherwise, I believe only professional experts (medical professionals, etc) should handle steroids.

7.  How did the switch affect you emotionally, mentally and physically?

I got healthier, biologically younger and my resting heart rate went from 61-63, down to 57 beats per minute which is what is considered excellent among 21 year-old college athletes. That amazed me because I was not playing sports and wasn't even exercising at all virtually and I was 24 at the time, a year older than when I started plant-based eating.  My memory improved a little as well.

8.  What was the single the greatest thing about becoming a "bangin' bird food" eater?

Not worrying about prostate cancer or heart disease.

9.  Has your "bangin' bird food" lifestyle had an effect on anyone around you?

My mom, my girlfriend, and lots of others.

10.  Did you ever struggle with what you thought people would think about your new lifestyle? If so, how did you overcome that?

I did a little because, many athletes believe animal protein is essential and most of my friends are athletes.  I dealt with it by searching for the truth and I have found that some people may need eggs, or some animals products in small quantities (buy organic if possible) but most people don't have food allergies and can live healthier on plant-based diets, hands down!

11.  How have you been able to maintain this lifestyle? Has it been easy or difficult?

Its been about three years and it can be difficult at times, no doubt about that, but one must decide what is best for their health.  I learned how to cook plant-based diets that are high in protein, high in good healthy fats, and carbs, minerals, as well as how to avoid processed junk.  I also learned about tofu...which is pretty controversial but if you use it sparingly and only use sprouted tofu or organic tofu, it can be easy, safe and delicious.

12.  Any restaurants you want to recommend? 

Asian and Mexican restaurants are very vegan friendly.

13.  What is your favorite bangin' bird food? 

Spoken as a true athlete: those which help me achieve my fitness goals.

Thank you Jermaine and thanks so much for reading!  My people, I appreciate you all so much.  Be happy and healthy.  Ciao!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Pineapple Ice Cream

............................................................................................................................................................I'm sorry.  This ice cream is so bangin' I couldn't even type for a while there.  I LOVE ice cream.  Like seriously.   I have two loves: ice cream and as you may know by now from previous posts, peanut butter.  If they somehow stopped making peanut butter, I think a grocery manager would unfortunately leave work one day with a black eye.  So the love is intense as you can see.   Now, when it comes to making homemade ice cream I am not really all that excited about it because I don't have the right equipment as yet.  One day I will be the proud owner of an ice cream maker.  My sisters tease about being a Walmart in the future because of all the appliances I will probably accumulate.  I can't help it.  I like blenders and food processors and juicers and possibly dehydrators and panini-makers and....Okay, that'll do Marsh!  So at first I kinda shied away from the homemade ice creams.  All my previous attempts left me with flavored ice and for me texture has to be right so it just wasn't working out.  The thing about this recipe was that it was silly easy and actually quite good, even in texture.  My sister was surprisingly getting kinda hype about it and she is usually not a fan of my blended anything.  The icing on the cake was topping the ice cream with granola, the original bangin' bird food.  The combination........I mean..............It. was. so. GOOOOD!  I took this recipe from one of my cookbooks, Ten Talents.  It's like a plant-based cooking bible, like no joke.  It's a school on paper....teaches you everything you need to know about plant-based cooking, nuts, grains, herbs, seeds, sprouting, canning, dehydrating, etc.  It's craziness!  I tweaked it since I didn't have all the ingredients it required and it came out just fine.  Let's do this:

1 cup raw cashews
1 1/2 cups pineapple juice
1/4 cup plain soymilk
1 cup pineapple chunks or crushed pineapple (canned or fresh....Of course fresh is always better)
1/4 cup cold-pressed coconut oil
1/4 tsp of sea salt
1/2 of a fresh lemon
2 tbsp - 1/4 of honey (depends on how sweet you want it.  I actually didn't add any honey because the juice and pineapples were sweet enough)

Throw all ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth.  Remember my little trick of grinding the nuts first and then adding the liquid.  This makes it much easier especially if your blender is not a Vitamix.  Pour into a container and freeze.  Thaw for 20 mins before serving or when folk start getting ansy and start asking what happened to dessert.  Top with some bangin' granola.  Enjoy!

Thank you all so much for reading.  My people, I appreciate you all so much.  Be happy and healthy. Ciao!