Rip Esselstyn’s Engine 2 Extra Hosts Karen Page for a Live Chat On January 27 about THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE

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“The primary reason it’s hard to give up animals is because most of us have grown up eating animal products and don’t have the first inkling of how to eat anything else.”
Rip Esselstyn, in a New York Times op-ed (April 17, 2012)

The snow didn’t interfere with Karen’s cross-country live chat last night on Engine 2 Extra, which turned out to be a blast — thanks to a lively and inquisitive group of Engine 2 devotees.

Missed it?  You’re likely to have another chance soon — as the reception to the chat about THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE was so enthusiastic that there’s already talk of making it an ongoing series.

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While we’ve been celebrating “Veganuary” this month (foregoing meat, dairy, and eggs in our diets), the readers of world-class-triathlete-turned-firefighter Rip Esselstyn‘s New York Times bestselling Engine 2 Diet take things a step further:  Not only do they not consume meat, dairy, and eggs, but nor do they eat oil or nuts, and only very minimal — if any — salt or sweeteners.

Extreme?  As Rip’s dad — the renowned heart surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn (who was among those credited with helping President Bill Clinton with his heart health and significant weight loss via a plant-based diet) — has been known to say, “Some people think the plant-based, whole-foods diet is extreme.  Half a million people a year will have their chests opened up and a vein taken from their leg and sewn onto their coronary artery.  Some people would call that extreme.”

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Dr. Esselstyn is also the author of the 2007 bestseller Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, in which he gives his famous “NO OIL!” advice, and also observes, “Collectively, the media; the meat, oil, and dairy industries; most prominent chefs and cookbook authors; and our own government are not presenting accurate advice about the healthiest way to eat.”

Karen set out to change that with THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE, which cites Dr. Esselstyn’s and his Forks Over Knives co-star and esteemed colleague Dr. T. Colin Campbell‘s advice about the healthiest way to eat alongside that of the government’s recommendations in the book’s Introduction.

THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE also spotlights the work and advice of Caldwell and Rip Esselstyn in Chapter 1 on the history of vegetarianism and veganism, while the rest of the book puts healthfulness on a par with deliciousness.

Before last night’s chat, one of its two co-hosts had sent Karen a touching email about THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE, writing,  “In the years that I have been with Engine 2 as a coach, I can tell you that what folks find the hardest is getting comfortable with ingredients — herbs and spices and learning to flavor food that is not processed.  Your book is a must-have for people stepping into the kitchen with a new whole food mission.”

After all, the number-one cause of death in the United States is nutritionally-controllable diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.  A whole-foods, plant-based diet correlates with a lower risk of all three.

America has sadly eaten its way into our current health crisis through the Standard American Diet (SAD) consisting predominantly of processed foods and animal protein.  We think it falls on the shoulders of all of us who call ourselves food professionals to continue to help America eat its way out — by moving away from placing meat in the center of the plate (as is already happening, with per-capita meat consumption declining every year since 2007) and moving toward embracing a whole-foods, plant-based diet that is as healthful as it is delicious.

As THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE illustrates, it is possible!

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A whole food, plant-based diet is the healthiest way for everyone to eat. Why? Because plants provide you with all the protein you need — and plant proteins do not cannibalize our bones, promote cancer, or increase inflammation like animal proteins do. You can also get all the iron, calcium, and other vitamins and minerals that animal addicts claim you can get only from eating meat. Additionally, you get complex carbohydrates for sustained energy; healthy fats that don’t clog up your pipes; fiber to keep you as regular as a Swiss commuter train; water for hydration; and antioxidants and phytochemicals to zap free radicals. It’s also the best way to lose weight, because if you’re eating plant-based whole foods, you’re eating nutrient-dense foods that make you healthy without taking in extra calories.”
Rip Esselstyn, in a New York Times op-ed (April 17, 2012)

Rip Esselstyn‘s Engine 2 Diet can be found at engine2diet.com.

To participate in Engine 2’s next online chat about THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE, join at engine2extra.com.

To attend one of Engine 2’s excellent live in-person Retreats (like the Plantstock retreat we participated in on the Esselstyns’ family farm in August 2014), check out the upcoming schedule at engine2retreats.com.

On the Heels of a Fun Video Shoot in Tribeca, The Snow — Or the Fear of Snow — Closes Down NYC

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We had fun spending much of yesterday shooting a video about THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE at our friends’ Tribeca loft.  But by the time we left around 4 pm, finding our way back home to Murray Hill was another story….Andrew snapped a few shots of the snowfall out the window of our Uber cab that eventually got us home:

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A Dream Come True: New York City’s First Vegan Creperie Opens

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Karen didn’t think anyone could possibly be as enthusiastic about crepes as she is, but she admits she’s finally met her match in Julia Kravets, who just opened Little Choc Apothecary, New York City’s (and perhaps America’s?) first vegan creperie in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood. 

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Here’s the great news, crepe lovers:  Little Choc Apothecary doesn’t just make wonderful vegan, gluten-free crepes.  These vegan, gluten-free crepes are wonderful crepes period.  For being eggfree, the crepes have surprising richness, yet are balanced by a satisfying crunchiness.  We’d go so far as to say that these are some of the best crepes we’ve ever tasted, on a par with the best we’ve tasted in Paris and in Quebec.

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Karen’s excellent pot of Assam tea was accompanied by its own colorful hourglass to alert her to its steeping time, while Andrew enjoyed his crepes with a well-made cup of coffee — both are served gratis with the crepes

After learning of the restaurant’s opening via yesterday’s Gothamist.com post (we owe you big time, Nell Casey!), we paid a visit and ate our way through three savory crepes — including, above left, the Room for Mushroom (herb-roasted mushrooms + spinach + walnuts, which typically comes with basil though they substituted parsley today) and, above right, The Breakfast (scrambled tofu + coconut bacon + tomato + cucumber).

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Shown above is the Khail Seitan (homemade seitan + kale + caramelized onions + roasted red peppers + homemade BBQ sauce), a hearty dinner-y combination of warm seitan, and soft-cooked onions and peppers that we could imagine only enhanced by wilting the kale as well.

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The Chocolate Chip Goji (Berry) scone was a textural and flavor revelation on its own, but simply irresistible served with “clotted cream” (texturally a cross between whipped cream and coconut pudding, made from homemade coconut milk + agar + a touch of maple syrup) and jam in tiny Mason jars with tiny spoons.

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After you’ve placed and paid for your order downstairs, you can bring it (or have it brought for you) upstairs, which is modestly though charmingly decorated.  One main wall (kitty-corner from “The Loo”) features jars of herbs, spices, and teas.

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We loved the idea of Little Choc’s rotating chalkboard art display on another upstairs wall, which is expected to change regularly.  The opening display features the work of local artist Peiyung, whom the blackboard notes can be followed via Facebook or Instagram.

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Little Choc Apothecary owner Julia Kravets holds her brand-new copy of THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE

“Charming” is the word we’d have to use for Little Choc’s owner and entire staff.  We were so impressed with the food and the experience that we decided to leave our copy of THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE as a gift for Julia (who turned out to be a fan of the original FLAVOR BIBLE, though she wasn’t yet aware of the vegetarian edition), where it was spied by a woman behind the counter who exclaimed, “Oh, I love that book!” even before she was aware that we were its authors.  Way to make an impression that your team is gastronomically well-read.

Oh, and the Chocolate Mud Cake (above) was dense yet moist and well-complemented by its peanut-flavored icing…as if we needed to have yet one more reason to love Little Choc Apothocary.  Which we didn’t.  But we’re glad we do.

Little Choc Apothecary is at 141 Havemeyer Street in Brooklyn, NY 11211. (Closest subway stop:  Lorimer St., on the L line.)  Phone: 718.963.0420.  Website:  www.chocny.com

Day 22 of “Veganuary” and Still Going Strong — Fueled by the Headlines

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January 20th cover story of The New York Times juxtaposes Michael Moss’s expose on U.S. government-funded abuse of animals with reports on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

 “Don’t miss shocking Michael Moss report on treatment of animals by USDA research center in NYT.”
–Author Marion Nestle, via @MarionNestle on Twitter (1/20/15)

“Even by the standards of the meat industry, this is horrifying. A must-read from @M_MossC in @nytimes.”
New York Times food editor Sam Sifton, via @SamSifton on Twitter (1/20/15)

“This article in today’s NYTimes speaks to a level of cruelty to animals that is unacceptable. I will investigate.”
–Senator Cory Booker, via @CoryBooker on Twitter (1/20/15)

“Enough to get me to join PETA.”
–Author Michael Ruhlman, via @Ruhlman on Twitter (1/20/15)

Even meat industry appalled by nightmarish breeding experiments at US gov’t lab, @M_MossC reports.”
New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells, via @PeteWells on Twitter (1/20/15)

We’re already so happy eating a plant-strong diet that we didn’t need any further resolve to stop eating meat — but if we did, Pulitzer Prize-and-James Beard Award-winning writer Michael Moss‘s must-read January 20th New York Times Page-A1-above-the-fold cover storyU.S. Research Lab Lets Livestock Suffer in Quest for Profit would have provided it in spades.

Kudos to Moss for his research and reporting on inhumane U.S. government-funded research, and to The New York Times for giving this story the up-front positioning it deserves, making it virtually impossible to ignore — and making it one of the most Tweeted-about stories of the day, as the examples above suggest.

Humane:  Showing compassion or benevolence.

The article’s subtitle “Animal Welfare at Risk in Experiments for Meat Industry” is certainly true enough.  But we think what’s really at risk might be our humanity.

To quote Farm Sanctuary’s Gene Baur, as quoted on page 30 of THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE, “For people who say that animals don’t deserve better, I would say that what we do to animals says perhaps more about us than it says about animals.”

While we’re comfortable with the vegetarianism we’ve embraced since May 2012, we’ve yet to determine whether we will continue our month-long experiment in strict veganism beyond “Veganuary.”  But the past three weeks have already given us tremendous respect for the dedication of the 2 percent of the population that is so devoted to nonviolence that they choose this no-meat-no-eggs-no-dairy-no-honey-no-gelatin lifestyle day in and day out.  We know that the vast majority of vegans choose to live this way because their conscience tells them that it is right — and we have more compassion than ever for the challenges faced as a result of those beliefs.

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Michael Moss is at michaelmossbooks.com.  His “Reporter’s Notebook” on the behind-the-scenes of his January 20th article can be found here.

In the wake of Moss’s January 20th New York Times article, other media have run their own articles on the subject, including:

Mother Jones:  “Why Are the Feds Abusing Research Animals?

and

The Washington Post:  “The Horror That Is America’s Government-Funded Animal Research Center

More Than Half-Way Through “Veganuary,” Our Vegan Blog Tour Continues (& Extends!) for THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE

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THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE by Karen Page is a mega guide to the essence of ingredients. And while the book has already received countless accolades for ‘Best Cookbook,’ it offers far more depth and utility than most recipe-centric cookbooks….I’m thrilled that Page and her husband Andrew Dornenburg’s thoughtful and sweeping approach to culinary topics has made its way to vegetables. My admiration for the couple’s work goes way back. Their book BECOMING A CHEF was required reading in my culinary program and has given countless chefs (and the food-obsessed public) a fascinating look inside the cooking profession.”
–Sarah Hohn, HomemadeLevity.com

During this past week in northern California, we were hosted for a number of unforgettable events around THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE…while at the same time in cyberspace, we enjoyed another handful of stops on the book’s Virtual Book Tour thanks to a number of terrific vegan blogs in honor of “Veganuary.”

Hope you’ll join us in exploring these vegan blogs all month long!

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“Veganuary 2015″*
Vegan Blog Tour

Tuesday, January 6th (Durham, NC):  Kathy Hester’s Healthy Slow Cooking

Wednesday, January 7th (West Orange, NJ):  Chic Vegan

Thursday, January 8th (Manhattan, NY):  Fran Costigan

Friday, January 9th (Woodstock, VA):  Robin Robertson

Monday, January 12th (Bronx, NY):  Carlo and Carmella Giardina’s The Food Duo

Tuesday, January 13th (Ashtabula, OH):  Tamasin Noyes’ Vegan Appetite

Wednesday, January 14th (Jamaica Plain, MA):  Amanda McGuire’s Pickles N Honey

Thursday, January 15th (Long Beach, CA):  Joni Marie Newman’s Just the Food

Friday, January 16th (San Diego, CA):  Zsu Dever’s Zsu’s Vegan Pantry

Monday, January 19th (Brooklyn, NY):  Sarah Hohn’s Homemade Levity

Tuesday, January 20th (Los Alamitos, CA):  Jackie Sobon’s Vegan Yack Attack

Wednesday, January 21st (Kirkland, WA):  Sarah De la Cruz’s Fried Dandelions

Thursday, January 22nd (Redondo Beach, CA):  Erin Wysocarski’s Olives for Dinner

Friday, January 23rd (Portland, OR):  Sarah McMinn’s My Darling Vegan

Monday, January 26th (San Diego, CA):  Part I:  Melissa Martin’s Vegenista.com

Tuesday, January 27th (Beaverton, OR):  Julie Hasson

Wednesday, January 28th (Germantown, MD):  Angela McKee’s Canned Time

Thursday, January 29th (New Britain, PA):  Lydia Grossov’s From A to Vegan

Friday, January 30th (Toluca Lake, CA):  Tess Masters’ Healthy Blender Recipes 

Monday, February 2nd (West Orange, NJ):  Dianne Wenz’s Dianne’s Vegan Kitchen

Tuesday, February 3rd (San Diego, CA):  Part II:  Melissa Martin’s Vegenista.com

Wednesday, February 4th (Wasilla, AK):  Kathleen Henry’s Produce on Parade

Join Us January 13-16 in San Francisco, Petaluma, Santa Rosa, and Napa Valley

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Here’s hoping to see you in the Bay Area this week, as we discuss and sign copies of THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE.  Join us! Continue reading…

While Not a Vegetarian, Michelin-Starred French Chef Bruno Loubet Bans Beef at his London Restaurant

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French chef Bruno Loubet of the Grain Store

Loubet believes that, given the damage that the beef industry does to the planet (10kg of grain is needed to produce 1kg of beef), by serving beef, he is undoing all the good done by having a sustainable restaurant. ‘If I didn’t, I would be untrue to everything,’ the 53-year-old said. ‘I have not eaten beef for three months. I do eat it if I am in the restaurant somewhere. I am not vegetarian or vegan but I eat much less meat [and has lost 10kg, or 22 pounds, in the process].'”
--Karen Attwood, quoting Chef Bruno Loubet in The Independent (January 11, 2015)

The world is changing so quickly, sometimes it’s hard to keep up.  We’re behind in posting recent word of new global demand for and supply of veg cuisine (including in France, Spain, Japan, and elsewhere) — including other Michelin-starred chefs who have been reducing or eliminating meat from their menus — but wanted to quickly share today’s piece by Karen Attwood in The Independent about French chef Bruno Loubet, whose headline quotes him as saying, “I am not vegan or vegetarian, but beef is out.”  Loubet just banned beef from the menu at his acclaimed 200-seat London restaurant Grain Store, which was named 2014 London Restaurant of the Year at the Sustainable Restaurant Awards and where vegetables have always been the main draw.

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The heavy toll that meat- and dairy-based diets take on the environment was brought to light during Loubet’s wife Catherine’s research for the Grain Store project.  Catherine became vegan as a result.  Loubet, who still chooses to eat meat although much less of it, says he’s banning beef at the Grain Store for the sake of his grandchildren.  The Independent quotes him as saying, “I do say to people, if nobody does anything now, your grandchildren will not live the way you live.  It sounds like a dark picture but it is a reality that not many people want to face. We will arrive at a point where some people don’t have enough water because of climate change.

We applaud Chef Loubet and other chefs around the world who are playing leadership roles in changing the way the world eats — through reducing or even eliminating meat at their restaurants, and through celebrating the deliciousness of plant-based ingredients by offering extraordinary vegetarian and vegan dishes and tasting menus.

Bruno Loubet’s restaurant Grain Store can be found at grainstore.com.

The Independent‘s article by Karen Attwood on Bruno Loubet can be found at independent.co.uk.