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Quick Vegan Fried Rice

Quick Vegan Fried Rice

1 cup raw brown rice, prepared and cooked
-1 medium onion
-1 cup chopped mushrooms
-1 clove chopped garlic
-1 cup peas
-1 cup chopped vegan “chicken”
-3 TBSP soy sauce (or more to taste)

Cook the brown rice in 3 cups of water and bring to a boil OR use an Instant Pot for faster results
-Saute the onion, garlic, and mushrooms in ¼ cup water in a scan pan or other frying pan
-Add the chopped vegan “chicken”
-Add the cooked rice and mix well.
-Sprinkle soy sauce and mix in.

Serving suggestions for extra nutrition:
-Add lightly steamed broccoli florets. Allow them to sit 15 minutes after cutting to greatly
increase their antioxidant power.
-Add 1/2 cup finely chopped kale
-Add small pieces of fresh or canned pineapple for a sweet touch
-Serve with steamed brussels sprouts, applesauce, and a green salad

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Fighting Viruses With Whole Plant Foods

heart shape made of red and green veggies overlaid with quote from hippocrates.“I’m so afraid of getting the Covid-19 virus!” “What can I do to protect myself?” These are the thoughts on the minds of so many people during these uncertain times of the pandemic. It doesn’t matter if we are rich, poor, famous, male, female or a child. We are all susceptible to this equalizer that can invade a human body regardless of race, color, status or creed. We feel helpless and wonder what more we can do to protect ourselves. We are told to wear masks, wash hands well, and social distance.
Well, there IS more we can do. We can eat foods known to strengthen our immunity and thus help
our bodies fight the virus.

What we know:

-The virus binds itself to cells using a protein on the surface of the cells called ACE-2. ACE-2 is an entry receptor for SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for coronavirus disease 19 (COVID 19). These ACE2 receptors are found throughout the body in blood vessels; on olfactory bulbs that provide a sense of smell; on kidneys in the gastrointestinal tract, and even in the brain.
-Covid-19 is a vascular disease because it affects the endothelium present in the lungs and organs of the body. Even if one recovers, it often leaves a “tail” of other symptoms that can go on for weeks and months causing various degrees of dysfunction.
-We know that people with underlying medical conditions are more susceptible to the severity of the disease. This means their immunity may already be compromised.
-The virus has an affinity for fat cells, making people with Diabetes Type 2 and obesity more likely to be more severely affected.
-When the virus infects a cell, it tricks it into replicating itself thus producing symptoms.

But we do know that:

The body is always working to heal itself. When a virus invades the body, our bodies normally work to fight them off with NK (Natural Killer) cells which are large granular lymphocytes (LGL) that help our bodies to provide a rapid response to virus-infected cells. They are known to play vital roles in controlling and eliminating both virally-infected and cancer cells. The more NK cells, the stronger is our immunity to fight a virus.

The Good News: Foods known to enhance our immunity
Here are foods that through randomized controlled trials have been found to enhance our NK cells thus giving us a better chance to fight off the virus? These foods are known to enhance our immunity.

Broccoli Sprouts: The University of North Carolina, University Children’s Hospital Basel, Stanford University, enrolled 29 healthy volunteers. They ate 2 cups of broccoli sprouts in a shake (or placebo) daily for 4 days. Sprout eaters had 22 times more NK T cells and more killing power. They had fewer flu virus in the nose.
(Müller L, Meyer M, Bauer RN, et al. Effect of broccoli sprouts and live attenuated influenza virus on peripheral blood natural killer cells: a randomized double-blind study. PLoS One. January 28, 2016;11(1):e0147742. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0147742.)

Blueberries: In a small randomized placebo controlled study of 25 well-trained runners to test the anti-oxidant anti-inflammatory, T-cells and natural killer (NK) cells after eating 250 mg. (1 cup) of blueberries daily for 6 weeks before a 2.5 hour run. The results showed significant increases in NK cells in the subjects consuming the blueberries relative to the controls who did not consume blueberries daily as well as acute ingestion significantly reducing markers of oxidative stress &; increasing anti-inflammatory cytokines. (McAnutty, Lisa et al, Effect of blueberry
ingestion natural killer cell counts, oxidative stress, and inflammation prior to and after 2.5 h of running.
Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 2011: 36: 976.)

Cranberries: Consumption of cranberry polyphenols enhances human gamma-delta T cell proliferation by 3.2 fold &; reduces the number of symptoms associated with colds and influenza by 16% in 54 healthy subjects in a randomized, placebo-controlled intervention study. (Nantz etal Nutrition Journal 2013. 12:161

Mushrooms: Dietary intake of white button mushroom (WBM) (Agaricus bisporus) accelerates salivary immunoglobulin A secretion in healthy volunteers. Secretory IgA acts as the first line of adaptive
humoral immune defense at mucosal surfaces when fighting infections including viruses, Be sure to eat the stems that are full of immune boosting power. (Sang Chul Jeong PhD, ( =journal homepage Nutrition 28 (2012 527-531) A small study (20 persons)showing that adding !/3 cup/day of WBM x 1 wk caused a 144% increase in salivary IgA which remained elevated x 2wk.)

There is ample evidence that there are a variety of whole natural unprocessed plant foods that can be helpful in improving your overall immune status as well as decreasing the chances of a severe infection from Covid-19 without any adverse effects. So why not eat them?

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Food As Medicine (FAM) 2020 Event in New Jersey

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”  Hippocrates

SOLD OUT!  120 people attend our very successful Food As Medicine event held in NJ on January 25, 2020.   People attended from all walks of life, wanting to know more about how to improve their health through the food they eat.  The message of the day was, “Take control of your health!”

Anthony Masiello gave an introduction on how to get started on a plant based diet which helped him go from 360 to 195 pounds. These changes had a dramatic impact on his life in that he could now use the seat belt on a plane and sit with his son in the train ride at the park.

Sarina Pasricha MD,  gastroenterologist described the importance of our brain-gut connection.  Getting “butterflies” in our gut is a good example.  She said we are 1% human and 99% bacteria, and 95% of our bacteria are in our GI Tract – mostly the large intestine.  The gut membrane connects diet with our immune system.  Most diagnoses are linked to unhealthy gut microbiome.

Robin Wilson-Smith DO, asked us “What is the most common nutritional defect in America?”  The answer is “Fiber.” We eat too much protein and not enough fiber. She went on to say that the most common cancer in the USA today is endometrial, the lining of the uterus and obesity is the number one cause for endometrial cancer.  She emphasized that non-processed soy based foods such as tofu and edamame are healthy and help to decrease cancers, especially of the breast.

Karen Gibson, registered dietician said that every breastfed baby knows that the milk tastes different in every nursing, depending on what their mothers’ eat.  She mentioned that plant based diets provide enough iron and that when eaten with foods high in Vitamin C, the iron absorption increases up to five times.

Laurie Marbas MD, MBA presented on the topic “Chronic Disease Is it a choice?” She said that we as a country are getting sicker. Our medical education teaches one to be reactive, not proactive.  This leads to a sick care system rather than a healthy one.  20% of our children are overweight or obese.  Life span is cut by ten years when one has type 2 diabetes in their 20’s.

All speakers acknowledged that transitioning to a whole foods plant based diet is the best way to stay healthy, so long as there is also  adequate exercise and good sleep.  She said we become the company we keep so choosing to be around like minded people realizing the health benefits of a whole foods plant based diet makes the transition easier.

Cathy Daub and Karen Burzichelli organized the event, their third one in New Jersey and there was tremendous enthusiasm from the audience to return next year.  The combination of healthy food, good company, incredible learning, and yoga stretches with Kayla all made this an event not to be missed.  Be on the lookout for our event in 2021!


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Yes! Type 2 Diabetes is Reversible!


BirthWorks is a comprehensive program that works to improve birth and health for the whole person. We address many issues that help keep a woman in the perinatal period healthy so she has a better chances of growing  a healthy baby, having a transformative birth,  and being of sound mind, body, and spirit during the early years of parenting. Here, we are addressing the national/global concerns of obesity and Type 2 diabetes brought on by a diet high in fats and highly processed foods that bear little resemblance to the whole foods that they came from.  This is adversely impacting the health of both mother and babies and the process of birth today.

Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes have become major health issues in the USA and most countries around the world.  They are a large health cost to the global population and are also contributing to complications for pregnant and birthing women.  We used to think that once a person has Type 2 Diabetes, he/she has it for life.  The good news is that the latest research shows this is not necessarily true.  Type 2 Diabetes can be reversed with a lifestyle program of eating a whole foods plant based diet, regular exercise, and managing stress.  It can also prevent development of diabetes in the many people who have prediabetes or have had gestational diabetes.

Normally, the pancreas secretes insulin which allows us to store and use glucose (sugar) from the food we eat.  In type 2 diabetes, the problem starts when our cells become resistant to the insulin and do not allow glucose to be transported into the cells of muscle, liver, brain, and other organs for energy, metabolism, storage, and overall function.

Exciting new research!  Decrease your fat intake.

Research has now shown that the main culprit is the fats that are deposited in the cells of muscle, liver, and other vital organs which  interfere with the transport of glucose into the cells.  Like a lock and key mechanism, insulin attaching to the receptors on the outside of the cell, acts as a key to facilitate the glucose coming from the blood into the cell.

When fats are deposited into cells, they inhibit the effect of insulin which is to facilitate the uptake of glucose from the blood into the cell.  Inside the cell, glucose is used to produce energy and carry out  other functions of the cell depending on the organ or tissue that these cells are within.

If there is an inadequate supply of glucose in the cell, there will not be enough energy or power for the cell and organ that the cell is a part of, to do its job.  If the cell is in a muscle, it will not be able to move or contract the muscle it is a part of.  If the cell is in the brain and does not get enough glucose, you have impaired cerebral function and can eventually go into a coma.

The solution is to start with the root cause of the disease which is to prevent or remove fat buildup in cells  Where are the fats coming from?  They are coming from a variety of sources and include any added fats or oils to your foods.  Examples are salad dressings containing fat, saturated fats in baked goods, pastries and butter and margarines in recipes, fats added to foods or foods cooked in fat such as French fries and chicken nuggets, and especially any deep fat fried foods.  To avoid oils, I saute my vegetables in water or vegetable stock and it works just fine!

The most effective way to improve or reverse your diabetes, is to decide now to begin eating a Whole Foods Plant Based Diet.  All a person with prediabetes or Type 2 Diabetes has to do, is to eat only whole plant foods that are minimally processed and avoid all fats and oils which are mostly highly processed.  You can get all the fats that you need by eating whole foods such as corn, seeds and nuts (especially flax seed meal and chia seeds), instead of processed corn oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, etc. Since the body is always trying to heal itself, you will be surprised how quickly you will see results.

However, if you are on medications, especially insulin for diabetes, work closely with your doctor to adjust medicines according to what your blood sugars are running and also blood pressure meds to keep your blood pressure and blood sugar from going too low from these lifestyle changes in combination with medications.  Also speak to your doctor about supplementing with Vitamin B-12 and Vitamin D to prevent deficiencies of these vitamins on a plant-based diet.

Here is a picture of a lunch served at the recent conference I attended in Washington DC called the ICNM (International Committee of Nutritional Medicine).  Start now eating more fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts being sure you have a rainbow plate of many colors.  It is delicious and you will begin feeling healthier and having more energy.  If pregnant, your baby will also be having the best start in life.

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Food As Medicine Event


The Food As Medicine (FAM) event held in Cherry Hill, MJ was a tremendous success.

Kayla Gorrell led us in simple yoga stretches between lectures.  Michelle Aurich, cheerleader for the Eagles, described how the Plantbased diet and decreased stress helped her cure her skin disease.  A fabulous vegan breakfast and lunch were served.  Be on the lookout for our FAM event 2020 and plan to attend so you can be motivated to make changes in your life for a healthier YOU!



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Over Night Oats

Oats are among the healthiest grains on earth.
They’re a gluten-free whole grain and a great source of important vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.
Studies show that oats and oatmeal have many health benefits.
These include weight , lower blood sugar levels and a reduced risk of heart disease.
The nutrient composition of oats is well-balanced.
They are a good source of carbs and fiber, including the powerful fiber beta-glucan
They also contain more protein and fat than most grains
Oats are loaded with important vitamins, minerals and antioxidant plant compounds. Half a cup (78 grams) of dry oats contains:
• Manganese: 191% of the RDI
• Phosphorus: 41% of the RDI
• Magnesium: 34% of the RDI
• Copper: 24% of the RDI
• Iron: 20% of the RDI
• Zinc: 20% of the RDI
• Folate: 11% of the RDI
• Vitamin B1 (thiamin): 39% of the RDI
• Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): 10% of the RDI
• Smaller amounts of calcium, potassium, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and vitamin B3 (niacin)
oats are among the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat.
Both flax and chia seeds are healthy additions to your diet. They’re both good sources of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, fibre and minerals.
Karen Burzichelli RN,
Karen’s Healing Kitchen