George and Julia's Vegan Underground

Archive for the month “June, 2012”

Plan B goes for the V

In Hartford County, Plan B Burger Bar perfected the burger and bourbon trade. But how does this place stand with the V’s?

Not too bad. Though, when you ask if the veggie burger is vegan they give you a quizzical look at first and say, “yeah, but I’ll double check for you. It’s not gluten free though.”
Turns out that the veggie burgers are indeed free of all animal products. If vegan and gluten-free is how you roll, Plan B also has a portobello mushroom burger… And portobello fries. Maybe they should consider getting some polenta fries too, just saying…

Overall it was a great veggie burger and throw some jalapeños on there and it’s dynamite.

Plan B has a number of locations throughout Connecticut and the newest location is in Stamford. So you New York people can hop on the Metro North and experience a superb vegan burger. The wait staff is very friendly too. Highly suggested.

New Vegan on the Block

Time to lose Jared and hire George and Julia.

The olde favourite $5 footlong is getting a new vegan makeover. For generations vegans have been chained to Subway’s Veggie sandwich (hold the cheese and mayo please), which consists of mountains of vegetables on one of their vegan-friendly breads. With the new vegan options, the extra cucumbers can now be replaced with any one of these THREE vegan proteins:

  1. Sweet Riblet
  2. Malibu Greek
  3. Italian Black Bean

Right now there’s three areas that are offering the vegan options before it goes nationwide: (what with the #3, Subway?)

  1. DC
  2. Maryland
  3. Virginia

I guess politicians love vegan options…

We speculate that the Riblet is what it sounds like, the Greek Malibu might emulate a gyro, and the Italian Black Bean would hopefully be one spicy vegan meatball. If you live in those areas, let us know what it is and how it tastes!

Move over banana peppers, you’ll be getting a new companion soon enough

Vegans That Rock!

It’s Friday and time for Vegans That Rock!  She’s known for her youthful angst.   Like fellow Canadian Alanis Morissette(also a vegan), that anger often finds its way into her song lyrics.  Today she attributes a vegan diet to her peaceful mental, physical and emotional health.  Even though she’s a spokesperson for the acne solution ProActive, the actual cure is (allegedly) a lack of animal products in her diet.

A singer and songwriter, Avril Lavigne started her career early, appearing on stage with Shania Twain at age 15 and signing a two record deal with Artista Records by 16.   At 17, she released her hit album Let Go.  She’s scored six number one singles including the classic “Sk8er Boi

Lavigne believes in mini meals to keep her blood sugar level.  This includes low-fat, high fiber whole grains and vegetables.  Her favorite food?   She’s goes crazy for cheese-less pizza with tons of black olives.  In fact, there is a pizzeria in Nappanee, Ontario that has an Avril Lavigne pizza.

“I’m on a vegan diet, I do yoga every day, I work out, I’m totally spiritual,” says Lavigne.  

We appreciate all your influence and hard work.  You bring so much to the table.  Avril, you are a vegan that rocks!

Vegan Fast Food

One reason why I enjoy Chipotle is because if you’re in a pinch for a lunch it does provide tasty vegan options for less than $7.00. Usually I like the burrito bowl but because of the heat it was more a salad kind of day. I owned that salad and I wish there were free refills.

A vegan salad from Chipotle comes in at 323 calories. Instead of the dressing provided I just got house hot sauce. If you omit the guacamole thats about 80 calories less. But avocados are great for you!

Juiced Up Thursday

A week goes by and then Thursday rolls around, and you know what that means! Another Juiced Up Thursday. Woo! Today’s Juiced Up Thursday was a bit of a learning experience for me. For two years I’ve thought that this purple hue vegetable growing in my backyard was Oriental Lettuce.

Meet Oriental Lettuce… I think

Well as it turns out, with a little help from google, this is actually what Oriental Lettuce looks like (aka Chinese Lettuce):

Looks more like cabbage to me.

So what’s actually growing in my backyard is a different variety of… drum roll please…


That’s right, I have two different kinds of kale growing in the garden. So what better way to celebrate the discovery of  what I like to call oriental kale, by joining the two kinds in my juicer. I’m not sure if all kale is treated equally, but on this blog we do. So just to recap the greatness of kale, I’ll list the benefits again:

Kale: Includes calcium, vitamin B6, magnesium, vitamin A, C and K. Good source of minerals like copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. Basically it keeps your body fresh and helps you inside and out.

So what’s today’s juice all about?

I love making juice but I didn’t love the ingredients in the fridge. Someone, not me, keeps buying beets. I can’t stand beets. I think they taste awful and even with how great they are for your health I try my hardest to avoid them. However, the only thing in my fridge today was carrots, apples, beets and lemon. And I’ve tried that combination once before and it sucked. I also should mention I have blueberries as well. So today I went with this:

  • Bundle of Kale (2 kinds)
  • 4 Carrots
  • 1 Beet (with it’s greens)
  • 1 Lemon
  • Handful of Blueberries

Not the most attractive juice.

As you can see again the majority of this juice was vegetables. Do you see a common theme here? Just to put some minds at ease, George and I like vegetable heavy juices because with extracting juice from fruits you get a lot of sugar and not the dietary fibery goodness. Where as vegetables are much lower in sugar and carry a little more bang for your buck in the nutrients isle.

Well bottoms up…

Even with the revolting beets, I have to try it out.


It doesn’t taste bad, even with the beet juice in it. Yeah it’s a little bitter, but it tastes hearty and decent. So what are the benefits of the beets and blueberries?

Beets: Welcome to the super food party beets. Beets carry tons of nutritional punch like magnesium, sodium, potassium, iron, zinc, copper, and calcium. It also has plentiful amounts of antioxidants which helps fight premature aging. The deep red color which stains everything it touches is called betacyanin and it’s a anti-cancer agent. There’s so much more too but for all you vegetarians and vegans, beets also is a home to various amino acids. Who needs meat when you’ve got the beet?

Blueberries: Everyone wants to find a magic diet pill, but really they should take a look at the little blue fruit in the pint container. Blueberries are known for assisting in weight management. It cuts down on cravings! So stress eaters, think about adding this superfruit to your diet. It also helps with reducing cholesterol, and has strong anti-obesity and anti-diabetic properties. Nature’s only true blue food, the blueberry is chockfull of antioxidants and polyphenols. It assists with prevention against some cancers and the onset of Alzheimer’s

I’m Really Impressed

George made an Ethiopian influenced dinner tonight and it tasted amazing. There was sweet potatoes with tempeh, broccoli with jalapeños and mushrooms, and some sort of lentil mush that was made from leftover Indian food. I can’t believe he made this. Which one of you vegan readers helped him out?

When interviewing George about tonight’s dinner, he had this to say:

“My secret to the sweet potatoes was chili powder, xanthan gum and I used premium tempeh.” George later added “you never thought I’d finally find a use for xanthan gum.”

George, no I didn’t. Kudos. 5 Moby’s for tonight’s feast.

Vegans Poop Better

It’s true.  Vegans poop bigger and more often.  Who cares?  Well Dr. Michael Greger does and so should you.  Greger spoke at (where else) The Seed: A Vegan Experience as one of the growing number of nutrition-focused doctors who favor the vegan diet. The following is an entertaining summary of the good Dr. Greger’s findings.

Quicker Is Better

While it isn’t something we like to discuss but a healthy number 2 means a healthy you.  The healthiest go big and go often.  It’s believed that problems like cancer occur because of extended mouth to anus “transit time.”   For a meat eaters, transit time is 4-5 days.  For a vegan it is 1-2 days.  One reason for this is that vegans have an increased fecal output which speeds things up.

“People don’t realize you can have daily bowel movements and still be effectively constipated.  You can be regular, but four days late. In other words, what you’re flushing today you may have eaten last week.”  If you want to determine your true transit time, Dr. Greger suggests eating a bowls of beets and wait for it to come out “pretty and pink.”

More time in the digestive track means toxins and estrogen our body meant to dispose of, hangs around and wreaks havoc when it is re-absorbed into the body. 

Bigger Is Better

“The bigger the bowel movement”, Dr. Greger says, “the healthier we may be.”  Women eating plant-based diets may have lower breast cancer rates because they have larger bowel movements and thus, less estrogen time in the bloodstream.  The bigger the stool, faster to the pool.

Low stool weight risks include colon cancer, bowel cancer, diverticular disease, appendicides, anal disease with colon cancer.  Greger set the target at a half pound (200 grams) as the “minimum fecal output for cancer prevention.”  In order to reach that, transit time should be down in the 24-36 hour range.

Weighing In

Dr. Michael Greger’s “Who’s number 1 at Number 2?” (averaged)

1st Place – Tonga 531 grams (1.17 lb)

2nd Place – India 311 grams (.68 lb.)

3rd Place – Japan 195 grams (.43 lb.)

Even with the U.S. vegans helping their average (with their doubled stool weight), the home of the brave, came in dead last 120 grams (.26 lb.).

 The Tonga Diet:

taro, sweet potato, yam, plantain, breadfruit, hibiscus greens, banana, cabbage

For more information on Dr. Michael Greger and his work, check out

Anna’s Goes Vegan

On our George and Julia Eat Manhattan blog I’ve declared my love for Anna’s Taqueria, but now I’m bringing a new vegan outlook on Boston’s favorite burritos. There must be a new kind of culinary consumer in the area because Anna’s now provides warnings of what consists of dairy and meat. A year ago this definitely did not exist.

Sour cream in guacamole? Huh?

My number one concern on this is what the caption above says. Vegans LOVE guacamole, but at this establishment it’s now tainted with sour cream. Not a big deal, to have a vegan experience there’s a number of items they provide:

  • Roasted Vegetables
  • Beans (Pinto, Black and refried)
  • Vegetarian Rice
  • Homemade Salsa
  • Lettuce and jalapenos

Beans corner with a visit from carnitas

The proximity of meat to vegetables is something that would turn hardcore vegans off, but fortunately I’m not an overly zealous vegan. I don’t meltdown if there’s cheese on the same platter as my celery. Because Anna’s was pretty scrupulous to warn about the guacamole and rice I figured the beans were safe. George would claim the refried beans have lard in it.

Nobody puts roasted vegetables in the corner. Well apparently Anna’s does.

From when I started visiting Anna’s Taqueria in 2006, they’ve provided customers with roasted vegetables. But when I did order the vegetables for my burrito there was something I should highlight:

  • Con: When you order the roasted vegetables, they do chop them up with the same knife and on the same cutting board as the meat.

Would this make it not vegan? Some would argue yes. Again, I’m not a go-into-freakout-mode vegan with things like this, but I know it’s something that some vegans would find unacceptable. So what did my plant-based burrito look like?

Veggie Super Burrito

What I got on it was vegetarian rice, pinto beans, lettuce, roasted vegetables, homemade salsa (chockfull of cilantro), and tons of hot sauce. It was delicious. But I did return again and decided to omit the roasted vegetables (because of the cutting board incident), and went with lettuce, jalapenos, salsa, rice, pinto beans and hot sauce. To be honest I think it taste better without the roasted vegetables. Stop by Anna’s while you visit Boston, it’s good for vegans and carnivores.

It’s like Subway (sandwich shop) style choices

UPDATE: Calorie Breakdown

  • Tortilla Wrap: 290 (12 inch super burrito)
  • Rice: 160
  • Pinto Bean: 140 (black beans 130)
  • Vegetables: 70
  • Salsa: 20
  • Lettuce: 5
  • Hot Sauce: 10

Total: 695

Vegans That Rock!

Ooh Lordy, troubles so hard. It’s Friday and you know what that means.  Vegans That Rock!!  Known for his sample-based electronic music, this UConn Alum started out as a punk rocker in Darien CT playing in a band called the Vatican Commandos. In fact, angry with the ignoring press, this vegan went back to his roots, recording a punk rock album in 2006 called (what else) “Animal Rights.”

Richard Melville Hall, a.k.a. Moby could be the vegan poster child.  He’s produced David Bowie, Metallica, the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy and many more.  Rolling Stone called his 1999 album Play one of the best albums of all time.  Damn Moby, way to show the world that once again, vegans dominate the rock world.

Moby says “some of the best vegan cooking I’ve ever had is done by chefs who are not vegan cooks.  I’ve had amazing meals in meat-centered restaurants where the chef sees it as a challenge to make something outside of their normal repertoire.”   He’s right.  Catering to vegans can be fun.  Moby even co-owns a small restaurant and teashop called Teany where it’s rumored that he still(on occasion) waits tables.  Yes, Moby I’ll have the miso tempeh wrap with a side of extra crispy kale chips.

Spending most of his professional life in NYC, Moby says New York City is a vegan paradise.  Some of his favorite restaurants off the top of his head: Candle 79, Angelicas, Counter, Caravan of Dreams, Franchia, Teany, Wild Ginger, Gobo, Zen Palate, Souen, Kate’s Joint, Organic Grill, Heirloom, Tien Garden, Quintessence, Babycakes (for vegan desserts) and Pure Food and Wine. He calls the restaurant Blossom “the best vegan restaurant on the planet” because he loves their vegan pizza.

“My biggest regret about being a vegan is not being able to eat pizza.  Now I can. It’s great. I can’t recommend this restaurant more highly, it gets 5 out of 5 stars in my vegan Michelin guide.”  (A Moby rating system?)

Tomorrow, the former King Neptune will be the performing rare-these-days duties as D.J. at the Coney Island Annual Mermaid Parade after-party.  Best to get your tickets in advance.  Keep living the dream vegan superman.  You’re a Vegan That Rocks!

Moby’s Death Row Last Meal – Caravan of Dreams’ mini-tacos with seitan, pineapple, guacamole, and salsa with a side of sautéed kale and garlic.

The Moby Smoothie – Homemade almond milk, spinach, kale, cacao nibs, spirulina, bananas, strawberries, and blueberries.

More Vegetables, Less Cancer

Fuhrman and Kraynak

Fuhrman and Kraynak

…or something like that.  This is the kind of bold statement Dr. Joel Fuhrman might make.  I continue my coverage of “The Seed: A Vegan Experience”

Dr.Joel Fuhrman spoke on “Winning the War Against Cancer” in his keynote speech on Saturday, June 16th.  In the spirit of Campbell and Esselstyn (Forks Over Knives), Fuhrman’s doctoring style is nutrition as a cure and drugs as a last resort.  While herbalists, health store owners and eastern medicine lovers have been preaching this for years, the medical community has often been slow in embracing this idea.  Fuhrman brings the science and some very bold statistics that suggest that living a life of what he calls “Super Immunity” will protect you from cancer, cure cancers, prolong life and repair the damage done from eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) for so long. 

As he simply puts it: Health equals Nutrients/Calories or H=N/C for short.  This ideology encourages a higher nutrient to lower calorie ratio, avoiding especially empty calories (containing no nutrients).   I originally saw Dr.Fuhrman in the documentary Vegucated.  I encourage you to read his book Super Immunity.  He’s quite the visionary and quite passionate about his practice.

These are some of Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s beliefs:

•  Too much protein causes cancer
•  Korea has a 90 percent lower breast cancer before introduction of fast food into their diet.
•  White rice is one of the worst things you could eat (zero nutrients)
•  Salt causes stomach cancer
•  It’s a myth that we are living longer these days
•  Living longer numbers are bogus and are actually skewed by less infant mortality rate, due to better childbirth/running water etc.
•  We are suffering longer – we now get sick 10-15 years before we die
                Used to be our quality of life goes down 2-3 months before death
•  Antibiotics cause cancer
•  ITC’s (Isothiocyanates) in cruciferous vegetables repair the dha, neutralize cancer-causing carcinogens
•  All oil is bad – goes directly into the blood stream and instantly turns into fat
•  Grounded up flax seeds not flax-seed oil
•  Flax seeds-prevent breast cancer
•  Best soy products are tempeh and edamame
•  Worse soy products  is tofu dogs and soy protein shake
•  Men who eat beans 3 times a week have 50 percent lower colon cancer
•  Mushrooms make immunity system work better
•  Mushrooms prevent growth of blood vessels – No blood vessels, tumors can’t grow
•  Mushrooms don’t allow you to get fat.
•  You only need a small amount of mushrooms to get these benefits
•  Half cup of onions per day equals 100 percent protection from cancer
•  Half pound of green vegetables per day equals 100 percent protection from cancer
•  Strawberries make you live longer and also prevents colon cancer
•  The best diet is a vegan one that includes nuts and seeds

You Ever Wonder Why?

The Key to the best possible health or becoming what Fuhrman calls a “Nutritarian”…
GOMBBS: Greens, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries, Beans and Seeds

Sound radical?  You may ask why his findings are not always embraced by the medical community.  It’s been suggested that one possible reason, is that it’s hard for a Doctor to completely abandoned what they were taught and is the current medical thought of the time.  After all, doctors have given this contrary advice for years.

I think we can all agree, GOMBBS makes sense. Dr.Fuhrman’s statistics are hair-raising and certainly brings a new chapter to how we view our health.  Read more and decide for yourself.

Here’s the Q&A.  What did I ask?  Watch and find out

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