George and Julia's Vegan Underground

Archive for the month “November, 2012”

The Dirty Dozen 2012

Every year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) puts out a list of the “dirty dozen” fruits and vegetables.  These are the fruits and vegetables that generally contain the most pesticides. The EWG suggests that you only buy organic versions of this filthy fare.  When I was standing in line at the Park Slope food coop, I got into a “discussion” with fellow member and friend (Bendix) about blueberries.  He reminded me that there was a “new” dirty dozen put out this summer and that I’d better check it before I go shooting my mouth off.  After scolding a woman on a cell phone for cutting in line, I got to thinking, Bendix had a reasonable request for this vegan icon.

In addition, Julia and I had recently returned from Los Angeles and had some great dialogue with friends and family about fruit and vegetable safety.  Many people believe that buying from a local farmer is just as good, if not better than buying organic.  I suppose it depends on the farm.

So here it is… The Dirty Dozen.  It’s similar to previous years but there were a few surprises.  In addition, they added two extras making it the Dirty Dozen Plus (the Dirty 14 just doesn’t have the same ring to it):

Dirty Dozen Plus™ (Buy these organic)

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Sweet bell peppers
  4. Peaches
  5. Strawberries
  6. Nectarines– imported
  7. Grapes
  8. Spinach
  9. Lettuce
  10. Cucumbers
  11. Blueberries – domestic
  12. Potatoes

+ Green beans and Kale/Greens

Oh apples, you’ve topped the list again.  I was a little surprised that domestic blueberries made the list and not imported.  Also try buying organic grapes, they are about 8-10 bucks a pound!

As someone who regularly drops serious bank on these organic versions, I’m always interested in what foods don’t necessarily need to be organic.  Luckily, the EWG also put out the “Clean 15” which list the fruits and vegetables lowest in pesticides.

Clean 15™ (Lowest in Pesticide)

  1. Onions
  2. Sweet Corn (Commonly GMO so still buy organic corn)
  3. Pineapples
  4. Avocado
  5. Cabbage
  6. Sweet peas
  7. Asparagus
  8. Mangoes
  9. Eggplant
  10. Kiwi
  11. Cantaloupe – domestic
  12. Sweet potatoes
  13. Grapefruit
  14. Watermelon
  15. Mushrooms

It’s not a shocker that the fruits and vegetables with the thickest skin, tend to the cleanest.  I was surprised cabbage and asparagus was cleanish which I would think to be similar green bean/kale family.

The Full List can be found here:

But what about GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms)?  I will save that for another day.  Just know this: 

  • 100% Organic – means 100 % organic and GMO-free.
  • Certified Organic/USDA Organic/Organic-is 95% organic & usually GMO-free
  • Made with Organic – up to 70 % organic and typically NOT GMO-free.

Organic meats often use casing from GMO animals to make it’s sausages.  Organic egg producers often buy chickens from non-organic farms.  To make matters worse, the whole Organic industry is not properly monitored and so it’s probable there’s serious deception out there.  Gary Null went to South America to investigate organic foods and found that almost none of it was actually organic.  “Healthy” soybeans and canola oils are almost always GMO’s.   This is a huge can of worms and highlights a clear need for GMO labeling which almost happened in California.  I’m tired of being a science experiment.  New York, it’s time to step-up with our own GMO labeling bill.  If we can control soda intake what’s a friendly assault on our agricultural industry.  C’mon NYC, show the world that we will, once again be the first and watch as the rest of the country follows.

George’s Famous Kale Salad

Here it is, the recipe you’ve been waiting for…George’s Famous Kale Salad.
Now I know I have been promising this and I’m happy to share. As you may know, I practically live off this stuff. Julia was a little skeptical but now is on board. We try to eat 1-3 servings a day. I make a big Tupperware container (sometime doubling the recipe). One of the great things about George’s Famous Kale Salad is it lastsfor a week with the dressing on. Lettuce wilts after one day but Kale is tough and additional days in the refrigerator will actually enhance this magical dish.

What makes this dish so great? It has it all, vitamins, protein, fiber, and good fat (from almonds) and it tastes amazing.  If you had to live off this salad, you’d like, even love it.  Live you would, with a capital “L.”.  While it helps to have a high-powered blender (like the Vitamix), it is not necessary. If you are using a traditional blender just chop up your ginger, jalapeno and cilantro a bit more.  (If you have a Vitamix, you can use the half water/half vegetable chopping method. 4 pulses and drain).

This salad has so much going for it. The lemon cuts the bitterness of the kale and the carrots and almonds give it a nice crunch.  The blueberries work so well, adding sweetness and antioxidants.  The dressing is out of this world and contains no oil! The dressing is my own take on a recipe I got from my good friend Dr. Joel Fuhrman. Thanks Joel. So let’s get started!

Here’s what you need:

6 Cups of Organic Curly Kale (any Kale will do but I prefer curly)
Organic Frozen Blueberries (or Fresh Organic if in season)
16 oz or about 10 organic carrots
1/2 cup of natural organic raw almonds (whole or sliced)
2 bananas
1/2 cup of organic cilantro
4 oz. of fresh ginger root
2-3 lemons
2 tablespoons of diced organic jalapeno without seeds
Chopped bananas and 1/2 cup of water

Wash and chop the kale so you’ve got ribbons no more than an inch.
Finely chop your carrots and almonds (you could buy them pre-chopped)
Put the kale, carrots and almonds in a large Tupperware container. You may need more than one container. Set the kale/carrot/almond blend to the side.
Put into the blender the following:
chopped ginger root
lemons squeezed/juiced
jalapeno without seeds (increase or decrease jalapeno to taste)
finely Chopped Cilantro (if using a traditional blender take out as many stems as you can)
chopped bananas

Add water and blend until liquified. Pour this dressing over the kale/carrot/almonds. Add blueberries and put the lid on the Tupperware and shake until it is well mixed. Enjoy! Put the remaining salad in the refrigerator. It will keep up to 7 days. This salad will change your life. It will make you feel energetic and invincible.

Vegan Bakery

Yes, one of these really does exist in Brooklyn! In the forever hip and trendy Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg, the vegan hipsters can take a break from reading Sylvia Plath and jamming to the Pixies to grab a bite to eat at Champs Family Bakery. Beware it’s cash only, but there’s an ATM right on the premise. All the cakes, muffins, brownies and cookies are made in house. They serve all your favorite diner foods but in vegan form. So you can get a vegan chik’n fried steak with mashed potatoes or a stack of pancakes with cashew whipped cream. It’s all here, right at the corner of Leonard and Ainslie st in Brooklyn.

Naples challenge

I’m down in the sunshine state, Florida. When traveling out of my comfort zone of NYC I always run into culinary difficulties. Especially with my profession, there seems to be some vegetarians but almost zero vegans. Luckily near the hotel I’m staying at for my business convention there’s a Loving Hut just a couple miles away. Yes, the Loving Hut. The vegan Asian restaurant you can find near Penn Station. It’s been a lifesaver and my colleagues have been receptive to trying out the food, so it’s been easy to catch rides for lunch and dinner. By the end of this trip I might have had a little too much Loving.

Happy Birthday Julia!

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