Fall is Here!

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Hello I’m Pamela Van Zee, Editor of Our Community Kitchen.

As a young adult, I developed asthma, and for many years I used inhalers and occasionally steroids to control the attacks. I just knew there had to be a better way to manage it. Fortunately, I was introduced to Wayne Garland!

When I told him about my condition he immediately recommended I get off all dairy products, especially cheese, as dairy creates mucous in the body, which was making breathing difficult.

With this simple change to my diet and few of Wayne’s supplements, my asthma attacks started to diminish the first week and within 60 days I stopped using an inhaler altogether, and haven’t used one since. It’s hard to believe that was nearly 20 years ago.

I have always loved to cook and this experience heightened my desire to seek alternative methods for my well being. I have been been dairy-free ever since and vegetarian for the last 10 years.

I remember in the early years, my family and friends thought I was on some “fad” diet and didn’t understand my journey to achieve a better quality of life.  However, over time, they saw the benefits of my decision in my overall health and appearance.  Some of them have applied the same practices to their lives and now I’m the person they call for alternative recipes, pantry clearing and grocery shopping trips.  I have assisted them with learning to shop for nutritional foods which in turn has helped them achieve a healthier life.

Through the years I have been able to accumulated a wealth of information which I’m excited to share with you on your quest toward  “Contagious Health”.


Fall is Here!

You may be making the transition to a plant-strong lifestyle or this is your first fall season without animal protein in your diet.

This is the time of year when food and parties will go hand in hand.  The temptations will be endless.  Warm and comforting foods will be plentiful and calling your name.  During this time, you may question your commitment to eat life enriching foods.

Hold on!  Don’t give up!  Don’t quit!

The hardest part of any new endeavor is the “beginning”.  Remember when you learned how to ride a bike, drive a car or cooked your first holiday meal…pretty intimidating for most of us.  However, when you think about those things now…not so scary, huh?  The more you do something the better you get at doing it.

That’s the same mindset you will need with this journey. The first meal may not turn out the way you were expecting. That’s okay!  You can make another one!  Experiment with your recipes. I believe there are very few rules in cooking. Try it once. If it doesn’t work for you try something else. Don’t stress and make it fun. Cooking at home affords you the opportunity to make  substitutions if you want. (Example: The recipe calls for peas and you may only have broccoli on hand…use the broccoli.).

In our last article we covered the, “Where will I get protein?” question.   Some of you may now be asking questions like:

  • How will I get meat texture in my recipes?
  • What will I use to make smoothies or milkshakes?
  • Will all the food I eat taste like cardboard?

The “OCK” team is here to help and support you through your transition.

Here’s to our journey!

Meat Substitutes

Ground Beef or Turkey
In meat sauces, chili or stews, you can use diced portobello mushrooms or TVP (textured vegetable protein). If using the portobello, you may need to allow them to sweat out some of their liquid before adding to your dish. TVP is a dry granule-type substitute made from soy and can be found in the bulk section of health food stores.

There are many companies that make alternative burgers. Garden Burger and Morning Star Farms are two brands. A variety of flavors are available, so experiment until you find one you like. Portobello mushrooms make a great substitute for burgers, especially if you marinate them beforehand. Another option is to make your own burgers by combining rice and beans with seasonings, or using homemade Seitan (a wheat-gluten protein).

Chicken or Turkey
If drained and pressed, cubed tofu can be used in place of chicken in stir-fry’s, pad-thai or any Asian-themed dish. Seitan is a mea- like substitute made from wheat gluten.

Quorn is a company that makes faux chicken breasts, tenders and nuggets, as well as burgers, roasts and specialty dishes. Tofurky makes sausages, deli meats, and turkey-type roast. Gardein is yet another option.

Dairy Substitutes

There are so many great tasting milk alternatives available. My kid’s favorite is Almond milk and Coconut milk, while my husband prefers Hemp milk on granola and oatmeal. Soy milk works best in hot drinks or as creamer, as the others separate when hot. You can find all of these in local grocery stores, even Wal-Mart. Or make your own for 10-25 cents per quart. Beware of the Silk brand soy milk as it tends to use GMO soybeans and has additives.

Use a non-hydrogenated, non-dairy substitute such as Earth Balance. You can also use coconut oil (which is solid at room temperature) or shortening. I like the Spectrum brand. When using shortening, use only 3⁄4 cup of shortening for every 1 cup of butter

I like the Daiya brand, made from a blend of oils and comes in cheddar and mozzarella flavors. So far I have only found these at health food stores. There are also rice or soy-based cheeses which are found in most grocery stores. Experiment with flavors that you like and textures. Not all substitutes melt, but if using in sandwiches, you may not need them to melt. For ricotta or feta cheese, you can crumble firm tofu & add the seasonings for ricotta or feta.

When replacing eggs in a baked item, replace it with 1/4 cup (per egg) of applesauce, pumpkin, yogurt or silken tofu. You can also use the egg substitute powder, generally found in health food stores. For a scrambled egg, you can use crumbled firm tofu, seasoned with a little turmeric to turn it a lovely yellow color. Add in some veggies and breakfast is ready.

Tip: To make buttermilk, use 1 tbsp lemon juice (or apple cider or white vinegar) to one cup of unsweetened non-dairy milk such as soy or rice milk.  Nut milks do not work well as a buttermilk substitute.

Dairy Substitutes
Alternatives to common milk-based products
Meat Substitutes
Soy is not your only alternative for meat!
Milks from nuts (almond), seeds (hemp), coconut, rice and soy Seitien
Earth Balance Textured Vegetable Protein
Tofutti Portobello Mushrooms
Daiya Cheese Tempeh
Frozen desserts like:
So Delicious, Almond Dream,
Hemp Bliss and TEMPT
Grains like Quinoa

Portobello Burger with Dijon Sauce
Serves 1

1 portobello mushroom cap
1 teaspoon Nayonaise or Vegenaise (mayonnaise substitute)
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon capers, rinsed
Tomato slice and lettuce (optional)
1 whole wheat bun (bun of choice)

Preheat a grill or a grill pan over a medium high heat (or use a Foreman grill). Gently clean the Portobello cap with a damp cloth. Grill the cap approximately 3 minutes on each side.  Mix the mayonnaise substitute of choice, mustard and capers to make the Dijon Sauce.  Place lettuce, tomato and mushroom and sauce on bun.

*You can also add a couple of slices of Daiya wedge cheese.

Wonderful Veggie Soup
Serves 8

2 tablespoons vegetable concentrate (Organic Gourmet ™ Instant  Soup ‘N Stock or any healthy vegetable concentrate)
1 onion, chopped
2 cups potatoes, cut into chunks
2 celery, chopped
2 carrots. chopped
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
2 cups green cabbage, chopped
2 cups cut green beans
2 cups of kale

In a large pot over low heat add vegetable concentrate and 2 1/2 quarts hot water.  Add onions, potatoes, celery, carrots and parsley.  Bring to a simmer then add cabbage, green beans and kale.  Don’t overcook vegetables.

Kids Korner

Hello, it’s Lisa!

I am so excited to be introducing our very first Kids Korner article.

Eating routines are established in early childhood. Plant-strong diets give your child the opportunity to learn to enjoy a variety of wonderful, nutritious foods. They also provide excellent nutrition for all stages of childhood, from birth through adolescence.

Our Community Kitchen has now come to life as a forum to encourage each member in their journey towards “Contagious Health”, through a plant-strong lifestyle.  Our hope for Kids Korner is to inspire those who have children in reaching that same goal, through recipes, tips, and encouragement.

I have been a part of the Ask Dr Garland family for years.  It wasn’t until nine months ago, that I became very serious about furthering our commitment to cleaning up our eating choices.  I thought I was doing an adequate job, until I was exposed daily to those who were fully living the lifestyle.

I learned that the choices my family makes now could affect their lives for years to come.  My goal is to raise the bar in feeding my family meals that will nourish them, as well as fight off disease.

The fall holidays are quickly approaching.  Halloween is the first in the fall line-up where we have the opportunity to make the right choices for all the children in our lives. Thankfully, my children have lost interest in being out there gathering bags of goodies, but they still love to celebrate with the best of them!  Perhaps you have a kid-friendly event that you would like to send a healthy snack for.  How about these beauties?  What a fun way to send something healthy instead of candy!

Apple Smiles
Each apple yields 5 smiles

Red Apples of choice
Mini marshmallows
Almond Butter

Core and slice red apples of choice. Put a thin layer of organic almond butter across each slice. Sandwich 5 mini-marshmallows onto one slice and top with another slice.

Trust me, the kids will LOVE them!

What about the whole “Trick-or-Treat” scene?

Although my children don’t go out as gatherers of candy, they still like to be a part of handing out treats in our neighborhood. I want us to hand out something that will not promote tooth decay or diabetes.  We’ve decided on snack-sized baggies filled with roasted shell-on peanuts.

Here is a list of other “healthy” options you could hand out in your neighborhood.  (Use your imagination)

  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Trail Mix
  • Granola Bars
  • Glow Sticks
  • Quarters
  • Individually wrapped apple or carrot slices
  • Erasers
  • Pencils
  • Microwave popcorn packets
  • Fake Tattoos (Kids LOVE these, and you can get a large quantity for around $5.00 at Walmart)

What about a party in your home?  Perhaps you have a Fall Festival to attend in lieu of Halloween?  Here is a recipe that is sure to be enjoyed by all and one you will feel good about serving!

Glazed Chocolate-Avocado Cupcakes
Courtesy of Vegetarian Times
Yields 12

Cupcakes Ingredients:
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
¾ unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon of baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1 avocado (pitted and pealed)
1 cup pure maple syrup
¾ cup plain soy milk (you can also use almond, rice or coconut milk)
⅓ cup canola oil
1 teaspoons pure vanilla

Cupcakes Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in bowl.
Puree avocado in food processor until smooth.
Add maple syrup, soy milk, oil, and vanilla, and blend until creamy.
Whisk avocado mixture into flour mixture.
Spoon batter into prepared cupcake cups.
Bake 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out with crumbs attached. Cool.

Glaze Ingredients:
¼ block soft silken tofu (from 14-ounces container), drained and patted dry
3 Tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla
⅛ teaspoon salt
4 ounces semisweet vegan chocolate, melted

Glaze Directions:
Blend tofu, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt in food processor until smooth.
Add chocolate to tofu mixture and blend until smooth.
Transfer to bowl.
Dip tops of cupcakes into glaze, pulling straight up from glaze to form peaks.

If we think of each fall event as an opportunity to spend time together in the kitchen, teaching our kids about the choice we make each time we put food into our mouths, and why we want to eat healthy, we won’t go wrong!

Until next time……Love your kids from the inside-out!


Do you have specific questions about getting started, cooking or preparing plant strong meals?  Have a favorite recipe you would like to makeover?

Email me your recipe and the story of your journey.  I will be happy to help you create your own healthy dishes.   Your recipe and story may be printed in a future newsletter for everyone to enjoy.

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Until we eat again!

Laura, Connie, Lisa, Greg, Pamela, Dale and Wayne

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