It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us. 

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Optimal Protein Shake for Vegan Athletes

A lot of people think that animal-based sources are the only way to get the full spectrum of protein you need to perform at your athletic peak.

Yet while meat, eggs, and dairy are generally good sources of complete protein, there are also plenty of ways that vegans can get enough protein.

And with the right sources, vegans can even get the complete range of protein, the same as someone with no dietary restrictions.

Read on and we’ll share what vegan athletes need to know about proper protein intake, how to get complete protein on a plant-based diet, and a tasty protein shake that ticks all the vegan boxes.

The Concept of a Complete Protein

Getting enough protein is one thing athletes need to focus on. But you should also consider the type of protein you’re getting.

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Food and Water: What You Eat Matters for People & the Planet

Water is an essential part of every form of life on Earth. But by 2025, two-thirds of the world's population may be facing freshwater shortages, and ecosystems around the world may suffer even more. So what can we do to save water so future generations can drink and grow food? A lot! And it can all start with the food on our plates.

Take the 101 South out of San Francisco through Silicon Valley, past the campuses of Apple, Google, and Facebook. You’ll drive past Whole Foods Markets, Trader Joe’s, Costcos, Walmarts, medical centers, golf courses, fruit stands, and farmers markets. Continue south, hang a left at Gilroy, and hit CA-152 West. As you pass the San Luis Reservoir and Recreation Area, you’ll see signs warning prospective swimmers and boaters to avoid the water due to toxic algal blooms.

The 152 rolls into Highway 99 as you continue through Fresno and finally reach your destination, the small town of Dinuba, California. You’ll find yourself at the base of Smith Mountain, smack dab in the center of the San Joaquin Valley.

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“You Are What You Eat” Should Be “You Are What You Ate”

There have been exciting discoveries about the microbiome that lead to a radical change in how we view the human body. “Microbiome” is a new name for something long known about, the teeming colonies of bacteria and fungi that exist all around the body. We need these micro-organisms in order to digest food, but the existence of so-called “intestinal flora” isn’t news either. So why did the microbiome become exciting?

The biggest reason can be summarized as “The microbiome is us.” Instead of being invaders or microscopic hitchhikers, the microbiome represents the continuity of life itself. Microbial DNA is woven into human DNA, which immediately tells us that far from being enemy germs, thousands of species of bacteria, viruses, and fungi brought our ancestors the news of the world as it applies to the evolution of life. A world cloud of DNA moves in, around, and through every living thing.

In natural history museums our hominid ancestors look small and primitive, but there is an invisible link that binds us to them, the microbiome. There are other microbiome locations in the mouth, on the skin, and in the armpits and groin, but let’s limit ourselves to the gut microbiome, since it is incredibly complex, with an estimated 2,000 species of microbial life, and it is life-giving.

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Are Starches Good or Bad?

You know those giant pleated collars that European nobles wore in the 15th and 16th centuries? They’re called “ruffs,” which is kind of fitting since they look a bit like the cones worn by dogs who can’t stop chewing on itchy spots. Some ruffs were so wide that their wearers had to use special extra-long utensils to get food into their mouths.

The reason ruffs were popular (in addition to the fact that they made wearers assume a neck and head posture that proclaimed their nobility) was that they were really time-consuming and expensive to maintain — and the key ingredient in keeping them from folding or drooping was starch.

These days, starch is still used to stiffen collars, though at much less extreme levels. It’s also an important ingredient in industrial production, included in products like adhesives and paper. The single biggest role for starch in the modern world, though? It’s what we eat.

What comes to mind when you hear the word “starches,” or “starchy foods”? For most people, it’s probably processed food — especially bread products like dinner rolls, crackers, and cookies. But there are also many whole, unprocessed foods that are high in starch: rice, corn, quinoa, and potatoes, for example. In fact, most traditional human diets have been centered around starches.

While it’s true that cookies and quinoa both contain starch, they don’t affect the body in the same way. If your idea of starches is only based on processed grains or fried potatoes, you may be surprised to learn that some starches are among the healthiest foods you can eat. In fact, some types of starch offer gut health benefits that can’t be achieved with any other food, making them important foods for a healthy life.

So, what are starches, exactly? Which types of starches are healthy and unhealthy, and how can you add more of the good ones to your diet?

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Brushstrokes: A season of gratitude and culinary hugs (soup!)

The light is changing, the days have become shorter and I’m busy stocking my refrigerator and freezer with soup. In the Studio, I’m selecting and hanging paintings for our Winter Open Studios (see below)—all in all, feeling more and more like a little squirrel with gleaming eyes burying her acorns and hickory nuts for the winter ahead. 

There’s also a growing feeling of gratitude for the lives we are privileged to live, for the beauty of the earth and the sky, the bounty of the harvest, and the love of family and friends as Thanksgiving approaches. 

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6 Delicious Breakfast Ideas for Vegans

Whether you’re a brand-new vegan on the hunt for some ideas or you’re a total veteran who wants to spice things up, there are so many great options for vegan breakfasts that you need to check out. From the on-the-go mornings when you hardly have the time to heat up some toast, to more involved recipes, vegan breakfast options can go any which way.

Whether you’re in the mood for something savory, something a little sweet, or something in between, you can find the perfect breakfast to start off your day.

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5 Alternative Healthy Meal Ideas for Thanksgiving

Many families prepare a traditional Thanksgiving feast, but there’s much to be said for adding something new into the mix. If you want to change up your dinner table this holiday, why not make it a healthy addition or substitution?

The following five ideas can suit many different tastes, and each provides a unique nutritional profile. Try one or several of these alternative ideas this Thanksgiving!

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Coconut Products Are Highly Beneficial for Human Health- Explore How

Apart from being widely used in manufacturing cosmetics goods including soaps, hair oils, and several skin care applications, coconut products are also increasingly being taken recourse to by the food manufacturers in making fried foods, smoothies, and sweets.

Coconut products are highly nutritious indeed. When the majority of fruits are high in carbohydrate, coconuts mainly tend to provide good fat .They also take in protein and a lot of other important vitamins and minerals. Simultaneously, the fact that coconuts are rich in manganese plays an important role in improving your bone health and controlling the metabolic function of cholesterol and carbs. The fruit is also high in iron and copper, which aid in creating red blood cells and selenium, an essential antioxidant that fortifies your cells.

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Holiday Meal Planning Tips and Recipes for Healthy & Happy Gatherings

Ahh, the holidays — a time for fun, festivities, and… stress? The holidays can, and should, be a time to focus on what we have in common and what we want to celebrate together. But what happens when our friends and family members have different diets and food preferences, and we’re in charge of holiday meal planning?

What if you’re vegan? Or you eat a whole food, plant-based diet free of processed food, oil, and sugar, and your friend is gluten-free; your sister is Paleo; your nephew is allergic to nuts, and your in-laws love sausages and donuts?

The sources of stress can go far beyond food, of course. One of the things about family is, well, we can’t choose them. Holiday gatherings can bring together people with widely different political and social views. It can be enough to make you want to skip the holidays entirely.

But, don’t despair.

You can bring people together over a shared meal and shared values — whether you observe Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, or just want to share time with friends and family.

In this article, we’ll focus on planning and preparing delicious and healthy holiday food, while also looking at how to extend those strategies to present a loving and welcoming table for all your guests.

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6 Ways to Make Your Coffee Habit Healthier

More than 60% of Americans drink coffee every day, and if you’re one of them, you know exactly how you like yours. Maybe you enjoy adding flavored syrups and creamers. Perhaps you add a spoonful of sugar and a bit of half-and-half.

Regardless of how you take your coffee, you could probably stand to make it healthier. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to brew — or order — a more nutritious and nutritious cup of joe.

1. Drink It Black

Lattes, frappes and other fancy coffee drinks are choc-full of calories, not to mention absurd amounts of sugar and fat. If you’re used to ordering these kinds of beverages, the mere thought of drinking your coffee black might make you cringe. However, doing so is the easiest and most effective way to make your coffee habit healthier. Slowly wean yourself off the creamy, sugary drinks and, eventually, your taste buds might come to love dark roasts and bold espressos.

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The four legs of the stool: your PhD in healing with food

Knowledge is power! From our blog archives, this is a great one for you to read if you haven't already. I spell out the BASICS of current nutritional science, to help you both prevent and heal a myriad of health conditions. Very handy.


Does nutrition information sometimes seem overwhelming?


Especially if you are seeking to improve a complex health condition, you may feel like you need to acquire a PhD in order to find your way! Your doctor doesn’t have all the answers, NOBODY seems to have all the answers, so you may feel like it’s on all on you.


Allow me to assist.

Yes, there are lots of studies out there, and yes, we’re all different and there are lots of customizations possible. But starting with the food science basics can take you a LONG way towards elevating your health.


I call it the 4 legs of the stool.

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Plant-Based Families: How to Navigate Healthy Eating in a Household

Do you ever worry about the health of the people you love — and wish they ate healthier food? If you’ve tried to help others move in a positive direction, has it ever felt as if you were banging your head against a brick wall?

If you know my story, you might think I can’t relate. After all, I grew up eating a whole foods, plant-powered diet in the home of one of the world’s best-known proponents of healthy, plant-based eating (my dad is Food Revolution Network co-founder and president John Robbins, author of many books on health, nutrition, and social and environmental justice, including the 1987 bestseller Diet for a New America.) How could I possibly have any idea what family conflict around food is like?

Hear me out.

When I was a kid, we had our fair share of food conflicts in our extended family. My grandpa Irv, the co-founder of Baskin-Robbins, wanted nothing to do with our “hippie” eating style. He ate the standard American diet with gusto — including, of course, lots and lots of his favorite ice cream.

When my mom, dad, and I would visit my dad’s parents, we sometimes stayed in a rented condo because sharing meals could become such a point of friction. At one point, my grandma Irma famously declared, “You will NOT cook tofu in my kitchen!” She was clear who was in charge in her domain, adding: “When you’re in my house, you will eat what I serve.”

Since my grandma wasn’t exactly a black belt in flexibility, we did not try to convince her to let us cook our simple, plant-based meals in her kitchen. Instead, we prepared most of our meals separately in our condo kitchen.

We didn’t want differences over food to keep us from being a family. But because those differences were based in very different realities and values systems, we struggled with the conflicts and separations they caused.

Blood Can Be Thicker Than Ice Cream

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Vegan Bacon: Why It’s Better for You and How to Make Your Own

If you Google “broccoli summer camp,” “kale summer camp,” and “cauliflower summer camp,” you’ll come up empty. You’ll find summer recipes for these cruciferous stars, sure, but no weeklong vacation event dedicated to them.

When you search for “bacon summer camp,” by contrast, you’ll discover that there is such a thing. With speakers, cooking tutorials, panel discussions, butchering demos, and even a bacon film festival, Camp Bacon caters to one of the hottest foods of the past decade.

And that’s just the tip of the strip, if you will. Someone spent enough time and energy to figure out that 62% of US restaurants have bacon on the menu. The average American consumes almost 18 pounds of bacon per year – and if you don’t, then someone out there is eating 36 pounds to keep the average up. There’s a National Bacon Day in the US. And bacon has gone from breakfast meat to ubiquitous star ingredient in everything from bacon-wrapped hot dogs and steaks to desserts like cupcakes and ice cream. And if I haven’t yet convinced you that bacon makes people highly irrational, there’s a Seattle company that sells bacon-scented underwear for men and women.

These days, whenever an animal-based product becomes hugely popular, plant-based versions aren’t far behind. Thanks to a growing market, new technologies, and social media experimentation, there are now plant-based bacon alternatives that are getting closer and closer to the original. According to the online food ordering company Grubhub, users ordered vegan bacon 113% more in 2019 than the year before.

And it’s a good thing, too! Bacon comes from pigs, the vast majority of which (approximately 95%) are raised on factory farms, which carry a whole host of ethical and environmental problems. And that’s not even mentioning the health effects of bacon, which is a highly processed meat.

So in this article, we’ll take a look at vegan bacon: why it can be a much better alternative to the stuff that comes from pigs, how you can make it yourself, and recipes that use plant-based bacon.

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Are Mangoes Good for You — and the Planet?

Although it may not be as revered as the apple, banana, or even tomato (at least in the western world), the mango is one of the most commonly eaten fruits worldwide. And production has gone up around 17% in the last few years globally, averaging over 55 million mangoes per year.

This luscious, juicy, sweet fruit that has won fans the world over originated in India, where it has a long and revered history. One of the central rituals of Hinduism, the puja ceremony, uses water infused with mango leaves to create the proper resonance for honored deities. Indian poets also use mangoes to evoke emotions like lust and love. And contemporary Indian novelists like Arundhati Roy and Anita Desai draw upon mangoes to symbolize abundance, sweetness, and possibility.

The mango is the national fruit of India, which produces more than half of all the mangoes consumed worldwide. Other top growers include Thailand, Mexico, and the tropical regions of China. In the US, mango trees can thrive in Hawaii, Florida, and parts of California.

With billions of fans and centuries of great PR, you’d think that mangoes have it made. But due to their high sugar content, mangoes are often vilified by low-carb enthusiasts. And because they’re exported around the globe, some environmentalists express concern over their carbon footprint and sustainability.

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Meet Moringa: What Is This Transformative Superfood Good For?

I want this article to start a different kind of food revolution. You see, when I write about foods you might want to include in your diet, I generally focus on those that you can easily obtain: fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, legumes, and so on.

Today, I want to convince you to pay attention to one of the most nutritious and eco-friendly plants ever studied, even though the only way you can get it in most parts of the US and Europe is as a powdered supplement. Why? Because not only is the moringa tree an incredible source of nutrition, it also has the potential to reverse global warming, provide food for the starving, create thriving agricultural economies in some of the poorest places on earth, and even remove toxins from drinking water.

So, I hope you’ll indulge me a little until there’s enough of a market to get the attention of entrepreneurs, importers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and environmental and justice-oriented nonprofits to make moringa wide-spread.

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Cool that fire: Inflammation

“Inflammation” is one of those health words that is bandied about all the time… but do we really know what it means?

We think of swelling and the color red… we know it’s not a good thing, and that we want less of it… but the rest is a bit mysterious.

After my recent online Kitchen Chat about Fighting Cancer -- with Food! (you can get the recording here), one attendee wrote, “I wish you could have spent a whole hour talking about inflammation!” Quite right. It’s THAT important. Especially how FOOD fits in, and how we can use food to tone inflammation down.

Let’s take a look.

First, definitions. At it’s best, inflammation is a normal response of the body to injury and infection and an important component of healing.

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How to Balance Hormones Naturally with Diet & Lifestyle

Imagine if the different organs and systems in your body weren’t on speaking terms. If you ate a big meal, your stomach might keep that news to itself, and your intestines wouldn’t release enzymes to digest that meal. Your brain would hoard the knowledge of an oncoming car, and neglect to alert your heart to pump more blood into your extremities so you could leap out of the way safely. You might be staggering from fatigue but your pineal gland couldn’t get the other systems in your body to allow you to sleep.

All these communications, and millions more, occur so rapidly that it seems like they’re not even happening. The time from someone sneaking up behind you and popping a balloon to you going into full-on fight or flight appears not to exist — it just happens all at once. In reality, the different organs and systems in the body are in constant communication, all the time. And all that data transfers thanks to little chemical messengers known as hormones.

Hormones are involved in almost all of your bodily processes and are vital to your health. They keep your body functioning optimally. And big changes in their production can trigger or signal a physical transition from one stage of life to another. But sometimes hormone levels can be thrown out of balance. Depending on the cause, hormonal imbalances can be temporary or chronic. And while modern medicine tends to treat them with medications, it turns out there’s often a lot you can do to balance hormones naturally.

What Are Hormones?

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What is Miso? Introducing a Longevity Food of the Blue Zones

It’s a comfort food that’s good for you… A salty food that may improve heart health… A peaceful culinary offering to the West from the son of an impoverished warrior… If these sound too good to be true, allow me to introduce you to the delicious, versatile, and wonderful Japanese condiment called miso.

Miso is a popular condiment used in many Asian cuisines. In the US, it’s most commonly known as the star ingredient in miso soup. But this pungent paste has several other culinary uses. Traditional Okinawans, who are famous for their longevity and live in one of the world’s most heavily studied “Blue Zones,” often eat miso soup for breakfast.

Miso is well regarded for its health benefits, despite containing a significant amount of sodium. But if you’re unfamiliar with miso, you may be wondering what exactly it is, or how to incorporate it into your diet outside of a traditional miso soup recipe. Let’s look at what miso is and what makes it so special.

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7 Plant-Based Dinner Recipes That are Easy Enough for Beginners

Since the pandemic hit, the world is facing a very challenging “new normal.” Aside from the disease itself, many of us are struggling to stay positive and productive amid social distancing, masks, food shortages, uncertainty, lost jobs, and health fears. Many restaurants have closed for dine-in service or have significantly reduced their capacity, offering contactless, curbside to-go options instead. Some people are ordering take-out, but many are eating out less entirely, moving meal prep to the safety of their own homes.

On top of that, countless night-time venues and social activities are canceled or closed. Kids are home from school with nowhere else to go. And most of us are traveling less than normal. While that may mean more quality time with those closest to us (whether by choice or necessity), it doesn’t always mean we’re making healthier food choices. Home economics is, for many of us, a lost art that we need to rediscover if we don’t want to depend on DoorDash, Postmates, and Uber Eats for all our food.

While putting together a healthy meal at any time of the day can be a struggle, dinner often suffers the most since it’s at the end of the day. But dinner is also the meal people are most likely to eat together, making it a perfect opportunity to add more whole plant foods. Plus, dinner is a great time to create leftovers. Today’s dinner can be tomorrow’s lunch — and maybe even (if you’re the adventurous type) the following day’s breakfast!

If you don’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen, now’s a great time to learn not just how to cook comforting, filling, and tasty meals, but healthy ones as well. And even if you’re already a cooking whiz, consider expanding your horizons with some plant-based dinner recipes.

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A plate full of health

A reader recently asked: what does your plate look like? Great question, and one I can answer in a word — veg-centric. 

We could all be eating more vegetables. Tons!

The science is crystal clear that eating MORE vegetables can do each of us a WORLD of good. Increasing the vegetables on our plate points us in the direction of more vibrant health, no matter what our age, gender, ethnicity, or current health conditions. 

But isn’t it hard to incorporate more vegetables into your diet? 

No! It’s surprisingly easy to fall in love with vegetables and find great ways to use them, because there are a VAST variety of types, colors, textures and flavors to choose from. It becomes more and more exciting the further you explore! 

Will I actually feel better if I eat more vegetables? 

Yes! And you may be surprised by how fast you actually FEEL better. 

At Food As Medicine, where I was Executive Chef for a decade, we offered luncheon buffets full of colorful, organic, largely plant-based dishes. Attendees were often amazed to experience health improvements, some within 24 hours. Elimination might improve dramatically! Focus, mental clarity and overall energy might be discernibly better. Quite impressive results for veg-centric eating in only a few days.

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Weekday Personal Support

Join Panache Desai each weekday morning for support in reconnecting to the wellspring of calm and peace that lives within you and that has the power to counterbalance all of the fear, panic, and uncertainty that currently engulfs the world.

Designed To Move You From Survival and Fear to Safety and Peace. Available Monday - Friday. Meditation begins at 9 AM.  Access early to hear Panache's monologue -  around 8:30 AM. 

30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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