I've tried out quite a few diet variations myself, and was always convinced the new one was healthier than the last. I've been vegan for a long time, and there have been many incarnations of my vegan diet, as well. I'm not vegan primarily for health reasons, but I still try to eat what I consider a healthy, well-balanced diet. I eat lots of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, sea vegetables. I eat a mix of raw and cooked food, the proportions of which vary by season, and I eat a diet that tends to be low in added fat, salt and sugar, but still includes those things. I've always believed that some added fat and salt can be part of a healthy diet, though sometimes I cook without adding them. Most desserts I eat tend to fall into the fresh or dried fruit variety, but that doesn't mean I won't bake a cake or cookies with fat and sugar.
When I was asked to review a copy of Bravo!, the cookbook by Ramses Bravo from the TrueNorth Health Center, I was interested but wary. The recipes contain no animal products, which fits with my dietary preferences, but none of the recipes contain added oils, refined carbohydrates, salt or sugar (known as the SOS diet). Oils are supplied by avocados, nuts and seeds, and sweetness is supplied by fruit. I know a lot of people are avoiding salt, sugar and oil, and if you are interested in the ideas put forth by T. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study, and others who advocate a diet free of sugar, salt and oil for optimal health, read on. Many people consider the SOS diet to be transformative for health.
|Yellow corn chowder, page 53|
We tried two of the soups, yellow corn chowder and tortilla soup, and were pleasantly surprised each time by the satisfying results. The soups looked and tasted great, and we didn't miss the oil or salt. We cheated a little on prep time by using very-low-sodium prepared stock instead of making our own, though I'm sure the home-made version would have been even better.
I'm pleased to be able to share the recipe for tortilla soup with you, with permission from the publisher. We used sweet potatoes instead of white because that's what we had, and it worked out really well. We also added kale, which we have growing in our garden. The second night we added brown rice and butter beans for a more complete dinner soup.
Tortilla soup - 6 servings (page 52)
- 6 corn tortillas
- kernals sliced from 2 ears of fresh corn or two cups of thawed frozen corn or drained canned corn
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 1 carrot, scrubbed and diced
- 3 shallots
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated onion
- 5 roma tomatoes
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
- 12 cups vegetable broth, preferably homemade
- 10 fresh epazote leaves, sliced into strips (optional)
- 2 ripe avocados, sliced, for garnish
- 10 sprigs cilantro, for garnish
- 1 lime, sliced into 6 wedges, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.
- Slice the tortillas into small strips. Arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes until crispy.
- Put the corn, celery, carrot, shallots and garlic in a large dry pot and cook over medium heat fot 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the oregano, granulated garlic and granulated onion and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.
- Put the tomatoes in a blender and process on high speed until smooth. Add the tomatoes and potatoes to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the broth and increase the heat to medium high. Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Stir in the epazote and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with the avocado, cilantro, and lime. Serve immediately.
NOTE: This recipe results in a brothlike soup. For a thick and creamy soup, put the soup and baked tortilla strips in a blender and process on high until smooth. Serve immediately garnished with avocado, cilantro and lime.
Per serving: calories: 269, protein: 6.7 g, carbohydrates: 47.2 g, fat: 8.3 g. calcium: 99.5 mg, sodium: 147.9 mg, omega-3: 0.1g
Full disclosure: The book was provided to me free of charge. All opinions are my own. The recipe is reprinted with permission.