Chef AJ Says To Eat Dessert First – As Long as It’s Healthy
Chef AJ’s book Unprocessed is will show you that the healthiest food is also the tastiest. The author observes “Your diet can be your undoing or your salvation. The difference is the difference between processed and unprocessed food.”
She is talking to you, whether you eat animal foods now or are already 100% plant-based. “A lousy, junky vegan diet, full of oil and sweeteners and fake meats and highly processed grains” saves animal lives, but will not make you into a walking role model of health who others to want to follow. A whole foods, plant-based diet is key to being the inspiring statistic we know can be achieved in research studies on vegan health.
Unprocessed has over 100 recipes, both raw and cooked, that make whole plant foods a delight. When Chef AJ says unprocessed, she means it. All recipes are free of refined sugar, factory-made oils, and added salt. She manages to work kale into an amazing range of dishes you’d never expect to be rich in leafy greens.
However, be aware that the chef makes liberal use of nuts, seeds, and avocadoes. The weight of research indicates that moderate consumption of nuts is healthy. However, if you are on a truly low-fat diet, many of the recipes will not meet your needs.
Dates are one of Chef AJ’s signature ingredients. She tells you how to make date paste and date syrup. Most of her desserts and even some of the dishes for meals contain liberal amounts of these sweet dried fruits.
Since dates have a reputation of being concentrated sugar, I decided to investigate what research has uncovered on this fruit’s effects on your body. Here’s what I found:
- Humans have eaten dates for 6,000 years. There are more than 2,000 varieties of fresh dates. People in the Middle East routinely consume 10 to 30 dates every day, obtaining minerals, vitamins, protein, phytochemicals (beneficial plant-based nutrients) and lots of fiber.
- Eating six date fruits every day for the last four weeks of pregnancy was associated with reduced need to induce labor and shorter labor in a study of 114 women.
- In a lab study, date syrup was a strong antioxidant and killed a range of microbes (including a couple types of staph). The syrup also reduced the viability of human cancer cells.
- A pilot study in Israel found that, in healthy subjects, eating six to seven dates a day led to stable weight, cholesterol, and fasting blood sugar levels. Study participants did benefit from lower triglycerides. One of the date varieties in the study was a potent antioxidant as well, helping lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. In fact, much of the antioxidant activity was from the unique sugars in dates.
With these findings in mind, you can enjoy the date-rich recipes guilt-free, even feeling a tinge of virtue.
The variety of incredible tastes in Unprocessed will delight you. I’ve been privileged to eat some of Chef AJ’s
memorable creations at various veg events. The flavors definitely leave you wanting more, and now you can make these unfussy masterpieces at home. Be the star of your next potluck by bringing one of the Unprocessed dishes. Have your family and friends begging to have you cook for them. Tired of cooking? Share one of the simple recipes with friends and let them have fun making dinner for the group.
In the early book chapters, Chef AJ shares intimate, painful events in her life that explain her passion for unprocessed foods. You end up feeling like you know her, that she is your friend, because she has trusted you with her experiences and genuinely cares about your well-being. She wants you to find the same excellent health and pleasure she now experiences.
Chef AJ is a well-know spokeswoman for the rewards of a whole foods, plant-based diet. If you live in or visit Southern California, you can also try her cooking classes or catch her at an event, such as the annual Healthy Taste of LA. Until then, Unprocessed will definitely get you thinking and cooking.
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Blog posting by Janice Stanger, Ph.D. Janice authored The Perfect Formula Diet: How to Lose Weight and Get Healthy Now With Six Kinds of Whole Foods. This easy-to-follow eating plan is built on sustainable food choices that can prevent, and even reverse, most chronic disease.