a plant-based Thanksgiving

Medical update 

Wonderful!  We finally saw a cardiologist, and a new cardiologist at that.  While John really liked his original cardiologist, he was never available.  We would call to schedule an appointment and were always told the first available appointment was 3 months away. Three months????

We asked for a new cardiologist and were given one who follows a plant-based diet and recommends that for his cardiac patients.   He also directs the Ornish wellness clinic in our area and has been studying the link between plant-based diet and reversing heart disease for 16 years…and he and his family follow the same diet.


He is interested in helping John eventually remove medications and in have test results – DATA – to back up decisions.   We felt so much better after meeting with him.  He understands the diet, the health benefits, and is willing to work with us.  John sees him again in 5 months and, pending positive test results, they will begin looking at removing medications.


Plant-based, not Vegan

One of the facets of our discussion with the cardiologist was terminology.  His preference – and the current word choice – is that of plant-based eating rather than vegan. this reference point here has to do with health.  Someone eating potato chips and drinking soft drinks all day is technically vegan, but not healthy.

So…the current phraseology is that we follow a plant-based diet.

This really does make sense, and it helps define our food choices…everything we eat comes from plants.

Juicing or Smoothies?

We mentioned to the cardiologist that we were juicing to help john get the vegetables that he needed.  the cardiologist said that was fine but that we were wasting a lot of the nutrients because our juicer removed the pulp rather than integrating it into the drink.  Years ago before we lived on our boat, we had a Vitamix and loved it…made smoothies everyday – and the children enjoyed them as well. The Vitamix made bread dough, ground flour, made but butters, hot soups, and was very useful.  It was huge, though, and took up quite a bit of counter space. When we moved on the boat, we measured everywhere, trying to find a place it would fit. Nothing. It was too tall to fit in or under a cabinet. It could live in the shower or in a sink…..or up on the fly bridge…..but there would be no way to lug it out and use it because of its height.  Reluctantly we gave it away to good friends and later bought a juicer which we have been using. Now, though, we have ordered a refurbished Vitamix and cannot wait for its arrival!


The more time we spend with people who do not eat a plant-based diet, the more questions we receive. Evidently there are quite a few misconceptions out there.

Folks seem to assume I spend a lot of time preparing a meal….I really don’t spend any more time preparing a plant-based meal than I did when preparing a meal with meat. Most meals are ready within an hour…and most of that time is spent with food cooking when I’m doing something else. Crockpot stews and chilis take about 15 minutes to prep then cook all day. Rice takes anywhere from 10 minutes to 45 minutes.  Aldi has these wonderful blends of whole grains and rice that only take 10 minutes to cook, so we use them a few times a week. Probably the most time-intensive recipe I have tried was beet burgers with grilled pineapples. They were awesome! I had to cook the beets and the whole grain brown rice and let that cool before assembling. Then I realized the mixture needed to chill 2-36 hours before making the patties and cooking them.  I put everything in a gallon ziplock and chilled it overnight…and we had brown rice and black beans for dinner that night while the other was chilling. We also have a lot of leftovers, which I freeze, so those make fast dinners or lunches.  I have enjoyed spending time creating beautiful salads, but that is fun!

Anther misconception is that we can eat eggs and butter. Nope. John reminds folks that if it had a face or a mother we cannot eat it, and some people seem to miss that connection with regards to eggs. I see why the term plant-based diet fits so well.  Neither of these foods come from a plant, so..nope, we don’t eat it.

Our first plant-based Thanksgiving

Our first thanksgiving went well.  We had dinner with family, and I brought a bean chili, a cold bean and artichoke salad, and my apple spice cherry bread. We ate grilled asparagus, Brussel sprouts, corn, and what we brought and were fine.  the rest of he family sampled our food ad asked for recipes, so I think we were not too big of an issue for them.

We survived!

I needed a bean dish for Thanksgiving and wanted something in a slow cooker to make it easier to transport and keep warm, so, I googled.  What a wonderful invention.  Whatever did we do before google? Anyway, I found this recipe that included pumpkin and a secret ingredient – a tablespoon of chocolate – and this was a great find…and a recipe that family members have requested.  I had to tweak this to make it vegan…and fit our other criteria.

Don’t want to eat it in a bowl?  Spoon it over a baked potato….Pour over rice…Use as a dip with tortilla chips…..

Lentil and Pumpkin Chili – Slow Cooker Style

  • 1 can black bean, rinsed and drained (15.9 oz)
  • 1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained (15.9 oz)
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes (15.9 oz)
  • 1 can pumpkin (15.9 oz)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  1. Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker. Stir well. Cover and cook on High for 4 hours or on Low for 8 hours.
  2. Carefully remove lid and serve.

Leftovers freeze beautifully!






Author: mduggan10

I have lived in a Victorian-era house, spent several years living on a boat, and now live at the top of a mountain. Throughout his all, I have been a coffee snob, a whole foods snob, and an instructional designer.

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