Sunday, January 24, 2016

America’s healthiest restaurant & Breakfast burritos

M and I recently returned from two different trips to the US, and at no time did we feel we didn’t have access to good, healthy food, with the only possible exception being while on the airplane, and even that was easily solved (more about that below).

Mediterranean Flatbread from GreenSpace Cafe

We were fortunate that our travels took us to Detroit for a few days. It was our first time there, and we really did enjoy it. There is a great energy and genuine friendliness throughout the city.

Detroit also happens to be home to one of the healthiest restaurants in America! Greenspace Café. The restaurant is a joint venture between America’s Heart Attack Prevention Doc, Joel Kahn, M.D. (who wrote a BYOL post) and his son Daniel.

The space is about 10 miles from downtown Detroit and is incredibly beautiful. They have two different menus, one normal menu, where all the food is non-gmo, mostly organic, and largely locally sourced. The second menu is also all of the above, but is special in that it is oil-free! Both menus change frequently. They also have a fully vegan bar, serving all the classic drinks and cocktails, but also creating many signature drinks, infused with healthy veggie juices, giving them an antioxidant boost. There is also a local raw juice bar near the entrance, where you can grab a juice to sip while you wait.

We can’t express how great of an experience Green Space was, and getting to spend sometime with my friend Dr. Kahn only made it that much better! However, even if you don’t know Dr. Kahn, that won’t stop him and his charming wife Karen from greeting you, and treating you as if you are old pals.

Teriyaki Mushroom was our favorite dish

Because, the menu changes so frequently, I won’t spend too much time talking about the specific dishes we had that night. We chose to do a tapas style meal, selecting a bunch of smaller dishes and then sharing one of their main dishes. They were all fantastic, and surprisingly generous portions. Then M and I split the chocolate cake with vanilla cashew ice cream (sorry I couldn’t get a photo, it was a little too dark) which was one of the richest cakes I’ve tried in a long time. 

Seriously, Detroit is lucky to have such a gem so close by. A place like this will surely help spread the plant based message to an entirely new crowd! I can only hope that Dr. Kahn and his son receive the reception they deserve with their new enterprise, and given the fact that the restaurant was packed on a rain soaked night, I think they will! I also hope they some day decide to expand, because a restaurant like this will succeed anywhere!

(note: photos taken from GreenSpace Café instagram, as it was too dark to get photos that do the space or the food justice.)


Whenever we travel, particularly if we have a long flight, we always request the strict vegetarian food, but we also like to make a few hummus sandwiches ahead of time, to keep in our bag just in case. These are great, because they are filling, and are also really easy. We often add tempeh or some greens, basically anything that can literally be eaten right out of the packaging, keeping prep time to a minimal. Also all the ingredients can be found at any grocery or natural foods store.  

But outside of flying, there’s really never a time when you will find yourself in the US without an option. Most restaurants have at least some veggies hidden in their menu, and many are more than accommodating and willing to prepare something for you. The key is to ask.

While visiting new restaurants is one of our favorite reasons to travel, sometimes M and I still prefer to make our own food, and I think a lot of people would be surprised at how easy it can be in most places. Many hotels have microwaves in the room, or are more than happy to let you use one. And nearly all grocery stores have canned or frozen veggies and beans.

M and I have recently started using AirBnB as an alternative as well. The plus side to this is not only do we get to meet cool new local people where we are staying, but more importantly we also have access to a kitchen, which allows us to prepare our own food, not only healthier, but it also saves us money from eating out all the time.

(sorry for the lame photos, I worked with what I had)

Today’s recipe is for an easy breakfast burrito that we made one morning before a flight. We used canned black beans and frozen vegetables to make it easier, but feel free to try it with fresh veggies as well. This can be made on a stovetop or in a microwave, so which ever you have available, give it a try. The dish turned out so nice, that we will be making them again soon!

Breakfast Burritos
1 bag of tortillas – I always look for either whole wheat, brown rice or non-gmo corn
1 can black beans - rinsed
1 bag frozen peppers and onions
1 bag frozen yellow and green squash
1 bag of chopped greens of choice
1-2 cans of fire-roasted tomatoes

Rinse the beans and drain half of the liquid out of the tomatoes. Now place all ingredients with the exception of the tortillas in either a microwave safe bowl or stovetop pot. Heat well until all of the ingredients have completely become hot and allow for some of the liquid to cook off. It should only need about 10 to 15 minutes on the stovetop and about 5 minutes in the microwave (although I suggest do 2 minutes then tossing, 2 minutes tossing, until hot)

Now serve on top of the tortillas. Feel free to add fresh avocado, salsa, or hot sauce of choice to top it off!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Papas de Navidad | Breakfast Potatoes

Stare at a blank sheet of paper smeared with ink, and you might detect a specific image. But show that same sheet of paper to someone else, and there is a good chance they will see a different image. Of course a psychologist will tell you that the Rorschach test tells us more about the viewers than the sheet of paper.

In many ways, the study of nutrition is similar. All that is needed is a few moments looking at various search engine results about diet and nutrition to see there are widely differing views on the best ways to eat. Add on top of this, the confusion that government agencies and industry lobbyists create, and suddenly it becomes clear why so many people view that ink stained paper in so many different ways.

However, I believe a consensus is slowly starting to form, and a specific image is becoming increasingly transparent to an increasing number of people. The consensus is, of course, in favor of a plant-based diet.

I know of no other diet, because not a single study exists, which can scientifically be shown to reverse heart disease, other than a plant-based diet. Increasingly, the leading experts on cancer are finding the benefits overwhelming as well, as evidenced by the recently statements made by the World Health Organization.

As we enter a new year, and as I enter my 9th year as a plant-based vegan, I can firmly state that the tide of the evidence for a plant-based diet is growing. And I believe that 2016 will only further support such a healthful message.

As we begin this year together, I remain optimistic, and I invite you all to join me on this journey as we move every away from the wilderness, and closer to living with longevity, intention, and peace.


Today’s recipe is called Papas de Navidad (or Christmas potatoes) because I made this dish for M when she got home from her 24-hour shift on Christmas day morning. This is a sweet and savory dish.

I chose to make this dish this Christmas because while we were spending our first Christmas living together, we were both away from our families, and while it is summer here, I’m told that traditional Argentine Christmas dishes tend to mimic the dishes of bewintered North America. As such, this dish incorporates some flavors of the North East, by using maple syrup, an ingredient which we brought to Argentina with us from New York when we moved, making it an extra special dish.

Papas de Navidad | Breakfast Potatoes
4 potatoes - cubed
2 large tomatoes or a handful of cherry tomatoes – cubed or halved
1 medium onion – chopped
1 small head broccoli – chopped
1.5 tablespoons maple syrup – save to the end
2 cloves of garlic – diced (Or 1 teaspoon of garlic powder)
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon rosemary
¼ teaspoon oregano

As mentioned below,* I pre-boiled my potatoes for about 15 minutes until they became soft to pierce with a fork. While the potatoes are boiling, prepare the remaining vegetables. Once all of the veggies are prepared, toss them in a oven safe container (I like to use cast iron for this dish, as it adds a real country flavor to the vegetables) and generously spread the spices evenly throughout.**

Now cover the vegetables with tin foil and place into the oven on 350°. If you pre-boiled the potatoes as suggested, cook for an additional 15-20 minutes, depending on how browned you like your potatoes.

Once done, drizzle the vegetables with maple syrup. I served the dish with a large bunch of steamed kale and dried cranberries, which we also drizzled with maple syrup (don’t knock it until you try it). 

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season!
Feliz Ano Nuevo!

*I prepared the potatoes the night previously to help reduce the overall cook time by boiling them until almost soft.
** Pro Tip – Put the veggies and spices in a large container with a lid and shake the container for 10 seconds until the spices fully coat the veggies.

As always the information presented in this blog is for educational purposes only. It should not be considered as specific medical, nutritional, lifestyle, or other health-related advice.