Hi”bear”nating for winter

The Plant-based Bear, obviously, is not a bear that needs, or is able, for that matter, to hibernate for the winter. But, when I looked at the site, and realized it’s been since October since I posted any updates, well, I had to make some pithy excuse!

The fact is, a lot has happened in my life over the last few months, and going out of my way to make tasty food and blog about it has been low on the agenda. Not to say that I didn’t continue to make tasty food, and I’ve still maintained my Plant-based Bear whole-foods-plant-based lifestyle.

But, like all changes that are for the better, some old habits can creep in. Like chocolate! I love chocolate. And, I found chocolate the contains no oil, no dairy, and is delicious. But, is it healthy? Well, probably not…

And, I love sourdough bread, with my healthy no-oil, plant-based butter. But is sourdough bread with butter and garlic salt regularly a totally healthy thing? Well, probably not…

So, while I haven’t put on any weight to speak of, and have maintained my lifestyle, it hasn’t been the source of much will, or content, or material.

So, let’s just pretend I’ve been hibernating, instead of ignoring you all completely. And, I’ll try to do better! And, I did make a FEW things. Pictures and posts to come, in the near future, I hope!

Thanks for cooking with me!

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No Oil, Really?

Back when I started this, I listed that I don’t use oil, and, this is reinforced in my recipe titles, such as No-Oil Hummus (Among Us!), No-Oil Tabouli Salad, and No-Oil Whole Wheat Bread.

But, I’m sure you’re thinking, okay, but oil occurs naturally in many of the things you are eating, or by doing the “processing” to create the various recipes.

And you are correct! Simply blending up peanuts to make peanut butter does create some oil (especially if left to sit, unrefrigerated), or using tahini or coconut milk in things inherently adds oil. In fact, I’ve been told that you could literally grind up any organic matter and squeeze out some oil, from lettuce and leafy greens, to fruits and such.

I’ll admit, I haven’t done the research, but it’s obvious to me that ADDED oils, or oils you purchase in a jar or container, are HIGH in calories, and very likely not good for you! One Tablespoon of olive oil (or most oils) is at least 120 calories, and 14 grams of fat!

Forks Over Knives says this:

We are baffled that certain oils are presented as “health” foods. Olive oil is not a health food. Neither is coconut, grape seed, flaxseed, or any other oil you’ve heard you must endeavor to add to your diet because it’s good for you. Sure, if you replace some or all of the butter in your diet with vegetable oil, some of your cholesterol numbers may look a little bit better, but that’s not at all the same as doing well. Oil is a bad idea because it is highly refined and its nutritional package is inadequate.

How is it that we know that processed sugars are junk foods, yet we’ve allowed ourselves to be convinced that certain oils are somehow good for us? Oil follows essentially the same model as processed sugar, which is also pressed from plants. Think about what oil is: fat—and nothing but fat. All the nutrients, including protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water, have been thrown away. Oil of any kind has more calories per gram than any other food we know. And without any fiber or water in it, oil lacks the bulk to convey to your senses how many calories you have eaten; this virtually guarantees you will consume more calories at the meal than you need. So we ask you: Why would you waste calories on something that has no nutrients in it other than fat? And why would anyone believe that highly concentrated fat is healthy?

So let’s look at where the “good oil” hype came from. Its origins lay in data collected in the 1960s that showed the people on the island of Crete. At the time these people had the lowest all-cause mortality rates over twenty years when compared to people in other Mediterranean countries. A main contributing factor was their diet, which included some animal products and a little bit of olive oil, but otherwise consisted primarily of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.1 In the years since then, unfortunately, the phrase “Mediterranean diet” has become synonymous primarily with olive oil. What subsequent researchers—and marketers—took from those early studies was that olive oil was the Holy Grail. But it never was.

All oils have a negative impact on blood vessels and promote heart disease.2 Furthermore, they may also lead to increased bleeding through thinning of the blood; negative effects on lung function and oxygen exchange; suppression of certain immune system functions; and increased risk of cancer.3 Not to mention that excess calories from fat get stored as fat, no matter what type of fat calories you consume.

https://www.forksoverknives.com/what-to-eat/#gs.amc189

So, while my goal is not to eliminate oil entirely, it’s to certainly eliminate ADDED oil, so I don’t purchase any, and don’t have any around. The only time I might slip on this, is when I eat out, which doesn’t happen very often. It’s also a reason why I don’t purchase any of the store bought vegan cheeses for home use; they are mostly just oil!

And yes, most of the recipes do contain something that helps to “slick” things up a bit. In my hummus, there is tahini, or ground sesame seeds that provide natural oil. In waffles I make, there is ground flax seed. In the butter I make, there is coconut milk, which certainly adds some amount of oil.

But, to me, by getting the oil directly from the source food, processed by me, I’m doing it a much healthier way, and minimizing the amount of oil in my diet dramatically!

Some other quick resources on oil in your diet:

http://www.plantplate.com/Guide/Detail?GuideID=1009
https://www.nomeatathlete.com/oil/

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Plant-based Bear?

So what is a plant-based bear? I’m glad you asked!

Plant-based is the notion that it’s healthy and good to eat a whole food, plant-based (WFPB) diet. Here is a good article with more information on that. Here on the Plant-based Bear, we’ll most-often use this definition, slightly modified from the article linked above:

  • Whole food describes natural foods that are not heavily processed. That means whole, unrefined, or minimally refined ingredients.
  • Plant-based means food that comes from plants and doesn’t contain animal ingredients such as meat, milk, or eggs.

A whole-foods, plant-based diet lets you meet your nutritional needs by only eating natural, minimally-processed foods where none of the ingredients come from animals.

Or, as one guy puts it, “Just eat plants!!!”

Some followers of this philosophy also cut out the use of honey (it’s created by animals–bees), but I’ve not ascribed to that notion.

Also, different from a “vegan” diet is the fact that I will attempt to use as little oil as possible. Why? Because all oils release carcinogens when heated that are hazardous, and they’re a dense source of calories. You don’t have to take my word for it, but, it’s also not really debatable with me. (Check out “Why should I avoid oil? Isn’t oil healthy” about 3/4 of the page down here, or this.) So, while I cannot control the use of oil at restaurants and out and about, when cooking at home, I certainly can! (And, when at restaurants, I can make good choices about what I order to not be deep-fried, for example.)

Finally, my focus is to eat plants. But, I’m going to try to take it easy, or use less of:

  • Avocados
  • Olives
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

They’re not outlawed, and I’ll enjoy some home-made peanut butter or other nut butters, and almost every plant-based cheese or cheese sauce recipe will use cashews, etc. But we’re going to try to go light on these things, as again, they have so many calories packed in such little packages.

I’m also making this a way of life. It’s not a “diet” in the sense that I don’t expect to just do this for a short while, and then return to my dairy-loving, highly-processed way of living. A diet is something you get on, and then get off, cheat on, or just fail at. There’s no need for that much pressure. Here I’m just trying to change my way of living, no pressure at all!

A bear? Isn’t that a wild animal? One Urban Dictionary definition says this:

The most common definition of a “bear” is a man who is hairy, has facial hair, and a cuddly body. However, the word “Bear” means many things to different people, even within the bear movement. Many men who do not have one or all of these characteristics define themselves as bears, making the term a very loose one. Suffice it to say, “bear” is often defined as more of an attitude than anything else – a sense of comfort with our natural masculinity and bodies that is not slavish to the vogues of male attractiveness that is so common.

While I’m not a hairy guy, there is some facial hair, and I’ve identified with the “bear community” for well over a decade.

So there you have it! The Plant-based Bear will have recipes (usually “stolen” or modified from somewhere else), commentary on cooking, nice finds at the market, or whatever comes to my mind.

So why not the “Vegan-Bear”?

I don’t much like the term “vegan”, although it’s one of the first words I’ll type into Google when looking for a new recipe or something to try. Vegans are described in a couple entries in the Urban Dictionary this way:

People who refrain from eating any animal products (or anything derived from animal products) or using animal products such as leather, silk, or wool. It is a more strict form of vegetarianism. People who are vegan are often passionate about their veganism.

Most people will assume that because you follow a vegan lifestyle, you must be a pretentious jerk (or in a cult).

Another entry seems to “get it” more:

Being vegan doesn’t mean you have to be a part of any organization (i.e. PETA) or chain yourself up and protest. It just means that you choose to follow a 100% herbivore diet.

“Vegan,” although very similar to what I’m trying to do, seems to encompass a much larger philosophy, gets linked in with being anti-animal cruelty (not that I’m for animal cruelty in any way), and goes far beyond what you eat. I’m attempting to eat this way mostly for health and weight-control reasons, not because I’m opposed to leather and just renewed my membership in Greenpeace.

I’m here to share my experience, and what I’ve found to work or not work for me, not preach at you, or try to convince you of something, other than to try some of this tasty food for yourself!

More information about me, perhaps, to come! Here’s to happy eating!

Get in touch at [email protected]

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