In the first half of the twentieth century there was an American doctor who dedicated his life to working in China.  His name was Harry Miller, and he was one of the early developers of processing soy beans into a ‘soymilk’ without the beany flavour, using a homogenizer to create a very milk-like product. Besides developing a network of hospitals across China (this was before the communist takeover, when all the humanitarian work ended), he was interested in teaching better nutrition for better health, and was always looking for better tasting nutritious recipes.  Once there was an expert cook employed at one of the hospitals who cooked delicious tasting foods using the Buddhist vegetarian tradition.  Dr. Miller assigned one of his assistants to spend time in the kitchen with this cook, and then write a cook book using these tasty and nutritious recipes.

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After the first day the assistant returned in frustration, telling Dr. Miller that what he wanted was impossible—this type of cooking was an art form and could not be rendered in a concise list of ingredients and processes.  It wasn’t possible to reduce it to so many grams of this, and so many cups of that—it required understanding the principles of the cooking style and an understanding of the herbs and spices that produced the nutritious, delicious tasting dishes.

That’s a little like it is with the ‘art form’ of cooking healthfully.  It’s hard to put everything into a simple list, with specific amounts of this and that.  We need to learn how to cook healthfully with what we have to work with.  We need to understand the philosophy of healthy cooking, then we can use what we have to make what we want.  

While we will put up specific recipes on this site, we will also be putting up processes that will work with various different foods and concepts and ideas about seasoning to make foods taste like we want them to.  In this process there are several principles we seek to keep in mind:
There are several basic things to keep in mind as we think about meal planning:

Most of us need to reduce the amount of fat in our diets.  To have the best health, we really need to keep overall fat intake below 20% of our caloric intake.  Since we use large amounts of animal foods and processed foods, many of us get twice the amount of fat, or more, in our diet than is best for our health.  This impacts the health of our heart, our blood vessels, our immune system—actually our whole body.  Type 2 diabetes is one of the fastest growing disease processes in our western culture.  One researcher found that by increasing the fat intake of young men he could induce a rise in their blood sugar levels.  He tried the same experiment using increased levels of sugar, and could not produce the same results.  While this isn’t telling us lots of sugar in the diet isn’t bad for us, it is telling us that a major contributor to type 2 diabetes is a high fat diet.

Another very important principle is to reduce our overall salt intake.  The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that an adult have no more than 5g (about a teaspoon) of salt a day.  In western countries we consume about twice that amount daily, which contributes to heart and kidney disease.  Our salt intake is tied directly to our blood pressure.  Many people are taking medications (with harmful side affects) to reduce their blood pressure, when all they would need to do is reduce their salt intake over the long haul.  Our blood pressure should be below 120/80.  For children it should be somewhat lower. Keeping our blood pressure high through high salt consumption puts a strain on the heart and circulatory system; an adult with high blood pressure has three times the risk of a heart attack.  

Another big factor in health is getting the vital nutrients, which includes vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants.  The majority of these can only be found in plant based foods.  Along with this, to retain good health we need the fibre that naturally occurs in plant foods, and this is removed from processed foods.  One of the results of this is that we get too many calories by the time we eat enough of processed foods to feel full.  With a good, balanced, menu we can eat enough to feel full without taking too many calories on board. 

One of the leading researchers in the area of diet and health of the last century was Irish born Dr. Denis Berkett (Graduated from Trinity College in 1935, he received his medical training at Dublin University).  He observed that as African people began adopting a fibre depleted western type diet, they started suffering the same diseases processes.  One of the first symptoms of a fibre depleted diet is constipation, as the intestinal tract needs the fibre to move the wastes along out of the body.  Over time this slower transit with the longer exposure of wastes and toxins can contribute to colon cancer, not to mention the constant discomfort.

So, while we aren't offering a large selection of recipes here, we hope the principles and ideas will help you toward a healthier lifestyle.  If you have a favourite recipe you would like to contribute, email us; we'd love to hear from you.

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