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Controversial Foods

January 6, 2011

On Tuesday night, Beanie and I went to the first session of a 3-day class called “Food is Your Best Medicine.”  It’s specifically designed for people looking to lose weight but I assure you neither of us wants/needs to lose weight so we just went for fun and some food education.

I have several issues with how the class is set up, including:

  • The word diet being used
  • Having to cut out soy, dairy, gluten/wheat, corn, peanuts, strawberries, oranges, etc.
  • Eating eggs and fish for breakfast
  • Being given a 14-day meal plan that requires 2 hours of grocery shopping

To be fair, you’re told to cut out all those foods to figure out whether you’re allergic to any of them.  Once you know you’re not allergic, you can add them back to your “diet.”  I kind of wondered why I was there because lots of the foods he was suggesting are foods I already eat and love (quinoa, kale, tahini, etc.).  But my journey towards healthy eating was LONG and I certainly didn’t wake up one day and decide I was going to do an overhaul on my lifestyle.  I think baby steps are important.  For me, it started with wanting to cook my own food but a lot of people don’t like to cook (gasp!) so it may not be that simple. 

I could go on and on but instead let’s talk about controversial foods.  Because that’s more fun.

A guest speaker got up at the end and talked about 4 controversial foods.

  • Wheat/gluten
  • Fat
  • Soy
  • Dairy

Things I learned:

  • Gluten acts like glue in your system
  • There’s such a thing as raw milk
  • Places that consume a lot of soy (think Asia) don’t eat the highly processed forms like we Americans do
  • Tempeh is fermented, tofu is processed (okay, I already knew that but I like tofu!)
  • Your body needs fat, just make sure you’re giving it good fats

The speaker has been soy-free, dairy-free, gluten-free for 3 years and “feels like a million bucks.” 

So what do you think about these so-called controversial foods?  I’m really skeptical about removing any foods from my diet because, hey, I feel like a million bucks too. 

On to something completely uncontroversial: butternut squash.

Joey and I have a friend who, inspired by food blogs like this little one I write, decided to try cooking with the butternut squash.  I wanted to repay the compliment by trying the recipe out myself.  I had to get… creative? fancy?  difficult? by modifiying the recipe.  I made it vegan!

Parmesan Butternut Squash Gratin (vegan):


  • 1 butternut squash (~1lb.)
  • 2T olive oil (or safflower if you dropped your olive oil on the floor earlier this week…)
  • 1 clove of garlic, diced
  • 2T bread crumbs (or panko)
  • 2T vegan parmesan “cheese” (recipe below)
  • salt
  • pepper

Vegan Parmesan “Cheese” (from here):

  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1T nutritional yeast
  • dash of salt

Just toss it all in a food processor for a minute or less.


  1. Preheat oven to 375*.
  2. Make vegan parmesan “cheese” and set aside.
  3. Slice squash in half then de-seed, peel and cut into 1/2″ thick slices.
  4. In a small pot, heat oil and garlic together over low heat for ~2 mintues, stirring frequently.
  5. Mix bread crumbs (or panko), “cheese” and 1T of the oil/garlic mixture and set aside. 
  6. Brush squash with remaining oil/garlic mixture then arrange in a 8×8 dish and sprinkle with salt, pepper and bread crumb mixture.
  7. Bake uncovered 30-40 minutes or until squash is done.
  8. Increase temperature to 425* and bake 5-10 minutes to brown the breadcrumb mixture.

I just realized I forgot that last step but it was delicious anyways.  Thanks, Chris!

If your hands constantly reek of garlic and it distracts you during tree pose invest in a garlic press.

Peeling butternut is not one of my favorite tasks but I sure love that bright orange color!

We had sesame seeds to use to why not make vegan parm?  Toasted sesame seeds smell sooo good.

I got a new oil brush for Christmas!

40 minutes later and I had a delicious and bright delight on my hands.  Uh oh, I’m rhyming.  I must be tired.

Joey bit into a piece and replied with “Oh wow this is really good.”  The I told him it was vegan and he didn’t like it anymore.  What a poor sport.

I thought it was grand.

Yoga Update:

Beanie and I tried to hit up a class at the local rec center and after we paid and walked up to the room we realized it was cancelled!  Eek, we’re going to a discounted class at CorePower tomorrow with our favorite teacher instead but the discounted price is still twice the price of the rec center.  I got in a 3.5 mile and some lifting instead of yoga.

Thursday already?!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 6, 2011 9:37 AM

    Sweet! Thanks for the shout-out!

  2. January 6, 2011 10:58 AM

    Getting people to be healthy certainly doesn’t automatically mean cutting out all food groups and then seeing what works and what doesn’t – my road to health and figuring out what works and doesn’t work for me took 4 YEARS!!! Unforutnately for me, gluten doesn’t do well in my body and neither does dairy, but that doesn’t mean that everyone will be like me!

  3. January 6, 2011 1:41 PM

    That butternut squash looks awesome! And I totally agree with the baby steps 🙂

  4. January 6, 2011 4:18 PM

    i never realize how much soy is in our food – its kind of out of control!!

    haha butternut squash is so good 🙂 looks great!

  5. January 6, 2011 8:16 PM

    Ooo what an interesting class! I don’t know that I could live that strict…the stress of finding the time to do so would negate any healthy benefits from being so soy, gluten, meat, dairy free!

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