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The Doctors Told Me To Quit Eating Meat

You might be surprised to find out that I usually avoid talking about my eating habits with new friends. That’s because a lot of people are quick to whip out their “Expert Dietician” personas and haul me off to an imaginary interrogation room. I’m still not sure why saying, “I don’t eat meat.” usually prompts people to empty a full clip of Nutrition 101 questions on me. They are often quite surprised at my admission and make such firm attempts to save me from my insanity, that I’m equally amused and annoyed. But, only a few of these Protein Preachers have ever asked me why I ended up on the ‘rabbit food’ side of the fence. Even fewer have asked me where I’ve been getting my nutritional information from. So, today I’ll tell you about the doctors whose prescription I filled.


The Last Supper
On the night of my little brother’s 21st birthday, when my family cozied up in one of Kingston’s more trendy steakhouses, I never imagined that it would have been the last day I sat down to a meal of flesh foods. You know how sometimes, people will say they don’t feel for any meat today. Well, I had been hanging out in one of those zones for a few weeks. Even though, I had spent the previous weeks not having any appetite for meat or poultry, I had been eating lots of seafood with no complaints. But, when my fish dinner arrived, I couldn’t stomach more than a couple bites and convinced someone else to finish the fillet for me. I just realised that I couldn’t do it anymore… My body had decided to quit liking meat!

It wasn’t a big surprise, really. My co-workers had gotten used to me trading the chicken in my boxed lunch for their steamed vegetables. But, what they never knew, was that for about 3 months, I had been feeding my mind on various lectures by various health experts and wellness advocates about making healthier food choices. But, these weren’t the regular, “avoid fried foods and sugary drinks” campaigns. All these medical professionals had been singing the same song: “eat plants, not animals”. So, it didn’t take very long for all their arguments, research findings and real-life case studies to set up residence in my mind and convince my mouth to stop salivating for Pan Chicken and to inveigle my stomach to get repulsed by the normally appetising Steamed Snapper, Oxtail & Beans, Jerk Pork, and Curried Mutton.


The Plant-Based Doctors
5 years in, I can say this is not a passing fad. My switch to Vibrant Eats (meals that bring vitality to the body without failing to bring my tongue satisfaction) was actually initiated, encouraged and continues to be supported by medical doctors and nutrition experts. I knew that a plant-based diet was the best one could embrace while sat ad learned at the feet of Dr. L. Danovan Whyte during his Saturday meetings at the Lifestyle Transformation Centre in New Kingston. His book, “Perfect Health is Unquestionably Yours” is very dear to me – I have re-read it many times and reference it often. The knowledge he shares and the impact it is having on those who are willing to make the necessary changes can be heard through his Wednesday night radio programme, “Your Health Matters” on NewsTalk 93FM. Of course, I have much respect for other physicians like Dr. Anthony Vendryes, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr. among others.


Food as Medicine
Through their writings, videos, workshops and lectures, these truly compassionate and responsible physicians have highlighted the dangers of eating animal foods (meat, fish, dairy and eggs) and revealed how real people, like you and I, have reversed lifestyle related diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease and hypertension just by switching to a whole-food, plant-based diet. But, they haven’t just left it there. They have gone through the trouble of teaching people about the nutritional needs of the human body and how to fully satisfy those needs with a varied diet made up of whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables. I have personally had the privilege of watching Dr. Whyte prepare live (uncooked) food and served it to us with love and enthusiasm, on more than one occasion. I still have a folder full of some of his favourite recipes. which he so kindly shares in his workshops.


Your journey is very likely different from mine, but if you have been arguing with the quiet voice, inside, to make better eating choices you may want to give these doctors a listening ear. Look them up and examine what they have to say. At the end of the day, you may not eliminate animal products completely, but you will undoubtedly have a new respect for your body, be more conscious of your health and make healthier eating choices.


Have you ever listened to or read from any of these Plant-Based Physicians? Please tell me what has impressed you most?



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March’s 30-Day JGS Challenge: Week 1

What a wonderful way to start the month? The 30-Day Jamaican Green Smoothie Challenge for March 2014 has begun and we are thoroughly enjoying it.

JGS Newbies & Consultants
We had just completed a mini-challenge within the JGS Facebook group, called the “Simple Six” and it was a perfect opportunity for the Green Smoothie Newbies to get acquainted with the basics of blending up leafy greens and fruits. This was also the time during which many JGS challengers who had false-started during the January challenge, took the time out to get themselves psyched up to take on March’s hurdles. But, what was most heart-warming during the first 7 days of our journey, was to see all of the persons who had entered 2014 as Green Smoothie Novices graduate to the worthy status of Green Smoothie Consultants, if I may brand them so myself. They were excited and fully competent to welcome March’s JGS Newbies and teach them the basics, help them tips and tricks, recommend delicious leafy-fruity combinations and answer all the different kinds of questions that could be asked. Congrats, my darling! I’m immensely proud of you all.

JGS to di Rerl
When I initiated the first 30-Day Jamaican Green Smoothie Challenge, my desire was to create a realm in which Jamaicans could explore then locally-grown leafy vegetables and fruits as they developed the habit of blending for wellness. I had no idea that a movement would have started that has now spread across a number of continents. So, now we are welcoming Jamaicans within the diaspora and lovers of Jamaican culture. It is such a pleasure to see JGS posts coming from familiar and prominent places like Portmore, Kingston and Mobay, but most of us never expected to see so many of them from Trinidad & Tobago, Antigua, Mexico, the USA, Canada, UK, France, Japan, nor Australia. (If I have left out your country, please complain loudly!) But, we are thrilled to have you all.

The first week of our Jamaican Green Smoothie Challenge has come and gone! How was it for you? Did you try any of the recipes from Week 1’s mailing?


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Butter Bean Stew

Stew Peas is a very popular and traditional Jamaican entrée that is made from Red Kidney Beans – known locally as ‘red peas’. It is often made with salted chicken, beef, pork or combinations of the three. However, many people enjoy the vegetarian version, sometimes called Ital Stew Peas (recipe link) either for dietary reasons or simply because of the ingredients they may have on hand. Even our favourite local cooking show, Creative Cooking, demonstrated a “Healthy Stewed Peas” (with Tofu):


Clearly there are tasty meat-less options to this Jamaican favourite. However, what does one do when there’s the craving for stew, but your kitchen cupboard is out of red kidney beans ? Well, I think ‘a bean is a bean’ – LOL – so, I grabbed a tin of Butter Beans (also known as Lima Beans) and whipped up my stew! I enjoyed the results so much that I actually reserved a tin of butter beans with hopes of making it again – and yesterday, I did just that. I threw in some veggie chunks (aka TVP) with potato, pumpkin, christophene and okra to make a very hearty dish which reminded me of a Japanese dish my family enjoys, called Hokkaido Cream Stew – just with a Jamaican flavour and no animal products.

Christophene, Okra, Butter Beans, Pumpkin, Potato, Veggie Chunks.
Christophene, Okra, Butter Beans, Pumpkin, Potato, Veggie Chunks.


Beyond being a good replacement for red kidney beans in a pot of stew peas, butter beans do the body good. According to Registered Dietician, Jill Corleone, writing for

Most Americans choose meat and poultry as their primary source of protein, says the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but varying your sources of protein can help you meet essential vitamin and mineral needs. Butter beans are a healthy choice as an alternate source of protein. A 1-cup serving of butter beans contains about 14 g of protein. By comparison, a 3-oz. serving of meat contains about 21 g of protein. Healthy adult women need 46 g of protein a day, and healthy adult men need 56 g of protein a day. Butter beans contain 1 g of fat per cup, while meat and poultry can have up to 24 g of fat per 3-oz. serving.

She went on to outline that this humble legume is a good source of carbohydrates, fibre and iron. So, by stewing up those butter beans, I protected myself against iron deficiency and constipation, improved my blood sugar levels and lowered my cholesterol levels. Talk about a delicious way of fighting off disease! All too often, we trade our health for a tasty meal. But, we don’t have to. Whether it’s a bowl of Vegetarian Stew Peas or my pot of Butter Bean Stew, you can have your stew and eat it too! 😀


Butter Beans (via

So, please be encouraged to experiment in your kitchen. Get to know your beans and maybe next Meatless  Monday, you can whip up something yummy and health-boosting at home.


Butter Bean Stew
Butter Bean Stew

I served up my Butter Bean Stew in a bowl of Jasmine Brown Rice and a side of Cucumber slices and Tomato chunks. Please let me know if you’ve tried any versions of the Meatless Stew Peas or if you’ve experimented with beans in your kitchen.