Jun 03, 2014
Beany Creamy Sauce + Which Vegan Eating Plan is Best for You?
Where do I begin? At the beginning I suppose. Rewind to three years ago when I was eating animal foods. I loved cream sauce. No. I adored it. I was the Roux Queen. Give me some flour, butter and milk or cream and I was off with my whisk to create the cream sauce of your (my) dreams. I’ve even made cream sauces from bacon fat. Wow. Sorry, arteries!
All that changed when I began my nutritarian journey. That’s when cashews took over my life. Yes. If you’ve been hangin’ around my kitchen for any length of time you will know that I have used them …
a lot … plentifully … for almost everything! I buy them in bulk online—5 pounds at a time. I eat cashews and other nuts (and seeds) for their nutrient-rich health benefits. But I’m now eating them with more moderation. Time for a lighter fare for summer.
There’s been a new resurgence of “talk” lately within the vegan blog circles about the differences between Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat to Live plan and Dr. McDougall’s dietary recommendations. One of the main differences is the use of nuts and seeds. Dr. McDougall does not recommend any nuts or seeds (or avocado) in the diet. Yes, nuts and seeds are high in fat. But used minimally (1-2 ounces per day) nuts and seeds impart tremendous benefits to the cardiovascular system, help with weight loss and enhance life span. Avocados have been an important source of human nutrients for thousands of years. The oldest evidence of avocado use was found in a cave located in Puebla, Mexico, that dates to around 10,000 BC. The fat contained in avocado is unusual and provides research-based health benefits.
While we all have the same DNA, as humans, we are not all alike with regard to our nutritional needs and caloric requirements. Dr. Fuhrman and Dr. McDougall agree on many points. The small differences in their approaches are negligible in my opinion. What they agree on is a diet that is plant-based, with no oil, no sugar, no salt and no refined foods. If one just stuck to those guidelines they would be doing so much better than most people in our country are doing by eating the Standard American Diet (SAD).
Do what works for YOU. Consuming nuts and seeds in small amounts and a moderate amount of starch works for my body. My inherited Mediterranean genes blessed me with a slow metabolism. That’s right, I said “blessed.” Check out Dr. Fuhrman’s article: Slow Metabolism Linked to Longevity. Perhaps you need to add more whole grains to keep your hunger in check. Maybe when you eat nuts and seeds, you don’t have the discipline to use them sparingly. I personally will always favor NUTRIENT-DENSE foods. Potatoes and rice will fill you up and that’s fine, but that’s about all they do. They do not contain many nutrients, especially as compared to dark leafy greens, antioxidant-rich berries and all of the phytonutrients in the many colorful vegetables we have at our disposal today.
There is one more point, which Dr. Fuhrman touches upon in the above video. And that is the need for micronutrients now in these modern times more than ever. We live in a toxic world and our bodies need all the antioxidant protection we can afford to give them. That combined with years and years of bad eating (me) is another reason why I will always choose kale over a potato.
But it’s really all about you and your own personal needs. Once you get past the toxic hunger stage of eating a whole food, plant-based diet, then listen to your body’s signals. Try different plant-based approaches and if you need to lose a lot of weight, yes, be sure to limit those fatty foods such as nuts, seeds and avocados until you are at your ideal weight.
Now, with all of that said, I just HAD to come up with something to replace my heavy, albeit yummy, cashew sauces. Enter the white bean. Ta-da!
You can use any white bean for this sauce. I used navy. But butter beans, Cannellini or great northern beans will work just as well. No, the sauce does not have the same, smooth mouth feel of an actual cream sauce or a cashew sauce. But it’s delicious, low in calories and fat and we get all of the amazing health benefits of beans. I’m stoked about it! I am going to try it on pasta soon. I’ll let you know the results. So far, I’ve only had it on my greens and it rocks. Oh, and it’s a breeze to prepare! You don’t even need a high powered blender. Any blender will do.
- 1 can salt-free white beans, drained (or a scant 2 cups if you make your own)
- 1 cup unsweetened plant-based milk (I used soy milk, but you could also use water)
- 1 date
- 1 TBS white miso
- pinch of grated nutmeg
- Kris-Etherton PM, Hu FB, Ros E, et al: The role of tree nuts and peanuts in the prevention of coronary heart disease: multiple potential mechanisms. J Nutr 2008;138:1746S-1751S.
- 2. Salas-Salvado J, Casas-Agustench P, Murphy MM, et al: The effect of nuts on inflammation. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2008;17 Suppl 1:333-336.
- Rajaram S, Sabate J: Nuts, body weight and insulin resistance. Br J Nutr 2006;96 Suppl 2:S79-86.
- Guasch-Ferre M, Bullo M, Martinez-Gonzalez MA, et al: Frequency of nut consumption and mortality risk in the PREDIMED nutrition intervention trial. BMC Med 2013;11:164.