A couple nights ago we hosted our first plant-based community dinner – InforMeal! There were eight of us gathered around our small dining room table to eat some delicious food and talk about plant-based nutrition. We had a couple legends in the house – Dr Anne Bingham and her husband Ted Esselstyn. Ted’s father is Dr Caldwell Esselstyn, who’s well-known for his work with heart disease patients and his book “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease”. Also, Ted’s brother, Rip, and sister, Jane, do work sharing the plant-based message and helping people change their lives through nutrition. The family was featured on the documentary “Forks Over Knives” – which we highly recommend you watch.
So needless to say they were a wealth of knowledge. They had just returned from Plant Stock 2016 where they were on a panel discussing how they raised 3 children plant-based. We loved their stories about the large Esselstyn family gatherings where they eat a constant supply of delicious healthy foods and do all kinds of athletic activities. How awesome that the Esselstyn grandchildren are riding bikes with their grandparents — who are in their 80’s!
Anne, my husband Doug and I shared our perspectives of being in the healthcare field and seeing firsthand what poor health can result in. We all would love for the average person to see that the decisions you make around the food you put in your mouth have a REAL impact on your health and therefore your life. Being sick is a lot of work – doctor’s visits, tests, time off from work. Anyway, I digress…
For the meal we had a Vegan Corn Chowder to start, followed by a bed of arugula with fresh tomatoes and basil with balsamic drizzled over the top. And for the main course we had sushi bowls: brown rice, cabbage, peppers, cooked mushrooms, shredded carrots, pea sprouts, diced cukes and avocado. To top that we had a couple different dressings a cilantro chimichurri (I used avocado in place of the oil) and a miso dressing (using avocado and hummus in place of oil). I love passing around bowls of food! The biggest hit were the dressings…the flavors are so delicious and that’s what makes or break a meal. Even if you eat meat and dairy the flavors are an important component.
Finally, Anne and Ted’s daughter made us dessert: cupcakes with decadent frosting! My kids had the left overs the next morning and wanted to be sure we had the recipe!
All in all, it was a great meal, lots of discussion on how we can bring this to the larger community and offer support for people who want to eat more plant-based. We had some great input from Robin Reynolds, a good friend and neighbor, who has been working in the fitness industry for many years and from our other friends at the table too: Sarah Shapiro, Meghan Tucker and Heather Parker. So stay tuned, we have some great ideas and we will be working on implementing them in the future. We can’t wait to share the food and message with you too!