Entertainment Fort Smith Magazine, Online

Food Products or Real Food?

Food Products or Real Food?


“You have a choice. You can continue eating the foods manufacturers want you to buy that are making you unhealthy. Or you can return to eating the foods God provided for you, already magnificently packaged in their own skins, rinds, pods and shells.”  – Rabbi Celso Cukiercorn



Picture it:  A 5-year-old watching TV, happily munching a Fluffernutter sandwich on what manufacturers alleged was white bread. That was me, 60 years ago.


I enjoyed Fluffernutters and many other American favorites for the next 15 years. Then, in 1968, my Fort Smith, Ark., grandmother died of colon cancer at 65, just a year older than I am now. I had a vague sense her disease was what some of us call a “food-borne illness.”


I began a lifelong research project with a consistent theme: real food. I campaigned to bring real food back to the center of my table. I raised a family on real food, much of which got its start in my organic garden.


Today, I own and operate a five-star vegetarian cafe featuring real food. I never ate another Fluffernutter.


What is real food? In “Food Rules,” Michael Pollan says, “If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.” Food choices I make for myself, my family and my cafe are guided by the real food principle. I cook my own food and choose the least processed ingredients – plant food, organic when possible. I stick to the produce section of the supermarket.


Healthy vegetarian foods can be a tough sell, easier in recent years as research supports what was anecdotal 40 years ago. Finally, though, healthy eating has to taste good and satisfy.


You be the judge:


Veggie Chili

1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil


1 tbsp. garlic


2 bell peppers


1 large yellow/spanish onion


1 poblano pepper


1⁄2 pound dried small red beans


1⁄2 pound dried dark red kidney beans


10 large plum tomatoes


6 1⁄2 oz. tomato paste


1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. salt


1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. cumin


1 tbsp. hot chili powder


2 tsp. hot paprika


1 large bunch fresh cilantro


Rinse and soak beans overnight. Place drained beans in a 4-quart pot. Add water to 1/2 inch over top of beans and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until done. Check water level periodically. When done, the beans should have absorbed most, but not all, of the water.


Cut bell peppers and onions into 1-inch dice. Cut tomatoes into half-inch dice. Mince poblano pepper and cilantro. Add olive oil to bottom of a 1- to 2-gallon pot. Saute garlic, peppers and onions until slightly soft. Add diced tomatoes and heat until entire mixture is simmering. Add remaining seasonings and simmer a few minutes. Add cooked beans and remaining juices (drain if necessary). Bring to a simmer. Add tomato paste until it reaches the thickness you prefer. Add cilantro. Adjust seasoning.


Healthy, happy eating!



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Entertainment Fort Smith Magazine, Online