Best Winter Salads from


Red Cabbage Salad, with Orange, Cranberries and Walnuts
For a scrumptious winter salad to brighten the table, try this combination of juicy oranges, crisp red cabbage, earthy walnuts, and a simple balsamic dressing.
(Sorry about formatting – had to copy and paste from an email to get this specific info)
Chopped Barley Salad with Pears


Hulled barley (aka barley groats) are less processed than pearl barley and give this simple pear and greens salad delicious staying power. Drizzle with an easy pear vinaigrette, and enjoy!

Warm Roasted Vegetable Mixed Grain Salad with Creamy Vegan Dressing


With a creamy chickpea-thyme dressing, hearty roasted veggies, and plenty of grains, this fabulously nourishing salad is great as a side or main.

Wheat Berry and Roasted Vegetable Salad with Kale


In this warming wheat berry salad, tender roasted beet, shallots, and sweet potato pair with crisp kale, chewy raisins, and crunchy pepitas.

Freekah Tabbouleh with Grapefruit


In this meal-worthy salad, nutty freekeh anchors the tasty tang of grapefruit while cucumber, fresh herbs, and avocado round out the flavors. If you don’t have freekeh, use another grain.

Roasted Carrot and Fennel Salad
The magic behind this divine salad comes from roasting baby carrots and fennel in a maple syrup-sweetened vinaigrette. Add oranges, greens, onion, and pine nuts, and serve!
Salad Dressings
Forks Cooking Course
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The Power of Mushrooms: Nutrition, Benefits, & Risks of Edible Mushrooms | Ocean Robbins |


Mushrooms are one of the most widely available and popular plant foods. What is it that’s so special about mushrooms, why should you consider adding them to your diet, which ones are best, and which should you avoid?

Mushrooms have been eaten and used medicinally for thousands of years, all around the world. Ancient Egyptians considered mushrooms to be plants of immortality and recognized them as a gift from the god Osiris. They valued mushrooms so highly, only the royals were allowed to consume them; commoners were forbidden to touch, much less eat them.

Based on the details of ancient rock paintings, some historians think that the use of magic mushrooms was alive and well in 9,000 BC among indigenous populations of North Africa. (I don’t know where those cave artists found tie-dye paint, but you can’t argue with science!) Furthermore, statues and art thought to represent mushrooms have been found in Mayan and Aztec ruins in Central America, establishing their ceremonial importance in the Americas over many thousands of years.

Today, mushrooms are growing in popularity worldwide due to their nutritional properties and versatile uses in the kitchen. While annual consumption of mushrooms in the United States stabilized at an average of three pounds per person in the decade ending in 2015, the market has been growing steadily since and is projected to grow even faster globally over the next several years.

But what makes mushrooms so special? Are they good for the environment too? And what about poisonous and psychedelic mushrooms? How do you avoid the former and not take the latter by accident? And will I be able to stop myself from making at least one “fun guy” joke for the rest of this article? (Continued at source …)

Source: The Power of Mushrooms: Nutrition, Benefits, & Risks of Edible Mushrooms

Gaining Weight during Lockdown? Here Are 10 Tips to Avoid Overeating | Ariel Belloso |

Dr. Fuhrmans Super Immunity Boot Camp


The death rate from COVID has not abated and thousands of people are dying daily.  This is demonstrative of the incredible poor health and impaired immune system of our population. Those whose diet places them at high risk of developing cancer—can be hurt, even killed by COVID. The only people who can be truly protected against these novel viruses are those with superior immune function, excellent nutrition and a favorable body weight.

Now is the time to take action and earn protection against novel infections. The onset of vaccine availability for COVID may help temporarily for those at high risk, but you can be certain other serious infections will follow in the near future and this virus is already showing genetic variation as most viruses eventually do.

Compassion and intelligence dictate how essential it is for everyone to focus on achieving our best possible health and immunity. Going into 2021, start it off right with a gift to yourself, a gift that can save your life. (It also makes a terrific and thoughtful gift for a loved one!)


Super Immunity Boot Camp

One-Week Virtual Event • January 18-22, 2021

Includes zoom webinars including lectures, Q&A, exercise session, food addiction seminar, cooking demo and more. You’ll get a 20-Day digital meal plan with recipes, Platinum membership to my website, online classroom, and more. And our special BEAT COVID price lets you save $64 off the regular boot camp price!

Source: Dr. Fuhrmans Super Immunity Boot Camp

Eat This, Not That PLANT BASED VERSION by Stephanie Spencer, R.N. | Natural State of Health

Every day of our lives, over and over,  we have to ask the eternal question “what should I eat now?”

For most of us, the answer to that question is a combination of which food is most convenient, how it tastes, and then some guilty feelings about health that might float around on the periphery.  If one or more of these factors is outsized-for example, insanely convenient, tasty AND free (the breakroom dilemma), we find ourselves taking the path of least resistance and making bad choices which, over time, take a toll on our health.

Then when we make bad choices, we blame our bad, bad selves for our lack of “will power.”

I was one of those people who have almost no will power when it comes to food.  I love good food and am very fussy about my food tasting “just right”.  Meaning I can’t just eat any old thing because it’s supposed to be “healthy.”  But after we switched to a Plant-Based diet and began eating legumes and whole grains every day, we were never hungry in between meals for the first time in our lives (Pro tip: never being hungry will boost your willpower by about 500%).  I even remember the second day of my life that I didn’t have any milk or yogurt, how much slimmer my belly was.  All day!  Not just in the morning.    Who could have known!?  I was 49 years old before I ever went a single day of my life without dairy! But even after I lost 20 pounds and achieved a healthy Body Mass Index of about 23.5,  I was still worried that I might just blow it somehow and put all the weight back on.  But almost 2 years later, I’m still at that same healthy weight.  And I still don’t have much will power.

So how do we pull it off?

First, I had to be convinced that I needed to cut out meat and dairy for health.  This was easy because my husband had just been diagnosed with pre-diabetes and after spending my entire adult life caring for patients with congestive heart failure (which frequently starts with diabetes, then leads to a heart attack, and then heart failure), I had all the motivation I ever needed to make sure we didn’t go down that same path.  Once I learned the connection between animal protein, excessive refined fats, and all the chronic disease I had been combatting for decades in my career as a cardiac RN  (you can learn about this too by clicking here to view my FREE webinar), all I needed to know was how to implement these changes on a practical basis.

In the process of getting my Plant-Based Nutrition Certification, much of the conventional wisdom I had absorbed from school, the medical field, and media was turned on its head.  And once I had a clear understanding as to what to prioritize (FIBER instead of protein) for optimum health, then it was simply a matter of figuring out the tastiest new recipes to stay within these new health parameters.  Once you have a clear understanding of WHAT to eat to prevent, improve, and reverse chronic disease, the world wide web is pretty handy for having an infinite variety of recipes to fit what you are looking for.

The Pareto principle states that about 20% of targeted effort in any given endeavor usually produces about 80% of the results.  In our endless quests to “get healthy”,  I’ve tried all of the same tactics that I’m sure many of you have:  limiting carbs, drinking more water and green tea,  eating all organic foods,  eating all-natural food (I was all about eating the “all-natural” versions of yogurt and cheese!), and endless exercise goals that we can never maintain for years on end.  (I lost 15# by running a literal marathon and then felt like a loser when I couldn’t maintain that level of commitment.  But  I actually lost 5# more than my post-marathon weight by switching to a Plant-Based diet and just exercising moderately.)

So why not simply make the most EFFECTIVE choices to lose weight and prevent or reverse chronic disease instead of spinning our wheels with tactics that might help only in some technical academic sense but really don’t yield many results in real life?

So I’m going to share a couple of easy peasy “eat this, not that” tips that will make a HUGE difference in attaining not only your weight loss goals, but also preventing, greatly improving and even reversing common chronic diseases–like diabetes and heart disease- our most common causes of death and disability.  The more you can make these switches the EASY and CONVENIENT food choice in your everyday routine, the faster you’ll see results and won’t need to rely on will power!

  1. Instead of beef chili, switch to this delicious mushroom chili! (If you mince the mushrooms in a food processor, they really soak up the tomato/chili sauce in a way that is similar to ground beef, but infinitely healthier!)

Note: When you switch out meat for plants, aim for real plants like beans and mushrooms (with health-promoting fiber) as opposed to “fake meats”  which can slow down improvements we want to make, especially with heart disease and diabetes.

  1. Switch out ranch dressing for cashew dressing on salads. Cashew cream dressings are even superior to oil-based vinaigrettes from a health point of view (I explain why in Class Three of my course).  I make this amazing chipotle ranch dressing that I put on all my salads.  I can’t even imagine picking a dairy ranch dressing over this option because it’s so delicious.  So I can enjoy my salads, lose weight, avoid chronic disease and I’m not even suffering eating icky “diet” food!

And with a Whole Food Plant-Based way of eating, there are no limits on serving sizes!  Because whole plants are naturally low in calories.  You’ll actually end up eating much larger servings than you used to.  And you’re never hungry because of the high-fiber content of these whole food plants!

After almost 2 years of eating this way now, I’m just not even tempted to go back to my old food.  My new recipes are an ingrained habit now and when we can develop an ingrained HABIT, we don’t have to “white-knuckle-it” or use willpower at all!

To learn more about the health and chronic disease reversal benefits of a Whole Food Plant-Based diet, click HERE to view my free one-hour webinar “Change Your Food, Change Your Life!”

To purchase my comprehensive self-paced online Plant-Based Transformation for Beginners course for yourself or as a GIFT, click HERE.

Wishing you health and hope,


Stephanie Spencer RN, BSN

Certified, Plant-Based Nutrition

T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies

Check out my website  


Seriously Good Homemade Salsa from Forks Over Knives


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Used as a dip or as a topping for burgers, grain bowls, nachos, tacos, burritos, and more, salsa is one of the handiest condiments around. Plus, it requires no oil, sugar, or processed ingredients to taste absolutely delicious. Check out our handy guide, with tips for making your own custom salsa, or try one of the recipes below.


ROASTED TOMATO SALSA Roasting some chile and tomatoes in a skillet brings out the earthy flavors in this delectable, easy salsa.


PITA CHIPS WITH BLUEBERRY-ORANGE SALSA Fragrant with cardamom and lemon zest, this sweet, fruity salsa tastes great with crunchy pita chips.


MANGO SALSA Enjoy the tropical flavors of mango salsa atop Polenta with Black Beans, or your favorite plant-based burger or Mexican meal.


CHIPOTLE CORN SALSA AND BAKED TORTILLA CHIPS Featuring pinto beans, corn, and canned tomatoes, this smoky dip is kid-friendly and hugely versatile.


FRESH TOMATO SALSA In this vibrant salsa, the cool, fresh flavors of lime juice, garlic, red onion, and cilantro are perfectly balanced with a dash of heat from jalapeño pepper.

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Plant Based for Health Zoom recap from Stephanie Spencer

Hello friends!

Kellie and I have decided that going forward, we’ll send out some video segments of speakers, formal topics, or Plant Based Transformation stories to the email list, but still keep the Zoom chat private between participants in the live session as most folks seem to be more comfortable with that format.  

So here’s some resources from our Zoom Chat last Thursday:

  • Stephanie’s presentation of “Don’t Miss the Forest for the Trees!”

Based on the 80/20 Pareto Priniciple (20% of targeted effort will yield 80% of the results), Stephanie discusses the most IMPORTANT dietary changes you need to make FIRST to have the most impact on your health when considering switching to a Plant Based Diet.

And if you’re interested in learning more about Plant Based Nutrition and Chronic disease reversal, I have a 1 hour webinar explaining the basics, including “Where do you get your protein?!” and I have also converted my live courses to a self-paced online format that you can learn more about at

“Change your Food, Change your Life” Webinar link here:

  • Our next Zoom meeting will be Thursday, December 17th at 7 pm. I’ll send out the Zoom link with a reminder the day before.
  • Also below is Annie’s amazing chocolate hummus recipe!  I think this is an absolutely brilliant and tasty way to add more legumes and fiber to your daily diet.I am also attaching below if you want to easily print it out.

Thanks to everyone who was able to join the meeting last week.  I know everyone has busy schedules so hopefully you’ll get some value out of these emails and our Facebook page.

If you’re on Facebook, please post your favorite Plant Based Thanksgiving or holiday dishes or snacks to the page-this is how we all learn!  FYI-for recipes, we would like them to be “No Oil”, but please don’t be overly paranoid-if there is a health issue with a recipe, I’ll post a comment below it and we’ll see if we can tweak it-I am too old to be part of the “cancel culture” mentality (if you don’t know what this is-consider yourself lucky and continue enjoying your life).

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving and please be safe out there!

In health and hope, 




    •    1 15 oz  can of cooked black beans strained and rinsed 3 times

          (OR  substitute with great northern beans or garbanzo beans)

    •    3 1/2 – 4 Tbsp maple syrup

    •    1/2 tsp vanilla extract

    •    1/4 tsp salt (don’t use salt if beans have added sodium in them)

    •    4 Tbsp unsweetened baking cocoa

    •    1-2 Tbsp water (optional)


1.       In a blender or in a food processor, combine all the ingredients except water, using just 3 1/2 Tbsp of maple syrup.

2.       Puree until the mixture is smooth, about 30-60 seconds.

3.        Add water 1 Tbsp at a time to create the desired consistency. Taste the chocolate hummus and add remaining maple syrup if desired.


Delicious on

·        Ezekiel Cinnamon and Raisin bread  (toasted)

·        Wasa Multi Grain whole grain crispbread

·        Ezekeil Muffins (toasted)

Put sliced bananas or strawberries on top if desired.

After Losing 100+ Pounds, Grocery Store Owner Promotes Healthier Options – Blue Zones

By Lisa Monroe

Immokalee is an area where healthy food options are limited — sometimes called a food desert or food swamp­— in Collier County, Florida. LeGrand Caribbean Market is an oasis in that desert, at least for the large migrant population that shops there. They are people who work long hours, live in shared housing without their own kitchens, and speak as many as nine different languages — including Spanish and Haitian Creole. Franck LeGrand Jr. speaks all of them.

LeGrand runs the food market that his late father ran before him, in part because he knows the community relies on it and also because he wants to continue his father’s legacy. Franck’s dad was a migrant worker once himself. Franck LeGrand Sr. immigrated to the U.S. from Haiti when Franck was a boy and worked in the fields for 20 years until he saved enough money to start his own business. Franck remembers getting up in the wee hours of the morning as a child to fill his dad’s cooler with ice for the day and occasionally going into the fields with him when he was young.

The migrant life is a hard life with many things to worry about so there isn’t a lot of time to stop to consider the best food options. That is a challenge Franck is chipping away at through his interactions with people in the community at his market. He’s even worked with Blue Zones Project to redesign his market to nudge his customers toward healthier food options. It’s complicated and a slow process, but Franck relishes every small victory, even if it’s just a worker grabbing a piece of fruit for a snack instead of a bag of chips or a bottle of water instead of a soda. Franck knows better than anyone that food choices are affected by so many aspects of life and that changing regular habits isn’t easy. But he also knows change is within reach when you start making small changes one at the time. “I just had to change the way I eat and exercise more,” he said.

Franck relishes every small victory, even if it’s just a worker grabbing a piece of fruit for a snack instead of a bag of chips or a bottle of water instead of a soda.CLICK TO TWEET

Franck lost 100 pounds in a single year and found a new lease on life. And he now uses his story to inspire others in his community.

Franck’s Path to Weight Gain & Weight Loss

Franck turned to food and began emotional eating out of grief. In 2011, his father was killed tragically in a car accident while running an errand for the store. About a year later, his wife and child died from childbirth-related complications.

Continue reading Franck’s story here: After Losing 100+ Pounds, Grocery Store Owner Promotes Healthier Options – Blue Zones

Additional topics in the Blue Zones newsletter this morning:

CEO Says These 2 Things Create Low Turnover, Happier Employees, Healthy Work Culture

What We’re Reading:

Blue Zones Projects in Action:

Corry Area Primary School has added more physical activity, nutrition education, and mindfulness into the classroom and has been designated as Erie County, PA’s first Blue Zones Project Approved school.

A new Blue Zones food initiative in Forth Worth, TX, will help some local families in their efforts to put healthier food on their tables this winter.

Science Can’t Turn Back the Clock, But Centenarian Secrets Can Add Years to Your Life


They’re a staple in the Blue Zones diet, and a staple in the pantry. Try a new bean recipe this weekend!

Maya Nut Morning Brew

Centenarians in most blue zones regions drink coffee daily, sometimes up to two to three cups a day. Tea, both herbal and green, is also a popular beverage. For those who need or want to avoid caffeine, however, Maya Nut Morning Brew is a caffeine-free, nutrient-dense alternative to coffee that can be prepared in the same manner. The flavor is mild with notes of cinnamon or mocha; it does not have a bitter aftertaste, and it can be made hot or iced. Even though it is caffeine-free, people report a natural energy boost after drinking Maya Nut drinks.
Shop the Blue Zones Store

Classic Stuffing Recipe

These 11 simple guidelines reflect how the world’s longest-lived people ate for most of their lives. Download and print this reminder to hang in your kitchen (or save paper and keep it on your phone).

Download the Blue Zones Food Guidelines



Plant Based 4 Health Zoom meeting Nov. 12th – Stephanie Spencer

Image may contain: food

Hello friends!

Hope you’re all hanging in there on this wild ride that is the year 2020! 

Our next Zoom “Plant Based for Health” meeting will be November 12th at 7 pm.  Don’t worry, I’ll send another reminder email the day before.  Please check out our “Plant Based for Health Society of Central Arkansas” Facebook page at  

We’ll be discussing the eternal “what do you do at the holidays” dilemma and I want to invite all of you to post your favorite Plant Based Thanksgiving dishes with recipes on the Facebook page in advance. 

We’ll also hear a Plant Based Transformation story from a heart attack survivor and if we have time, I’ll discuss the “order of importance” when converting to a Plant Based Diet.  

Stay safe and we’ll see you soon!