“4-Leaf” healthy eating on the 4th of July? Are you kidding?


Not kidding…and it is very possible with just a little “meal engineering.”

Lots of American flags on the 4th of July in New England; mine (in the distance) flies 365 days a year.

Happy 4th of July from Stonington, CT!  Yes, with all the burgers, dogs, cheese, chips and junk foods everywhere on this holiday, my title sounds a bit like an oxymoron. That said, how does one find a healthy 4-Leaf meal and still have a good time on the 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or just about any other holiday?

With that question in mind, I saw an interesting article in the Health Section of the New York Times just now. Written by Toby Bilanow (July 1, 2011), it is entitled “Transforming Beans Into Vegetarian Pate’s” and features five healthy sounding choices. (Link to full article below)

Since most people think that anything that doesn’t contain meat is healthy, the author was just doing his best to show us some healthier choices — presenting some attractive (and probably tasty) dishes that can be “engineered” into truly healthy “3-Leaf or 4-Leaf” meals. The article led off:

This week, Recipes for Health columnist Martha Rose Shulman transforms the lowly bean into an elegant start to any meal…A great way to work more beans into your diet, this week’s pâtés work as spreads on whole-grain bread or crackers. They slice up nicely, too, so you can serve them alongside a salad or vegetable dish.

This is the Lentil Pate -- they always have very attractive looking dishes in the Times. And as any great hostess knows; presentation AND taste are both very important.

The article continues with the following tasty-sounding and good looking dishes:

  • White Bean Pâté (Article says that this has been a Martha Rose Shulman signature dish for decades.)
  • Black Bean Pâté (she says it tastes like a very light version of refried beans)
  • Red Bean and Pepper Pâté (Spiced with paprika and cayenne and added red peppers for a Cajun twist)
  • Lentil Pâté With Cumin and Turmeric (She says that lentils and curry flavors go together beautifully)
  • Edamame Pâté (She says that the addition of Marmite or Savorex, yeast extracts with an intense taste, give this vegetarian pâté a meaty flavor)

Just had to get one more flag picture on today's post

Now for the “meal engineering.” When you visit the link below and take a look at the nutritional information for each dish, you will find that all of them are loaded with fat — in the form of olive oil and eggs. They did spare us the cheese. The meal engineering will consist of some creative ways to remove ALL of the eggs and most, if not all, of the olive oil. Contrary to popular opinion, olive oil is not a health food — like all oils, it is not a whole plant and 100% of its calories are from fat. (Visit our Meals 101 Page for more ideas.)

A word to the wise: If you continue to have lots of olive oil in your diet, you’ll have a tough time getting your average percent of calories from fat below 20%. My average is about 12% and Dr. Esselstyn likes to see his heart patients below 10%.

My Mini Cooper in front of my humble abode -- notice the license plate; as I strive to help you "navig-8" your way to 4-Leaf eating in a "No-Leaf" world.

So what would I do to these dishes? Not being a culinary expert myself, I might add some avocado and olives to the mix; they also have a lot of fat — but they are whole plants. I would do a little experimenting with small portions before making up a HUGE batch for my guests. If you try some of these dishes for your next holiday, please share your own engineered recipe with us in a comment below this blog.

Even with some “engineering,” these pates are not likely to be 4-Leaf, but they will have no cholesterol and a whole lot less fat than the recipes in the Times. Good luck and have a Happy 4th with your family and friends. (Click here to visit our 4-Leaf Page.)

If you like what you see here, you may wish to join our periodic mailing list. Also, for help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4-Leaf page. From the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

If you’d like to order our book on Amazon,  visit our BookStore now.

—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at HealthyEatingHealthyWorld.com

PS: Occasionally an unauthorized ad may appear beneath a blog post. It is controlled by WordPress (a totally free hosting service). I do not approve or personally benefit whatsoever from any ad that might ever appear on this site. I apologize and urge you to please disregard. 

Vegetarian Pate Recipes for Health – NYTimes.com.

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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