There is no reason why the foods that are proven to contribute most profoundly to our health cannot be prepared to provide delicious meals. We should expect it.
Marlene Watson-Tara is a plant-based, macrobiotic, vegan teacher, chef and health counselor. She is the co-creator of MACROVegan with her husband Bill Tara. Marlene has 35 years of experience helping people transform their lives. Check out their website, complete with online and in-person workshops, recipes and articles. If you haven’t seen her YouTube series Marlene and Friends it’s definitely worth your time. I especially love her interviews with Dr. Michael Klaper and Dr. Doug Lisle.
Go Vegan is Marlene Watson-Tara’s newest book, just released this week.
This book is a treasure. If you have been around me for very long, you know that I love everything about Marlene Watson-Tara. She is a fierce animal and environmental advocate and teaches that our individual health and the health of our planet are inextricably connected. Marlene has very intentionally worked to build a bridge between the plant-based and macrobiotic spheres. And it’s very clear, even from reading the reviews in the first few pages, that many plant-based doctors share her passion.
The opening chapters include guidelines for creating an ecological kitchen, utilizing the five tastes to create balanced dishes and meals, four weeks to become vegan and increasing ease and efficiency in the kitchen.
I was really struck by Marlene’s section about creating a new normal. “As you change your diet you will find that your tastes change. When you remove some of the foods you are used to you may miss them for a short time but remember your reasons for change. You will find that your new way of cooking opens up a different appreciation of plant-based foods. We call this period “Creating a New Normal” and making Veganism the new normal is my mission, so stay with me on this.”
This was such a good reminder for me. Any time we attempt to change something in our life we are working to create a new normal. Changes that may seem difficult in the beginning will start to feel like second nature if you are able to consistently move in that direction. This is true for people new to plant-based eating and those of us in a stage I like to call refinement, for small changes and big ones.
Go Vegan includes an abundant selection of recipes to suit a variety of tastes, all of them whole food, plant-based and oil-free. Most of the ingredients are easily procured. Miso, nutritional yeast and most other seasonings can be found in any well stocked natural foods store and many regular grocery stores. A few items, like mirin, ume plum, agar and kuzu, may need to be special ordered. If you find some of these items in an asian market, take care to choose ones with good quality. My Macrobiotic Resources page has links to several online sites where you can purchase these items.
I think it’s an art to create recipes that are equal parts satisfying, relaxing and delicious. Marlene is highly skilled in this arena. These are recipes you can introduce to your family and friends.
I tried quite a few recipes, so I could let you know my favorites. Everything I tried was delicious and I would make them all again.
Buckwheat Crepes. Delicious and pretty easy to cook on the skillet. The first few were ugly, but that often happens to me. These work for both sweet and savory flavor profiles. I tried some with hummus and arugula and some with cashew cream and fresh strawberries. Yum. They work well as leftovers, too.
Summer Sweetcorn Chowder. Yummy and sweet. The corn adds a fun texture. My sister raves about this one. The roasted red pepper adds an extra layer of flavor (just hold and rotate pepper over a flame until seared, put in a bowl with a top to steam, then peel the skin). The combination of corn, red pepper and coconut milk makes a great soup for warmer weather.
Marlene posted this recipe on her FaceBook page. I added the post at the bottom.
Teriyaki Black Bean Burgers. These burger patties are really flavorful and have a perfect texture. I replaced the breadcrumbs with ground oats because I avoid wheat flour and they worked just fine. Delicious. My father loved these as well.
Creamy Coleslaw. One thing I like about coleslaw is that it’s a vegetable dish that holds well for a few days in the refrigerator and can be eaten as leftovers. This recipe is simple and tasty. One modification I made while making this dish: I added the sea salt to the prepared vegetables and massaged with my hands to break the fibers down a bit before adding the dressing. The dressing will break down the vegetables, too, I just like to do it a little more to assist my digestion.
Herb Crusted Baked Cauliflower. I made a half batch of this recipe because cauliflower has been so darned expensive, but as soon as I tasted the finished product I wished I had made a full batch. This was the only recipe I made that I don’t recommend eating as leftovers. The crispiness of fresh baked is part of the appeal.
Gingered Applesauce with Cashew Cream. All I can say about this dish is to make extra! I don’t usually add ginger juice to my applesauce, but it’s a lovely addition. I left off the recommended granola because I didn’t have a chance to make it. This would be equally good with a few toasted walnuts or pecans on top.
Cashew Cream (see above). Delicious with only a few dates as sweetener. Perfect! I used this to top fresh berries, as a filling in the Buckwheat Crepes and on top of the Gingered Applesauce. And let’s be real, I may have had a spoonful or two straight our of the jar!
I really hope this book, Go Vegan, joins you in your kitchen soon. You may end up loving it as much as I do.
Photos used with permission of Marlene Watson-Tara.