Monday, April 4, 2011


For those Saturday Night Life fans who still remember Alec Baldwin's Schweaty Balls, there is no Schweaty in these balls -- but they pack a kick of flavor.  These are Ginger Balls - easy to make, great with coffee for a snack or for a taste of sweet for a dessert.  Caution:  they are addictive!

Just toss the following ingredients into your food processor:

1/2 cup almonds ground--(if not previously ground, grind them first in the food processor and THEN add the remaining ingredients)
1/2 tablespoon veg. oil
Dates:  2 large or 4 small - mine were really small so I used 5.
1 tsp Vietnamese cinnamon, or the cinnamon of your choice
1/2 tsp ginger
just a tad less than 1 tsp ground cloves
a hint of salt
and 1 tablespoon honey*

Whirl until it has a dough or paste texture and then pinch off a tablespoonful at a time to roll into balls about an inch in diameter.  These are so deliciously rich that you wouldn't want them to be much larger.We sampled as soon as I finished, and yes, even my beloved, who turns his nose and closes his palate to my style of eating, loved them.

Better yet, place in the refrigerator -- I like them better chilled, if you can wait that long.

*Honey is not used by most vegans since the theory is not to harm or exploit anything with a face.  To date, I have not encountered an exploited honey bee.  My presumption is that bees make honey as part of what they do in nature, and that they are not harmed by our use thereof.  If and when I find exploited honey bees, I will refrain from honey and use agave.

The Story Behind the Garden of Eden Vegan Blog

For those of you who knew me prior to December 30, 2009, I was a veteran of the fast food culinary institute. My son, when he lived with me would ask if I had ordered the "Shabbat pizza" yet as the sun was setting Friday nights.

My idea of a good meal was a McFish sandwich, fries with extra salt, and a medium diet coke.

Everything was better covered in a rich creamy sauce and the idea of a naked baked potato was as foreign to me as walking naked in Manhattan.

In June of 2009 I decided to formally become a vegetarian. Although I had dabbled with this, it was not until I read Skinny Bitch that the gauntlet was thrown.

Now being a vegetarian does not sign you up for good health. I was proof of that. Chubby when I started, I indulged in pizza, french fries, cheese, cheese, butter, cheese, pizza......and became very over weight, tipping the Toledos at 200 pounds at 5'4". And taking an assortment of meds for cholesterol and GERD and who knows what else.

As the decade was waning, and with my 60th birthday approaching in the year 2010, there was a perfect storm that snapped my beak and got me in gear. The same friend who gave me Skinny Bitch, turned me on to the John McDougall website. At the same time, there was a Grand Round lecture at the hospital where I work on the book Eat to Live, and at the same time, I was tired of how I looked and felt and needed to make a change.

I regret that I did not start this blog when I changed my lifestyle, but it is better late than never.

My weight is down about 35 pounds, my size has gone from a tight 16 to a loose 12. And I am on no meds, although my vegetarian doctor and I will review my blood work within this month to see if I need anything (like b12) boosted.

I began as a Vegan Minus. Or what I call a Garden of Eden Vegan.

As you know, a Vegan eats no animals nor animal products - none. But then I subtracted oil, sugar, and processed foods.

That is a big subtraction -- but it is this subtraction that helped with weight loss, lack of cravings, increased energy, health, and vibrancy.

Now I am dabbling in raw foods and have signed up to learn with Russell James (google him).

I like the taste and health aspect of raw foods, but worry about the increased calories. So I will (hopefully) use the raw creations as a supplement to my Gan (Hebrew for Garden -- I am in a Hebrew mood today) Eden Vegan lifestyle.

My doctor said that I should write a book about this since most of her patients need it. I said, "Who, or how many, would want to do this?" We shall see. It has been easy (no cravings) and exciting as life and energy unfold before me, just as it was meant to be. (It didn't unfold over a fried fish sandwich, extra tarter sauce.)

Join me or not. Walk with me the whole journey, day trips, part of it, or not. This is my 60th year -- buckle up life, here I come.