Our 7 Favorite Ways to Enjoy MamaSezz Veggie Loaf

By Ali Donahue
on March 22, 2017

Our 7 Favorite Ways to Enjoy MamaSezz Veggie Loaf

While we love our Veggie Loaf straight from the pan, just like mom used to serve it, variety is the spice of life. If you're looking to mix it up at meal time, may we suggest a few of our favorites:

1. Pan-fried 

Cut the veggie loaf into 1-inch slices and fry in a little veggie broth. Top with stir-fried mushrooms, green peppers, sweet onions - and enjoy!

2. In a Sandwich

Slice and build your favorite sandwich on whole grain bread. Use a bit of Dijon mustard of your favorite vegan BBQ sauce to change it up.

3. Added to Pasta Sauce

Break up the loaf, add to your favorite pasta sauce, then serve over brown rice pasta

4. With Gravy

Make our mushroom gravy recipe. Then heat slices of veggie loaf and steam up some cauliflower. Mash the cauliflower, put it next to the hot veggie loaf slices, and cover everything with the gravy. Yum!

MamaSezz Veggie Loaf Burger

5. As a Burger 

Shape a thick slice of veggie loaf into burger patties. Heat in a frying pan and serve with whole grain burger. 

6. Made into Taco Filling 

Make it a taco night! Chop up a few slices of veggie loaf and put them in a sauce pan. Add a teaspoon each of garlic powder, cumin, paprika, and tamari/soy sauce. Mix it well and heat thoroughly. Use a brown rice tortilla, add the filling, black beans, avocado, tomato, lettuce, and salsa. 

7. Stir-Fried

Add to your favorite stir-fried veggies and serve over rice noodles, brown rice, or quinoa.

Is this post making you hungry?

Get your plant-based noshing on with our Get Me Started bundle. This bundle comes chock-full of enough delicious and fully prepared plant-based meals to feed two people for a week (or one for two weeks). And yes, the Veggie Loaf's included. 

MamaSezz Get Me Started Bundle

Dieting Doesn't Work...But This Does

By Meg Donahue
on March 14, 2017

Dieting Doesn't Work...But This Does

Fun fact: I hate diets. 

I’ve never been on a diet that worked long term. I don’t have the patience to measure food, count points and calories, or think about my macronutrient (protein, carb, fat) intake. And I don’t want to wear a watch that tracks what I eat because it feels like an obsessive behavior that sucks the joy out of food.

Food is a lot of things: fun, social, fuel for your body, sensual, enjoyable, satisfying. But it should never be the enemy and it definitely shouldn’t be a part-time job.

So why are we obsessing over our food intake?

It’s not our fault that just trying to eat well is riddled with guilt, frustration, and confusion. We’re constantly bombarded with terrible advice. Our parents, friends, blog posts, magazine articles, and TV pundits all preach “watch what you eat!” and “cut back!”

We've got calorie charts, carb charts, and fitness apps that calculate the nutritional or caloric value of everything we eat. 

Dieting is exhausting and it doesn't work.

It’s time to graduate from diets. Pounds may drop temporarily, but many of us regain the weight – then feel bad about it. And it’s not because we’re all unmotivated or lazy. It’s because diets are deeply flawed.

Here’s how:

1. We have to make this choice EVERY SINGLE TIME WE PUT FOOD INTO OUR MOUTHS. Whether we’re busy, stressed, tired, or cranky, diets tell us we HAVE to use our limited willpower first thing in the morning, every day, every meal, every snack...forever.

The results look something like this:

motivation chart

Graph: motivation declines over time with effort. (Thank you Ramit Sethi for the graph and Big Win inspiration!)

2. Even if we’re “successful,” we're never really free from “focusing on food.” Congrats! You’ve counted every calorie and macronutrient for 365 days. You have really enjoyed yourself and loved eating right? Probably not. All that work, and at the end of the day even if you look and physically feel pretty good, it’s still complicated, a lot of effort, and really no fun...which isn't sustainable.

How to eat healthy and feel good WITHOUT dieting

Big wins are the 3-5 actions that can significantly impact your diet, health, and life – such as transitioning to whole, plant-based foods, getting fully-prepared plant-based meals delivered, and stocking your pantry with healthy choices.

The beautiful part about Big Wins is you do the work up front — and they pay rewards for the rest of your life. One decision to eat plant-based whole foods means you never have to count calories again. Imagine that! (Not to mention you are doing more to improve your health than any amount of calorie counting and exercise ever could.)

Next time you hear the same old tired advice on dieting — track macronutrients or count calories — ask yourself: Has that really worked for the millions of people who’ve tried it? Are they really not “trying hard enough?” Or is there perhaps a systemic problem urging people to waste their limited willpower on near-meaningless tasks with little reward? Should we instead focus on high-leverage areas that will result in massive payoffs?

Put another way — how can we focus on using Big Wins so we can enjoy eating (and life) again?

Take the minutiae decisions out of your day

For any easy Big Win, we've put together a Get Me Started bundle filled with prepared and delicious plant-based meals.

get me started bundle

 

Have your own diet stories? Tell us about them in the comments! 

 

Advice from a Pharmacist: Eat Plants, Not Pills

By Ali Donahue
on March 10, 2017

Advice from a Pharmacist: Eat Plants, Not Pills

We recently spoke with Dustin Rudolph, AKA The Plant-Based Pharmacist. A board certified pharmacist, you may be surprised to hear Dustin believes the key to health comes “in the form of a grocery list and not a prescription.”

That’s right: a pharmacist telling you ditch the pills. Is he trying to put himself out of business? Kind of. In his book The Empty Medicine Cabinet: The Pharmacist’s Guide to the Hidden Danger of Drugs and the Healing Powers of Food, Dustin explains how he became a pharmacist to help people, but "in spite of all the well-meaning intentions of both doctors and patients” modern medicine didn’t seem to work.

Let’s have a look at the numbers from the book. “Over four billion prescriptions were filled in the US alone in 2011. And as a nation, we spent over $2.7 trillion in healthcare in the US in that same year (nearly double per person what other developed nations spend on their citizens).” Yet, despite these figures, Americans continue to get fatter and sicker

But it’s not all gloom and doom. Dustin’s message to the reader (and his patients) is optimistic: “You are in charge and can take control of your own life. You don’t need to feel doomed. This is a hopeful, empowering message and a promise only you can fulfill.” Enter a whole foods, plant-based diet.

In our interview, Dustin explains how nutrition science led him to question the power of the prescription pad. He also offers advice for those looking to embrace lifestyle medicine as a safer, cheaper, more effective way to address, treat, and even reverse chronic illness. 

dustin rudolph

 Q: What made you decide to become a pharmacist? 

A: Believe it or not, I made the career decision of wanting to become a pharmacist in the fourth grade. Yes, I was just a little squirt when I decided I wanted to be like Todd. I grew up in a small town in Southeast Montana called Baker. We had a total of one doctor and two pharmacists in the whole town. Todd was my family's pharmacist. I loved Todd. He was always smiling and very friendly when we came to visit, plus he wore that pristine white lab coat behind the counter when doing his work helping people. Everyone who went to see Todd loved him, so I aspired to be like him when I grew up.

As luck would have it, I just so happened to enjoy math and science as I got into junior high, high school, and later, college. I was intrigued by the human body and loved helping people. This made pharmacy a perfect fit for me, at least as I saw things at that time in my young academic career. Since graduating, I've found out that the more pills people take the more miserable and sick they are. I find this disheartening, and it's not what I set out to do in my career as a healthcare practitioner. During pharmacy school, I learned nothing about health and nutrition. It wasn't until eight years into my pharmacy career that I found out about the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle. When I found out that food could be used as medicine AND was more effective, safer, and less costly than medication to combat the majority of chronic illnesses I was instantly hooked on this new concept. Now, I still practice as a full-time clinical hospital pharmacist, but I do a lot of work to help educate people outside my pharmacy career to use food as their medicine and leave the pills as a last resort.

Q: What are some of the most common complaints/illnesses that you see in your work? Are many of the illnesses avoidable or curable by eating a plant-based diet? 

I work full time in hospital pharmacy. I see the healthcare crisis as it hits the front door of the hospital. This includes everything from heart attacks, stroke, seizures, autoimmune disease flare-ups (Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, etc.), diabetic comas, broken bones due to accidents and/or osteoporosis, diverticulitis, cancer, infections like pneumonia or cellulitis, dementia, acid reflux, constipation, and the list goes on and on.

Most all chronic illnesses are avoidable, and can even be halted or reversed using a whole foods, plant-based diet and lifestyle. I would say at least 70%-80% of these chronic medical conditions would fit into this category. Don't get me wrong; there will always be a need for modern medicine. A few conditions above like seizures and broken bones fit this description. For the most part though, we would avoid a lot of heartache and pain in this country if everyone would be open to eating a healthy, plant-based diet and incorporate a few other healthy lifestyle changes into their daily routine like exercise and smoking cessation.

Q: A number of our customers struggle with a transition to a plant-based diet - what advice do you have for them?

Take one small step at a time in this case. I understand many people cannot go from years or decades of eating a Standard American Diet to eating a plant-based diet overnight. It took me a year to transition completely to this lifestyle.

A great place to start transitioning is to find alternatives to dairy products. There are many plant-based milks out there to replace cow's milk. These include almond milk, cashew milk, soy milk, rice milk, etc. There are quite a few plant-based cheeses becoming available too that can be used as transition foods until you don't miss the taste of cheese. Based on the scientific data, I consider dairy the most harmful food group on the face of the planet. It should be the first to go in anyone's diet. This is what I recommend doing out of the gate.

Q: Why did you start eating a plant-based diet? 

I adopted a plant-based diet after reading The China Study by T. Colin Campbell. This book discusses the positive health impact of eating a whole foods, plant-based diet. I'm naturally interested in health and science since I'm a medical professional. After reading the evidence provided in this book and then going on to read several other similar books, I couldn't help but adopt this life-saving diet.

I didn't have any major health problems being in my early 30s at the time, but I also didn't want to end up with heart disease, diabetes, and cancer as many of my family members had. I did benefit health wise in that my migraine headaches decreased in frequency. I’ve been getting migraines since I was 10 years old. I went from three to four per month to one every month or two. My cholesterol numbers also improved, with my total cholesterol dropping approximately 20-30 points into the low 100s. Overall, I have more energy and feel fantastic on this diet!

Q: Do you have any suggestions for parents who are trying to encourage their kids to eat a plant-based diet?

Start kids as early as possible on this diet. Children naturally move towards plant foods once they are weaned off of breastfeeding (or formula feeding) onto pureed veggies and fruits. Remember the pureed peas and sweet potatoes in those tiny little baby jars you ate when you were a kid? You don't start a 6-month old on steak and lobster right after giving up their bottle. You start them on pureed fruits and veggies. So just keep going with this and continue them on healthy, plant-based foods.

Children's taste buds will prefer healthy fruits and veggies the more they eat them, and the sooner you start them down this path. If they are already on a typical Standard American Diet of chicken nuggets and French fries then you may have to shake their routine up a bit and work through the "no's" of serving them fruits and veggies for the first time. But it will be worth it in the end because you could literally be saving their life years down the road.

I suggest two wonderful resources to parents who want to help their kids adopt a plant-based diet. They are the following websites that are run by mothers who have been there, done that with their children - My Plant-Based Family and Vegalicious.

 Q: What is your greatest fear?

Losing the people I love the most prematurely in life due to an unforeseeable accident or event, whether it's because they die prematurely or I die prematurely. We are all given only so much time on this Earth. Spending that time with those we love is so precious and having this taken away prematurely is a fear that I think many people share with me. Taking care of yourself with your health by leading a healthy lifestyle can go a long ways in preventing unnecessary medical tragedies, but even if you do this tomorrow is never promised. I try to make the most of my time spent with loved ones when I get these opportunities. I've learned to do this the older and wiser I get. You can always replace material things in life, but you can never replace your time.

Q: Do you have a philosophy of life by which you live?

Yes! My father always preached to us three boys to "be a good person" as we make our way through this world. He said that goes no matter what we do or how successful we become in life. He still reminds us of this all the time today. It resonates with me every time I hear him say it. So I do my best to live by this philosophy. Do unto others as you would like have done unto you. Be generous and kind. Be compassionate and caring. Never let greed, fame, or power dictate how you behave and act in this world. Remember to stay humble and be gracious in everything you do in life. And spend your life serving others. These are the things I strive to do every single day. I'm not a perfect human being, but I always go back to what my father asked of his three sons, which is to "be a good person" in life.

Ready to get started with a plant-based diet?

Join the MamaSezz 4-Week Plant-Based Challenge to get support, tips, tricks, menus, recipes, shopping lists, discounts on MamaSezz food, and more!
4-Week Plant-Based Challenge

A Meat Lover's Guide to Starting a Plant-Based Diet

By Caroline DiNicola Fawley
on March 07, 2017

A Meat Lover's Guide to Starting a Plant-Based Diet

I first tried lamb chops when I was five years old. I watched my dad hand select each one at the butcher shop, coat them in a Dijon garlic rub, and place them side-by-side on the grill. I remember the satisfying sizzle they made as they hit the iron rods. The second I sank my teeth into that tender, medium rare chop - juice running down my chin and dripping off my elbows – that was the moment my love for meat and my passion for food began.

By the time I was 15, I’d graduated from pork chops, moving on to more exotic cuts: boiled calf brain, Rocky Mountain oysters, haggis, fish eyes, frog legs. There was nothing I wouldn’t try. At 17, I was eating about a pound of bacon a week. In college, it was burgers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And before my 20th birthday, I was a proud Buffalo Wild Wings Challenge Survivor. As a fit, college athlete, I didn’t think twice about my eating habits, and had even trashed the idea of veganism to friends.

Today, I am 100% plant-based and have no regrets. While I changed my diet mostly for philosophical reasons, I’ve reaped the health benefits as well, from fewer allergies to more energy.

The most common thing people say about changing their diet is it’s too hard to give up their favorite foods. And they’re right – it is hard (at first). But from one meat lover to another, it’s doable. You’ll need a little willpower to start, but the good news is: those cravings dissipate, sooner than you expect.

OK, OK…how do you get to that point? A few insider tips:

 1. Try it for a month

You can do anything for a month, right? Challenge yourself to go four weeks without animal products or processed foods.

In just one month, you may find your energy levels increase, your sleep patterns improve, and your body fat decrease. And you may come out of it with some new favorite meals and snacks. Above all else, you’ll gain the confidence needed to break through your self-doubt. It’s like jumping into a cold pool. Sometimes it’s easier to take the leap if you know you can get right out, but once you’re in you find it’s not so unbearable after all, and you might even enjoy yourself.

2. Stock your fridge!

Be prepared! Look up a few simple, go-to recipes online, Try these easy plant-based swaps. Stock up on plant-based foods you like (there will be time for experimentation later). Fill the kitchen with snack foods like trail mix, veggies and hummus, apples and peanut butter, and granola so you don’t give up when cravings hit. And never grocery shop while hungry!

3. One day at a time

If making the transition gradually is a better choice for you, first cut out meat. Give yourself time to learn a few recipes featuring your favorite vegetables. Discover new spices! Teach yourself how to cook vegetables well (I promise – they’re delicious).

After you’re confident with your new recipes, cut back on something else – like eggs or cheese. Make a savory tofu scramble for Sunday morning brunch. Experiment with a few plant-based mac and cheese recipes online (spoiler alert: soaked, blended cashews are creamier than you ever could have imagined). Eventually, you’ll have so many new skills and meal ideas, you can stop purchasing animal products all together. The easiest way to avoid eating cheese is to not have it accessible.

4. Cut yourself some slack

This isn’t a diet – it’s a lifestyle! It’s not about counting calories or losing points. Never beat yourself up over how you eat. Enjoy a mostly plant-based diet, but if you down half a cheese plate at your friend’s dinner party (speaking from experience), don’t think of it as “cheating.” Think of it as being flexible. Eating plant-based is not a contest or a game; you don’t drop out if you “cheat. Instead, thank yourself for how far you’ve come!

 Whichever approach you take, remember to never deprive yourself. The overall goal is eat, feel, and be healthier by eating more whole and plant-based foods. And with each plant-based day, think about how much better you feel, how you’re taking steps to save the planet, and how you’ve uncovered a whole new style of cooking. It’s simple: eat your fruits and veggies, now go out and play!

Want to eat plant-based but don't know where to start?

Join the MamaSezz 4-Week Plant-Based Challenge to get support, tips, tricks, menus, recipes, shopping lists, discounts on MamaSezz food, and more!

4-Week Plant-Based Challenge

Can't Poop? Try Eating Plant-Based

By Meg Donahue
on March 06, 2017

Can't Poop? Try Eating Plant-Based

It’s a tough topic. 

Nobody wants to talk about it but it’s hands down the #1 thing people whisper to me once they’ve switched to a plant-based diet.

Don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of cool things that happen to your body when you start eating this way: weight loss, clear skin, improved heart health, improved vascular health (another whispered benefit but I’ll save that for later...).  

But this one benefit, in particular, has people ready to scream it from the rooftops...if it weren't for polite society. Instead, it's usually a hushed, albeit excited:

"I can poop!"

i-can-poop-at-last

I know…it’s a little TMI, but bear with me.

People are so excited, blown away even (pun intended), by how quickly their body responds to eating a plant-based diet that they can’t wait to tell me about their morning BM. That’s pretty incredible!

So take a minute here to think. Do you:

Feel bloated?
Have trouble going regularly?
Experience a heavy feeling in your midsection?
Have low energy?
Strain to go?


You’re not alone! Nearly 42 million Americans are persistently stopped up.

So what can you do?

Eat plant-based for a week.

You can try anything for a week!

you-can-eat-plant-based 

And if you do, I guarantee you’ll notice a significant change in your bowel movements - and feel a whole lot better!

So many of us get used to our bodies chugging along with sluggish intestines…but here’s how the body is intended to work: you eat, that food gets broken down and metabolized by your body and used for energy, and what you don’t need (waste or poop) is eliminated effortlessly.

So why is this normal process of just “doing your business” so difficult for so many of us? And what about therapies like colonics, cleanses, fasts, the billion dollar laxative industry, which were all created to get us to do one simple, totally natural thing: poop. Well, they're popular for a reason: they work. But only temporarily.

Ditch Short-Term Fixes.

These “fixes” aren’t long-term because it’s not (usually) that something is wrong with how your body eliminates waste. The problem isn’t what’s coming out of your body, but what’s going into your body. When given the right fuel, our bodies don't need a cleanse to detox because there are no toxins to eliminate. 

A Suggestion

OK, not really a suggestion. More like a knock on your noggin from your loving Mama…

Quit your gritchin...

About your crummy bowel movements.
About a bloated, uncomfortable gut.
About your belly roll that pinches against your pants.
About barely having enough energy to watch Netflix and go to bed after work.

Instead...try eating plant-based for a week!


Your poop will move.
You will feel better.
You will be less bloated and your jeans will fit all day long.
You will have the energy you need to live a fulfilling, healthier life. 

How to Get Your Body Back with Plant-Based Food

Get started with quick, easy, and FREE recipes here

Don't feel like cooking? We hear you. Get your start on a more energized, less bloated, meaningful life with MamaSezz ready-made meals. Our Get Me Started Bundle comes with 22 servings of plant-based comfort foods, fully prepared, so all you have to do is heat and eat. 

get me started plant-based bundle

Our Guarantee

Don't feel better after eating plant-based for a week? Let us know and we'll refund your money, no questions asked.

 

An Interview with Wheaton's Plant-Based Tennis Coach Pauri Pandian

By Meg Donahue
on February 28, 2017

An Interview with Wheaton's Plant-Based Tennis Coach Pauri Pandian

This week, we chatted with Pauri Pandian, Head Coach of the men's and women's tennis teams at Wheaton College. A plant-based athlete for going on five years now, Pauri talked to us about protein myths, the unexpected benefits of plant-based eating, and how he fuels his daily workouts.

Can you tell us a little about your background as an athlete and coach?

I grew up playing basketball, soccer, and tennis. I focused exclusively on tennis when I got to high school; playing for the high school team, junior tournaments throughout New England on weekends, and then training in camp clinics throughout the school year and summer. I finished out my playing career by competing all four years for the tennis team at Wesleyan University. After graduating, I became a teaching pro, working with younger kids and teenagers for a number of years, and also coached a high school team in the Boston area. I then spent four years as the Assistant Coach with the Brandeis University men's and women's tennis teams, before becoming the Head Coach of men's and women's tennis at Wheaton College, where I'm in the midst of my second year running the program. 

What motivated you to begin eating a plant-based diet?

After I finished up my first year of work at Brandeis (May of 2012), I knew I needed to make a change. Between being a teaching pro and working with the teams at Brandeis, I was physically drained by the end of the season. For this to be a long-term career, I had to make changes to my get my mind and body better prepared to handle the demands of the job.  A teaching pro friend of mine had recently gone plant-based and said he’d never felt better. I did more research on plant-based athletes, and saw that more and more professional athletes had made this shift across a variety of sports with great results. I decided that I would try it out for two weeks...and I'm still going strong four and a half years later!

How did changing how you eat impact your health and athletic performance?

The biggest physical changes I noticed were increased stamina and energy, and rapid recovery time…which most athletes will tell you are among the most important components of peak performance. I was shocked at how much better I felt, and how quickly it happened. While physically I didn't look all that different (even before going plant-based, I tried to take good care of my body), I had never felt as good as I did after going plant-based. I got to a point where I would bike 10 miles to work, hitting/coaching on the court for anywhere from 4-8 hours, then would bike 10 miles home...all the while having the energy and recovery time to wake up and do it again day after day. I was sleeping better, and felt much more mental clarity. 

Do you encourage your athletes to eat plant-based? If so, why?

I think the big thing I want my players to understand is that what you put in your body has the biggest impact on how you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally. While I do encourage them to eat more plant-based, I understand that everyone is on their own journey with personal health and wellness, and that a person needs to want to make a change in order for it really stick. I've had a few players go fully plant-based, and almost all of them have started eating more plant-based (to varying degrees).

What foods keep you fueled and going before, during, and after your workouts?

I'm a big fan of smoothies in the morning and/or before workouts. A typical one for me has almond milk, bananas, some sort of ground seeds (flaxseed, hempseed, or chia seeds), peanut butter, a handful of greens, and some frozen strawberries in place of ice. During workouts, I'm largely just drinking water, and may snack on dates or bananas if it's particularly hot out or a longer workout. After workouts, I typically have some sweet potatoes, more fruits, and more water. Most people get hung up consuming a ton of protein, without realizing that you don't need all that much, and that your body doesn't process protein efficiently in large quantities. 

A number of our customers struggle with a transition to a plant-based diet - what advice do you have for them?

I often suggest people try and swap out one meal at a time. For example, try to keep your breakfast plant-based for a week, then add in lunch, then add in dinner. Also, if you go fully plant-based for a week, and then have a meal with animal products in it, don't view that as a failure. You just spent a full week plant-based! While some people are able to flip a switch and go 100% plant-based, most people tend to ease into it. You have to figure out the method that works for you, and sometimes it takes a while to figure that out. Stay patient, and know that the fact you're trying to be healthier means you're on the right track.

What surprised you the most after you started eating this way?

I couldn't believe how much better I felt, and how quickly. It made me truly appreciate how much of an impact the food you eat has on how good (or bad) you feel day-to-day. Since going plant-based, I haven't had the common cold, flu, sore throat, etc. at all, and I work on a college campus most of the year, where people around me are sick all the time!

Do you have a philosophy by which you live?

I try to live each day with gratitude, compassion, and purpose. I was blessed to be raised by and have spent so much time around incredible people in my life who have really shaped me as a person. I feel like it's my responsibility to pay it forward and try to make a positive impact on the people around me every day, and I work as hard as I can to do so.

To read more about plant-based athletes, check out our recent interview with Dr. Ruth Heidrich, Ironman triathlete, author, and cancer survivor.

An Interview with Plant-Based Athlete Dr. Ruth Heidrich

By Meg Donahue
on February 14, 2017
3 comments

An Interview with Plant-Based Athlete Dr. Ruth Heidrich

In 1982, Dr. Ruth Heidrich was introduced to a plant-based diet after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Fast forward to 2017 where now, at 81 years young, she is a seasoned raw vegan, cancer survivor, a plant-based athlete (Ironman triathlete!), and author of four books.

We sat down with Ruth this week to hear her story and pick her brain about plant-based living.  

Q: A number of our customers struggle with a transition to a plant-based diet - what advice do you have for them?

A: First, you have to look at your motivation. What is it you are trying to accomplish? Because this transition is considered so "radical" by so many, it does take some determination to "take the road less traveled." Health is frequently the instigator for making the change. In my case, it was easy because when you're diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer, you'll do anything to save your life. So when Dr. John McDougall told me that it was my diet that caused the cancer and that by getting rid of the cause, I could save my life. I was strongly and powerfully motivated. My response was "Tell me what to do and I'll do it!"  When I saw results the very next morning, there was no struggle, just confirmation that I was doing the right thing. Hopefully, everyone who makes the change can see immediate results!

Q: Tell us why you first started to consider changing your diet. What inspired the change? 

A: Because I'd studied nutrition in college, I thought I knew all I needed to know about nutrition. After spending two hours with Dr. McDougall who showed me the science, I was excited about the possibility and in those two hours, became, what is the simplest way to describe it, a plant-based, no-oil, no refined, processed food vegan!

Q: What surprised you the most after you started eating this way?

A: The biggest surprise was how quickly my chronic constipation disappeared. I love it when people ask me how long before I saw results because I break into a wide grin and say, "The next morning!" And the wonderful surprises kept on coming, too. My bone pain disappeared. My liver enzymes normalized. My osteoarthritis, for which I was taking prescribed medication disappeared. My adult acne and dandruff disappeared. I had more energy and my running got faster, and when I decided I was going to train for the Ironman Triathlon, I added swimming and biking -- all with more energy than I had ever experienced before! I had faster recovery times and all my training became fun! Then when I started winning trophies, I had more pleasant surprises!


 

 

 

 

Q: What challenges did you have to overcome to change your diet?

A: The main challenges came from other people, not the least of which were from my oncologist, my family, and my friends. Thank goodness for those early "surprises" because I knew then that I knew what they did not!

Q: What is your biggest fear? 

A: My biggest fear is that enough people will not make the change in time. Those who have heart disease, cancer, COPD, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, kidney disease, and more, either will not be told how to reverse it or those who don't yet have all those diseases or more, will get them for lack of this vital information. I also fear for the environment.  What factory farms and factory fishing are doing to the only place we have to call home is devastating and criminal. The same can be said for the lives of all those fellow sentient beings, those animals others call "food." Billions are mistreated and killed every minute, hour, day, and year.

Q: Do you have a philosophy by which you live?

My main philosophy is gratitude!  Having been so long exposed to what is wrong has motivated me to now look at what is right. Having started the nightly routine of coming up with all my gratitudes has really changed how I see the world.  One of my main gratitudes comes whenever someone reaches out to me and wants more information about how to do this. So my philosophy is to share and the most efficient and effective way is to share my books, videos, and my "Ask Dr. Ruth" column. I feel gratitude then which leads to hope, hope that we all will change in time to lead happy, healthy lives -- and that includes every one of us, even all the animals!


To learn more about Ruth's story, visit her website.

You can also check out her latest book, Lifelong Running: How to Overcome the 11 Myths About Running and Live A Healthier Life at Lantern Books. 

Sniffing out the woo-woo: how to sleuth out pseudo-science

By Ali Donahue
on February 07, 2017

Even though eating a plant-based diet can change your life and health, there’s a heck of a lot of misinformation out there. At MamaSezz, we do the research to give you the facts. We’d rather bust a myth than spread the hype when it comes to nutrition. We like to call it sniffing out the ‘woo-woo.’ And while you can count on us to help answer some of your plant-based health questions, we understand some folks prefer a DIY approach. Next time you’re reading about the latest nutritional claim, we recommended asking yourself these four questions from the T. Colin Campbell Center of Nutrition Studies at Cornell:

  1. Does the study focus only on a single-nutrient?

    When studies hone in on a singular nutrient, take it with a grain of salt (…and pepper, since we’re being inclusive). This isn’t to say the study’s findings aren’t true, but the body is a complex, crazy thing and focusing on one nutrient above all others hasn’t gotten us all that far. All nutrients play a role in our overall health. But in Western culture we tend to canonize or demonize single nutrients.

    Think of the anti-carb mania of the early aughts. Or our obsession with supplements. Both scenarios can actually lead to adverse effects on the body. When folks cut out carbs (which, when unprocessed, fuel your body) and boost their red meat intake, risk for stroke and heart disease sky rockets. And taking too many supplements instead of eating our nutrients poses a whole new set of health risks. Keep in mind the road to a healthy body isn’t typically eating, or not eating, one particular nutrient, but instead, giving your body all the nutrients it needs to thrive.

  2. What kind of study was it?

    To figure out what kind of study you’re reading about, you’ll want to consider:

    • What’s the problem this study intends to solve?
    • What kind of questions are being asked about that problem?
    • What kind of evidence is presented?
    • Was this research conducted on animals or humans? If the experiment cured cancer in mice it doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll do the same for us.
    • If it was a human study, consider where it was conducted. A lot of folks in the U.S. eat the Standard American Diet (SAD), one high in processed foods, unrefined sugars, sodium, and saturated fats. When studies are conducted on folks with the same eating habits, the findings, though compelling for those of us in West, may not be universal.
  3. Who’s behind this study?

    If a blog asserts diabetes can be cured with weekly manicures, then links to a study supporting that claim, click that link and get to sleuthing! Understanding who conducted the study can help us to see if there might be a bias driving the research. Look into not only who conducted the study, but how it was funded. If the study doesn’t come right out and say “Paid for by Big Nail Polish,” try googling the lead scientist or author. Are they the chairman of the Nail Association of America board? If so, could that close affiliation perhaps influence their findings?

  4. Is the study based on fact, judgment, or opinion?

    These are three very different things and they can all influence studies, even those with the best intentions.

    • Scientific facts are objective, verifiable observations that are not relative to the speaker; they’ve been repeated and confirmed as true.
    • Judgments are assertions that may be well reasoned or poorly reasoned and based on more or less evidence. They are not fact, but they have some careful thought behind them.
    • Opinion is a view of judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge

We live in an exciting time! We’ve got so much information at our fingertips and while it can be tricky to suss out the “good” info from the “bad,” asking these four questions is a good place to start.

Have a question about a particular nutrition claim? Let us know and we’ll get to sleuthing.

4 Healthy Swaps for the Plant-Based Rookie

By Ali Donahue
on January 31, 2017

You’ve heard it before: eating a whole-foods plant-based diet is a great way to boost your health. Not only is it linked to a reduced risk of heart diseasetype 2 diabeteshypertension, and other serious chronic illnesses — it also boosts your energy and metabolism. But even though eating this way can change your life and health, it can be hard to get started. If you’re not ready to take the 100% plant-based plunge, we’ve got a few healthy food swaps you can make to test the waters.

  1. Switch cereal for oatmeal

    The truth is most breakfast cereals are loaded with added sugar and refined grains, which spike your blood sugars and insulin levels. Short-term, you experience a blood sugar crash after eating. The crash leaves you feeling sluggish and hungry again soon after, often causing you to overeat at the next meal or snack. Long-term, it increases your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease

    Oatmeal is made from unprocessed whole oats and takes the body longer to digest. With your blood sugars and energy stable, you feel full longer. And, steel cut oats are packed with fiber so they’re a tasty way to regulate digestion. For a balanced breakfast, pair steel cut oats with healthy fats and protein (we like nut butters!).

    No time to prepare breakfast in the morning? Try this overnight oats recipe.

  2. Replace fruit juice with fresh fruit
    An apple a day really does keep the doctor away. Apple juice, however, is a different story. Studies show eating your recommended daily servings of fruit reduces the risk of diabetes significantly, while sipping your fruit increases risk. Why? Well, fruit juice is often stripped of the fruit’s natural fiber. That fiber is not only essential for healthy digestion, it also keeps your blood sugar in check by slowing the absorption of the fruit’s sugar.

    So next time you reach for that morning OJ, try a fruit salad instead.

  3. Use avocado over mayo
    Switch things up by adding avocados to your lunch instead of mayonnaise. California’s magic fruit still adds moisture and fat to your dish without the heaviness of mayo.

    Containing monosaturated fats, AKA “the good fat,” avocados are a heart-healthy alternative, both sodium and cholesterol-free. They’re also filled with nutrients—fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins, and folic acid, to name a few.

    This quick avocado “mayo” recipe makes the perfect condiment to your favorite sandwich.

  4. Munch on nuts over pretzels
    The afternoon slump is real and the only way to persevere is coffee and a snack. It’s science.

    OK, well maybe that’s not actually science but this is: pretzels are nutritionally empty. They don’t contain healthy fat, protein, or fiber — making it so very easy to scarf down an entire bag and still feel hungry.

    Next time you hit the 2pm wall, refuel with a handful of unsalted, raw nuts. They’re sodium-free and packed with protein and healthy fats to re-energize you and leave you feeling satisfied.

How to Stock Your Plant-Based Pantry

By Ali Donahue
on January 24, 2017

Eating plant-based can change your life and health. But if we’re being honest, it can also be a pain in the neck when you’re just starting out. Not only does your dinner plate look different, but your shopping list changes, too. Or even more daunting, maybe you don’t even have a list because you’re not quite sure what a plant-based grocery trip looks like yet.

Don’t panic. We’re here to help you get that pantry in order.


Our advice? Go slow. This isn’t a marathon! You don’t have to throw out everything in your cupboards that doesn’t fit the “plant-based” mold. Instead focus on what to include on those shelves.

Let’s start with the basics:

Nuts and Seeds

While great for snacking on-the-go, there’s a lot more to nuts than trail mix. Did you know cashews are often used as the base for plant-based cream sauces (like in our kid-approved mac and “cheese”)?

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Peanuts
  • Pecans
  • Pistachios
  • Walnuts
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Flax Seeds
  • Pumpkin Seeds

Whole Grains

Unlike refined grains, whole grains are unprocessed and still have all those important nutrients in tact. Try whole grains as a base for stir fries, a hearty addition to soups, or on their own as a fiber-filled side dish.

  • Barley
  • Brown rice
  • Bulgur
  • Millet
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Wild rice

Beans and Lentils

OK, bathroom jokes aside, beans really are a magical fruit. They’re filled with fiber to keep your digestion on track and your tummy happy. Plus, they rank low on the glycemic index, which makes beans a healthy choice for folks with type 2 diabetes. Did we mention there’s about a zillion varieties to choose from? Some of our favorites include:

  • Black beans
  • Chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans)
  • Pinto beans
  • Navy beans (also called Great Northern Beans)
  • Red Lentils
  • Green Lentils

Sweeteners

Good news — you don’t have to deny yourself the sweet things in life to be healthy. You can satisfy your sweet tooth and your blood sugar by sticking to natural sweeteners over refined, processed ones.

  • Agave
  • Maple syrup
  • Dates (or date syrup)
  • Honey

Condiments and Sauces

There’s more to the condiment aisle than ketchup, we promise! Whether you’re looking for a dash of heat or a quick salad dressing, these condiments bring life to your next veggie-inspired dish.

  • Hot sauce
  • Coconut aminos
  • Shoyu
  • Vinegars (apple cider, brown rice, balsamic, red, white)
  • Tamari
  • Mustard
  • Nut butters

***Bonus Round

No plant-based pantry is complete without nutritional yeast. Found at most natural food stores (we recommend buying in bulk), this inactive yeast gives your favorite foods a nutty, cheesy flavor — without the sodium or dairy. Sprinkle on some popcorn for a savory, healthy movie night snack.

Looking to stock your fridge, too? Check out our hearty, plant-based meals or drop us an e-mail with any plant-based shopping questions!

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