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Vegan for the Holidays

Vegan for the Holidays has sold out its first printing.
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Vegetarians in Paradise
Vegetarian Reading


Each issue the VIP birds will endeavor to soar to the highest literary peak to peck out the most unique, informative, and accomplished book that contributes to vegetarian enlightenment. In this issue we examine the work of three authors who have joined together to create a remarkable book extolling the merits of flax.

FLAX: The Super Food!

By Barb Bloomfield, Judy Brown, and Siegfried Gursche

Book Publishing Company, 2000

$9.95 Paperback

Flax Book The three seasoned authors of Flax: The Super Food! have combined their talents to create an exceptional cookbook that may open the doors to healing and preventing many diseases that plague the health-threatened populations of highly developed countries.

The first twenty-one pages pack a concise, powerful message about the valuable role flax seeds can play in everyone's health today. Over 80 unique recipes, including comfort foods such as pancakes, waffles, and muffins, fill the remainder of this handy paperback.

One of the authors, Siegfried Gursche, who is the publisher of Alive Magazine and Alive Books, has become highly knowledgeable about flax through many years of studying flax farming and pressing techniques around the world.

From his numerous observations of flax oil pressing techniques, Mr. Gursche offers the consumer these suggestions:

  • When reading store labels on flax seed oil, one should look for the words "cold expeller-pressed" as well as "unrefined," to insure that the product retains its natural health benefits.
  • The author warns that flax oil is so volatile one should not purchase it after six months past the pressing date that appears on the label.

The book is well researched with numerous citations from studies and medical journal articles that have found flax effective in lowering blood cholesterol, preventing the growth of new cancer cells, and relieving constipation, intestinal and digestive problems.

Mr. Gursche shares a brief history of flax, discusses the role of fiber, and notes the effectiveness of mucilage in flax seeds in relieving constipation. Mucilage is also helpful in restoring intestinal flora after long courses of antibiotics. There's even a useful chart listing the many benefits and the biochemical effects of consuming flax seeds and flax oil .

In this brief introduction, we learned that the author traveled to Germany and met with Dr. Johanna Budwig, scientist and nutritionist, who did extensive work in isolating, analyzing,, and identifying different fatty acids. Claiming that trans-fatty acids from the hydrogenation of vegetable oils is harmful to humans, she was prosecuted by margarine manufacturers, the medical profession, and the government, but was victorious in 21 court cases.

Barb Bloomfield and Judy Brown, established cookbook authors, introduce a bounty of quick, make-at-home, vegan recipes that demonstrate the ease of incorporating flax seeds, flax seed meal, and flax oil into familiar foods such as Hash Browns, Broccoli Slaw, and even Fresh Salsa.

We decided to whip up a few dishes to learn if they are truly as easy as they appear and to apply the ultimate taste test. The intriguing sound of Escatcha, a Sicilian stuffed bread, was too irresistible to pass up, and so we began our adventure. Since this was a spontaneous project, we scoured our pantry and were delighted that everything was on hand and that none of the ingredients were out of the ordinary. Escatcha, that includes 1/2 cup of ground flax seeds, gets top rating. The hardest part was waiting the 45 minutes of baking time while tempting aromas wafted throughout the kitchen.

We especially appreciated the nutritional data at the bottom of each recipe and discovered that our stuffed bread provided seven grams of fiber per serving. Another dish we enjoyed was the Curried Black-eyed Peas, effortless to prepare and quite delightful. Spinach Salad with Miso Dressing provided a lively, refreshing opening to our meal.

Flax Other temptations included Mushroom-Walnut Pate, Mock Tuna Salad, Lentil Soup with Greens, and Tamale Stuffed Peppers. We simply couldn't devour that large a feast that day but will certainly include those dishes in future cooking binges.

The small section "Side Dishes" is bound to stir interest with recipes for Knishes filled with seasoned potatoes, and Spaghetti Balls fashioned from textured soy protein granules seasoned with herbs.

While the dessert section provides some tempting familiar favorites, vegans may want to substitute the sugar in recipes such as Apple Cobbler, Crescent Poppy Seed Cookies, and Chocolate Cake.

If you're looking for a specific recipe or ingredient, you can count on an excellent index, a bonus in any cookbook.

The book contains no fancy graphics, no color photos or original illustrations, just good solid recipes that have obviously been well tested and proven successful, wholesome, and, of course, well endowed with beneficial flax in one form or another. The three authors have certainly complemented each other's talents with Flax: The Super Food, a book that may have profound benefits to all who are pro-active about their health and who embrace flax, the ancient seed with newly discovered benefits.

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