Friday, July 14, 2023
You won’t find too many people who will argue with the benefits of eating more plants and whole grains. People want to be healthy, but they don’t want to be condemned to eating a bunch of bland foods to be healthy. We no longer eat solely for survival. Good delicious foods are one of the great pleasures of life and most people are not willing to give it up. Even if doing so will greatly increase their health and extend their life.
I have cracked the code to cooking delicious whole food plant-based meals with the help of Samin Nosrat, the author of Salt Fat Acid Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking.
Nosrat declares that the keys to good cooking and satisfying delicious foods are to balance the four dimensions of cooking and that’s of course are your salts, fats, acids and heat. This is for all cooking and whole food plant-based cooking is no exception.
Is the mineral, sodium chloride and comes from saltwater bodies like oceans and some lakes. It plays a vital role in cooking by enhancing flavors and balancing tastes. Salt even affects the texture and preservation of food.
Yes, actual salt like: sea salt, kosher salt, black salt and pink Himalayan salt can be used in WFPB. cooking, but you are not limited to only salt.
It's important to note that excessive salt consumption can have negative health effects, such as increased blood pressure. Use salt in moderation and be mindful of your individual dietary needs and preferences. If you have a chronic illness such as high blood pressure or you are watching your sodium content, consider using other items on the salt list or balance your dishes with acid instead of salt. Work with your doctor and/or dietitian to find the right salt balance for you and your health.
Fat makes food taste as good. PERIOD!
To have deliciously satisfying food, fat is a dimension that should not be missed in many dishes. In the context of a whole food plant-based diet, the term "fat" refers to the naturally occurring fats found in nature. Sources of fats are avocados, nuts, seeds, and coconut. Often in plant-based cooking, people turn to oils to cook to saute their foods. However, since a WFPB diet does not use overly processed or highly refined foods, you will not find olive oil on a list for the WFPB fat source list of foods, but you will find olives on the list. There is much debate about whether oils are healthy or not. Follow what feels good to your body, after all, I myself am a Flexitarian. However, a whole food plant-based diet does not allow it and if you are looking to follow the diet to its true definition, oils are not included.
Click here for a full List of WFPB Fat Sources
Foods that are acids have a pH below 7. Acids that usually have a sour or tangy taste, but when used in cooking, can really brighten and balance out the other flavors in a dish. Intuitively, we use acids all the time to brighten up our foods, when we add tomatoes to a sandwich or a zest of lemon to a pasta dish.
To cook delicious low-sodium meals, use acids to balance out flavors along with heat (not to make it hot, but to enhance flavor) and fats. Creatively using acids can transform your bland dishes into delicious WFPB meals that are low in sodium and high packed with flavor.
Common acids used in cooking include:
But there are many others that may surprise you and really open up the culinary world of whole food plant-based cooking.
Click here for the full list of WFPB Acid ingredients
Heat is where I take a different turn from Samin Nosrat. I absolutely agree with Nosrat that knowing how to use heat as an “element of transformation” is extremely important in cooking. However, I want to talk about how the picante heat enhances flavor in dishes instead of the caliente heat. I am huge fans of Ann and Jane Esselstyn on YouTube. In one video, Ann and Jane had an oatmeal cook off and Ann won with her savory oatmeal made with a tinge of sriracha. She declared in the video that it doesn’t make it hot, it just adds flavor.
Adding sriracha, just a little bit of heat, added flavor and took the dish to a whole new level. I started to experiment with this and other dishes, especially soups, dips and sauces. Adding a little bit of spice does not make it a hot dish, it makes it a flavorful one.
To add heat to your dishes, add hot sauce, hot peppers, cayenne pepper, etc. to your dishes. Start with a small amount and add a little bit at a time. You will notice that the difference and that the dish is flavorful and not hot.
Click here for a list of spicy ingredients to enhance your WFPB cooking
Use a combination of these ingredients to enhance and maximize the flavor of your whole food plant-based cooking.
For more on delicious whole food plant-based cooking...
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Eat delicious wfpb soul food that is both healthy and super delicious. A whole food plant-based diet is the only diet proven to reverse heart disease and chronic illnesses.