Category Archives: General Background

Homemade Two-Pea Burgers (yeast free, sugar free)

Veggie BurgersA few weeks ago I hosted a cookout in celebration of SensitiveHusband’s birthday. We had a really nice time visiting with family and friends. I ordered a few side dishes from our local grocery store so that I didn’t have to feel like I was spending my whole day in the kitchen. The menu turned out great! For appetizers there were cooked shrimp, cheese and crackers, and watermelon. Dinner included fruit salad, Greek salad, pasta salad, hamburgers, hot dogs, and veggie burgers. The meal was topped off with MIL bringing the flourless chocolate cake.

While most of our guests that evening were carnivores, a couple of guests were egg-eating vegetarians. Since I don’t typically purchase veggie burgers at the store, my trip down that aisle left me a bit dazed and confused. There are a lot of commercial veggie burger options available, but which ones taste the best? I decided to solve the matter by making my own. I was inspired by a recipe in Martha Stewart’s May 2015 Living magazine for Green-Pea Burgers with Harissa Mayo. I didn’t make the mayo because I figured that our friends would enjoy the tomato, lettuce, cucumber and condiments available for all the burgers. I swapped out the onion for garlic, and used wheat germ instead of breadcrumbs so that my creation would also be onion and yeast free. I added an extra egg white to get the consistency I wanted when forming the burgers. You may want to add a little olive oil also to east the burger making process. They are delicate to cook but flipped fairly easily in a non-stick skillet with a flexible spatula. The burgers are quite tasty and were well-received by all of the guests at our picnic. These will definitely be part of our cooking repertoire from now on.

Ingredients:
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
Coarse salt
1/2 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 large egg plus 1 egg white, whisked together
3/4 cup wheat germ
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Preparation:
Coarsely chop the peas and chickpeas either with a knife on a cutting board or using a food processor. Transfer to a bowl and stir in garlic, parsley, eggs, and wheat germ. Season with salt. Form into 4 patties, each about 3/4 inch thick.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium. Cook burgers until golden brown, about 4 minutes on each side. Serve with any condiments or toppings you choose.

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CTVegFest and Volunteer Request

There are only a few weeks until the first annual Connecticut Vegetarian and Healthy Living Festival – otherwise known as the CTVegFest. It is being held at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford on April 28-29, 2012.

There is something for everyone to enjoy at the CTVegFest including:
• Enter for free with the donation of a non-perishable vegan/vegetarian food item
• Enjoy free vegan food samples
• Sample free vegan personal care and beauty products
• Speak with natural medicine practitioners
• Take a class with Yoga, Reiki and Meditation instructors
• Learn from vegan chefs during cooking demonstrations
• Understand home improvements to save money, be eco-friendly and reduce your carbon footprint
• Attend a screening of VEGUCATED, the “journey of 3 meat- and potato-loving New Yorkers who take the vegan challenge for 6 weeks”
• Enter raffles and give-aways throughout the event
• Be entertained with performances by local musicians
• Listen to children’s book readings by the authors

For a detailed listing of the events, click here for the Festival’s schedule. You can learn even more by reading my January 28 blog post about the overall goal of the event.

In addition to attending, the CTVegFest coordinators are looking for volunteers. If you are able to volunteer any amount of your time, prior to or during the event, please click here for more information.

I am looking forward to attending and to speaking at the CTVegFest…more details about that will follow.

Enjoy your day!

The VegFest and Recipe Request

Greetings! Back in November I interviewed the founder of Wholesome Creations and mentioned that she was also organizing a healthy living festival. Well, the details are out and I want to share them with you! The Connecticut Vegetarian and Healthy Living Festival is taking place at the Connecticut Convention Center from April 28-29, 2012. It will bring together people who want to live a healthy lifestyle with exhibitors and professionals who can help them achieve their goals. Whether you live in the area or not, there are ways in which you can participate. Below are a few ideas:

1. Save the Date! The festival will be held at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford from April 28-29, 2012. There is no entrance fee (wow!) except for a non-perishable vegan/vegetarian food item to donate to food banks and shelters. What a wonderful way to encourage event attendance and help those who rely on the generosity of others for their meals. You can stay up-to-date on the details of the event by visiting the web site, ctvegfest.org, following @ctvegfest on twitter, and joining the CT VegFest group on Facebook.

2. Participate! The CTVegFest is looking for people who are willing to volunteer – a little bit or a lot – to help make this event a success. Fill out the volunteer form on the web site to explore your options, or join the meeting on February 8, 6pm, at the Holiday Inn Express on Brainard Road in Hartford.

3. Share Recipes that are Great! A vegan (no animal-derived ingredients used) cookbook is being produced as a fundraiser for the festival, and we have been asked for our favorite recipes to be included. You can submit your dish online – I just shared a recipe for Golden Raisin and Apple Stuffing.

The CTVegFest is shaping up to be a great event. As more information becomes available I’ll share it, and I hope to see you there!

Exit Stage Left: Food Pyramid. Enter Stage Right: Food Plate

Earlier this month the U.S. Department of Agriculture released new dietary guidelines for Americans that are demonstrated with the MyPlate icon. The sections of the plate show the recommended food groups with fruits and vegetables taking up half of the plate, and proteins and grains making up the other half.

According to a Wall Street Journal article, the federal government has been offering dietary advice for more than one century. Guidelines in the 1940s focused on the “Daily 8” and in the mid-1950s there were the “Basic 4.” A food wheel icon appeared in the 1980s with the food pyramid icon arriving in 1992. The pyramid was often criticized by nutritionists as confusing and not mentioning the benefits of healthy oils since they were suggested to be used only sparingly.

The mission of the MyPlate campaign is to reduce childhood obesity, which impacts health care costs and worker productivity, and therefore the national economy. The cost of the MyPlate campaign is $2.9 million over the next three years. Contrast that with a Stonyfield Farm blog that mentions in 2008, a leading fast food company spent $1.2 billion on marketing their foods that most likely will not be highlighted in the MyPlate campaign.

The new MyPlate website has some useful tips on what is included in each of the food categories. I found the list of whole grains to be particularly useful. In fact, I think that the new icon is more helpful in understanding the proportions of different food groups on my dinner plate. I would be interested in hearing your opinions on the MyPlate campaign as well! Please leave a comment below or check out this blog on Facebook.

One Thousand Thank-Yous

The sensitiveeconomist blog achieved a milestone today with 1,000 page views! I thank all of you for taking the time to read this blog, to share your insights, and to provide feedback. As a result, you are supporting my journey and that of many others of managing food sensitivities, and I am grateful.

Thanks for sharing your ‘sensitive’ side!

Food Allergy Awareness Week

This week, May 8-14, is Food Allergy Awareness Week (FAAW). And while food allergies can be much more severe than food sensitivities, there is a common theme among the two, which is that people alter some of their food choices and habits in order to stay healthy and comfortable.

In recognition of FAAW, the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network has a special blog filled with great recipes, new research, and tips for staying safe with food allergies. The most common food allergies, according to the Network’s website, are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat.

If you or someone you know has food allergies, the Network’s website is a good resource for information and ideas to stay healthy. Have a good FAAW!

Not sensitive?

Even though my world revolves on being sensitive to 12 different foods (including cane sugar and yeast), I can imagine that some people are sensitive to only a few foods, or some without any.  And I say to you – good for you!  You can eat whatever you want!  However, I know a lot of people who may not necessarily be sensitive to foods but are supposed to watch what they eat for some reason or another.  Some may have to avoid salt, others may have to avoid dairy, and others may be looking for sweeteners with low glycemic indices. Whether you have only mild irritations or severe limitations to your diet, we can all support one another in the quest for good nutrition.

Welcome to Sensitive Economist!

Hi, everyone. Welcome to my first foray into the blogosphere. My name is Alissa, and by day I am an economist. I really enjoy analyzing data and figuring out the implications of various trends. However, every day I manage a number of food sensitivities. For the past three months I have learned much about digestion, nutrients from food, and food substitutes, and am excited to share my findings with you. I also look forward to discussing the ways that you too are incorporating new foods or avoiding old ones from your daily life. We can even talk about the economy too! So I hope you join me on this journey of living with food sensitivities. Come find your sensitive side!