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The Full Yield Blog


November 10, 2010 | Tags: Featured , Food , Fruit , Vegetables | Post comment


In the past two months, we’ve been the best kind of busy, planning and preparing our new launches for 2011:  new program offerings, new food products, new website functionality for our program members, additional partnerships, and all of it to be available nationally to consumers, patients, employees and eaters everywhere. 

We’ve enrolled 1200 program members and they have taken our central message to heart: the quality of the food you eat has everything to do with the quality of your life, day after day and year after year.  They’ve learned to eat differently and to cook differently---or, in many cases, to cook---and they know that what you make yourself is the most health-supporting, the best tasting, and the most economical.  

Our members tell us every day that they love their newfound energy, their recovered taste buds, their lost weight and no-longer-necessary medications, and their biometrics tell the same story: analysis of the three- and six-month biometric improvements among our members are both clinically and statistically significant.  We fully expected this, but it’s something to shout out from the rooftops nonetheless.  FOOD IS IT!

In celebration of home cooking, this week we’ve launched our new partnership with award-winning cookbook author Deborah Madison, the founding chef of the famously sophisticated vegetarian restaurant Greens, in San Francisco.  Widely regarded as the Julia Child of vegetarian cooking, New York Times columnist Mark Bittman, author of How to Cook Everything, has said Deborah is "one of very few people responsible for reinventing and furthering the cause of American home cooking."  

While not a vegetarian herself, Deborah focuses on vegetarian cooking because vegetables are her favorite food group.  And because The Full Yield’s prescribed dietary pattern is 50% vegetables and fruits, we find her recipes especially useful.  High-quality proteins, whether from animal and/or plant sources, are also an essential part of a health-supporting diet.
Each week Deborah will be posting a health-supporting, Full Yield-approved recipe on our website for both our members and the public. Please enjoy her first recipe posting, Red Bean and Winter Squash Stew, which brings together autumn’s rich flavors, nutrients and colors. For our members, she will also be making guest appearances in our workshops and contributing to our up-and-coming new cooking videos and cooking glossary.

I asked Deborah to share her story with you and here it is:

I was first raised on a dairy farm in Upstate New York, but when my father got a job teaching at UC Davis, I became a Californian. That meant living in and nearby walnut orchards, apricot orchards, having a great back yard garden and basically lots of good fruits and vegetables to eat.

I started cooking as a teenager —with crepes. Then I moved onto bread and eventually started cooking everything. But vegetables – and vegetable dishes have always been my favorite foods, and also my area of expertise for I lived in the (vegetarian) Zen Center in San Francisco for almost twenty years, where I often cooked, and also was the founding chef of Greens restaurant, also in San Francisco, which is still going strong after 31 years. Not only was Greens vegetarian, it also had a farm-driven menu, and this in 1979!

When I started cooking at the Zen Center, vegetarian food was earnest but considered, and rightfully so I’m afraid, brown, drab, and heavy, laden with groats and legumes that were hard to digest. While our intentions for more wholesome food may have been utterly sincere, the truth was that young kids in the l960s didn’t have a clue how to cook the foods we deemed so important. With Greens, I was determined that the food break that stodgy old mold and be not only vegetarian, but also bright, pretty, appealing and delicious. And of course, good for us. After all, there’s no reason why food shouldn’t appeal to all our senses—tongue and eye as well as the health of our bodies.

Since leaving Greens some years ago, I’ve opened other restaurants, written 11 cookbooks, taught cooking, given talks and written a lot about food and farming for countless magazines and newspapers. When I learned about The Full Yield I was impressed by its content and struck by the similarity of our missions—to offer people a sound yet delicious alternative to those foods that do not further our best health. I felt that many of my recipes as well as my basic approach of cooking with whole foods, might be a good fit, so I’m happy to be able to offer a weekly recipe to you.  

As is true in my own life, the recipes I offer will be seasonal in nature as that makes the best sense. We nearly always hunger for seasonal foods, they have best flavor, and are the best priced. And one thing I’ve learned is that the better the food you start with, the better your finished dish will be, and with the least effort involved. I also gravitate, when possible towards foods from my farmers market, garden, or CSA as among the most rewarding to cook with. And I encourage everyone to grow something —from a pot of micro greens to parsley to some lettuce. No matter how small the contribution, nothing feels better than the using what you’ve raised—the rewards are innumerable!