Does a Plant-based Diet Really Help Animals?

I am happy to say that multiple reports seem to indicate that there is an increased awareness of veganism. More and more people are changing their diets are eating a plant-based diet or are eating less meat. But is eating a plant-based diet helping animals? This was discussed in an article today on National Public Radio's website. Here's a link to that article: http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/2015/03/12/392479865/does-being-vegan-really-help-animals

As we discussed a while back, Beyoncé has teamed up with a vegan food delivery service, 22 Days Nutrition. The premise here is that it takes three weeks (21 days) to break a habit. On the 22nd day, you are theoretically free and clear of your old habits and are able to embrace the changes that you've made. Jane and I have not tried this service, but many others have. LAist.com discusses their experience with the service: http://laist.com/2015/03/11/beyonce_22_days_nutrition.php

We had dinner at Sage Vegan Bistro last night. Pretty tasty. If you are in LA, you might want to head over to either of their two locations, Echo Park or Culver City, and check it out. Here's a link to their website: http://www.sageveganbistro.com

Recipe: Cauliflower tacos

Pop Sugar presents the creators of Thug Kitchen as they offer up cauliflower tacos

http://www.popsugar.com/food/Thug-Kitchen-Vegan-Cauliflower-Tacos-Recipe-37051689

Plant-based Diet Promoted by USDA

Move over Meatless-Monday. A school in California is about to become the first school to offer an all-vegan cafeteria for school meals. This is a private school. We had touched upon this some time ago. The MUSE School in Calabasas, California, will complete a transition to an all-vegan menu beginning in the fall. Here's a link to the article to learn more about this.

A lot of people think it's tough to go vegan. This is especially true of vegetarians who often claim that's really tough to kick the cheese addiction. Going vegan is easier to go vegan than you might think.  Here's an article that discusses a few simple habits to help you go vegan.

Feeling blue? Need to improve your mood? An article in US News & World Report (of all places) describes how eating a plant based diet help to improve your mood. There's nothing new here, but it's nice to see more and more articles on veganism in the mainstream media. Here a link to that article.

A news story from The Today Show talks about the importance of a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. It notes that the team at Imperial College London told a meeting of the American Heart Association.People who got 70 percent or more of their food from fruits, vegetables and grains had a 20 percent lower risk of dying from heart diseases.

But the biggest news of the day comes from the USDA and their 2015 dietary report. No surprises here though. They indicate that Americans eat too many processed foods and not enough fruits and vegetables. The report is promoting a diet that is primary plant-based. It states, a diet higher in plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and lower in calories and animal-based foods is more health promoting and is associated with less environmental impact than is the current U.S. diet.

The major findings regarding sustainable diets were that a diet higher in plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and lower in calories and animal-based foods is more health promoting and is associated with less environmental impact than is the current U.S. diet. This pattern of eating can be achieved through a variety of dietary patterns, including the Healthy U.S.-style Pattern, the Healthy Mediterranean-style Pattern, and the Healthy Vegetarian Pattern. All of these dietary patterns are aligned with lower environmental impacts and provide options that can be adopted by the U.S. population. Current evidence shows that the average U.S. diet has a larger environmental impact in terms of increased greenhouse gas emissions, land use, water use, and energy use, compared to the above dietary patterns. This is because the current U.S. population intake of animal-based foods is higher and plant-based foods are lower, than proposed in these three dietary patterns. Of note is that no food groups need to be eliminated completely to improve sustainability outcomes over the current status.

It's not all just intake, it's also activity level:

[There is] strong evidence supporting the importance of regular physical activity for health promotion and disease prevention in the U.S. population. Physical activity is important for all people—children, adolescents, adults, older adults, women during pregnancy and the postpartum period, and individuals with disabilities. The findings further provide guidance on the dose of physical activity needed across the lifecycle to realize these significant health benefits.

Future Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committees will be asked to carefully review the most recent evidence so that the Federal government can fully update the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Given the exceedingly low physical activity participation rates in this country, it will be critically important for the next Committee to identify proven strategies and approaches to increase population-level physical activity across the lifespan.

How can things improve, they suggest:

It will take concerted, bold actions on the part of individuals, families, communities, industry, and government to achieve and maintain the healthy diet patterns and the levels of physical activity needed to promote the health of the U.S. population. These actions will require a paradigm shift to an environment in which population health is a national priority and where individuals and organizations, private business, and communities work together to achieve a population-wide “culture of health” in which healthy lifestyle choices are easy, accessible, affordable, and normative—both at home and away from home. In such a culture, health care and public health professionals also would embrace a new leadership role in prevention, convey the importance of lifestyle behavior change to their patients/clients, set standards for prevention in their own facilities, and help patients/clients in accessing evidence-based and effective nutrition and comprehensive lifestyle services and programs.

Vegan diet benefits obese children, Cleveland Clinic study shows

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Obese children with high cholesterol who followed a strict vegan diet with little added fat in a small Cleveland Clinic study showed significant improvements in both weight and heart disease risk factors in only a month, according to research released Thursday.

The children, ages 9 to 18, were mostly white and middle class, and volunteered to try one of two healthy eating plans. Two groups of 14 children were randomly assigned, along with a parent, to eat either a plant-based, no fat-added diet (PB) or the American Heart Association (AHA) diet, which is similar but permits non-whole grains, low-fat dairy, selected plant oils, and lean meat and fish in moderation.

After a month, the children in both groups had lost weight and seen improvement in myeloperoxidase (MPO), a blood test that measures inflammation related to heart disease risk. The kids eating the vegan diet, however, also showed significant improvements in systolic blood pressure, body mass index, total cholesterol, total low density lipoprotein (LDL, long referred to as "bad cholesterol"), c-reactive protein (another marker of inflammation), and insulin levels compared to their baseline.

The study, published online today in the Journal of Pediatrics, was too small to allow a head-to-head comparison of the two diets, but the results are "suggestive," of an added benefit both for weight and heart health on the stricter vegan diet, said Dr. Michael Macknin, the study's lead author and a pediatrician at the Clinic.

"It was exciting to see," Macknin said. "If they can eat like this, the hope is that they can grow into adults who do not have the risk factors for cardiovascular disease. What this is is hope for the future."

He believes the study provides a good reason to look further into vegan, no-added-fat and plant-based diets as a prescription for preventing future health problems for overweight and obese children and adolescents.

Vegetarian diets have long been supported for heart health in adults, but have been little studied in children, primarily because health concerns such as high blood pressure, cholesterol and inflammation were once unheard of in kids. Now, with obesity affecting nearly 18 percent of children aged 6-11 years and 21 percent of adolescents, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and prediabetes have become common.

All the children in the study had high cholesterol, a risk factor for heart disease, heart attacks and stroke.

"We know that cardiovascular disease begins in childhood, so the concern is that the high cholesterol may put them at risk for subsequent heart attack," Macknin said. "We'd like to lower it now to prevent the risk later on. That's one of the joys of being a pediatrician: You actually have a chance to prevent disease rather than treat it."

The main drawback of the vegan diet used in the study is how difficult it may be for some families to follow -- not being able to easily shop for food that met the PB diet was the only significant complaint of people in the study.

That being said, the families that participated didn't feel the food was bland, boring or unappetizing, found it easy to stay on the diet and find options at restaurants, and were satisfied with what they had to eat, Macknin said.

"Which I thought was -- unscientifically -- surprising," Macknin said. "I was amazed that they found it as acceptable as they did. Part of that could be that they we took a highly motivated group that volunteered."

It may also have had something to do with the short length of the study, a limitation that jumped out at Lisa Cimperman, a registered dietitian at University Hospitals Case Medical Center.

"It's only four weeks," she said. "That's when I start thinking -- how doable is this long-term? The true test of any change in eating pattern is how easy it is to stick with it over time."

Macknin isn't sure if the families maintained the diets, but he's pretty sure they relaxed some of the requirements as soon as they could. "It was rigorous -- they didn't add oils and we discouraged them from even adding nuts and avocados," he said.

Being able to stick to a diet this strict over the long haul is probably its biggest drawback, Macknin said. But, he added, "I'm confident that we've changed eating patterns. They know how to eat well now. They took cooking classes. They learned how to read labels, so they know how to pick out healthy foods. I'm quite confident it changed their overall eating patterns."

Cimperman said vegan diets for kids are "absolutely possible to do" but recommends that any parent considering it sit down with a doctor or nutrition expert first to plan out a healthy diet. Cimperman and Macknin said it's important to pay attention to levels of particular nutrients such as vitamin B-12, vitamin D, calcium, iron and omega-3 fats, in vegetarian or vegan diets.

"Overall, we know that plant-based diets are beneficial for chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and obesity," Cimperman said. "So it's a pretty rational jump to think that maybe these diets would be helpful to children who are obese."

It would take some significant changes in our eating and shopping habits and in our overall food culture to support a shift toward a more plant-based diet, Macknin acknowledges.

"The average American teenager has one fruit and one vegetable a day, and a lot of the vegetables are French fries," he said. "So it would be a big change for most people. For this to become increasingly popular it would involve a different way of thinking about how we eat."

While the participants said that the cost of the diet was not problematic, fresh fruits and vegetables and plant-based foods can be more expensive and more difficult for people shopping on a fixed or lower income to buy.

But, Macknin said, if you're cutting meat and dairy out of your diet, you're likely saving money that way. And, said Cimperman, a low-cost vegan or plant-based diet can require a lot of coupon-cutting, planning, and searching for the best prices and markets, but it may save a lot of costs down the road.

"It can take a lot of time to plan these diets, but the upshot is that no one has time to be sick, either," she said. "So you can either decide to take the time in up front with your nutrition and exercise habits, or you put the time in on the back end with health problems."

She also wants people to know that if you can't cut out all animal products, just making small changes in your diet can help.

"We know for sure that simply increasing your intake of plant-based foods and cutting back on animal-based foods, particularly high-fat foods, is enormously beneficial," she said. "You can take small steps to get a little closer to this eating pattern. Any progress is better than none."

 

source: Cleveland.com

Beyoncé has teamed up with 22 Days Nutrition…

Beyoncé has teamed up with 22 Days Nutrition...

However, I am unable to access their website. On my computer and on my phone, I am blocked with the following message".. This web site at 22daysnutrition.com has been reported as malicious and has been blocked by your Internet Service Provider..."  Maybe you'll have better luck than I did.

I was able to see some of their products on Amazon, here's a link: 22 Days on Amazon

Anyway, here's the article from Business Insider:

Beyoncé has partnered with her trainer Marco Borges to launch a new vegan meal delivery service.

The company is called 22 Days Nutrition after the belief that it takes 21 days to break a bad habit.

All meals will be 100% plant-based and delivered once a week. All ingredients will be non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free and organic.

Prices will range from $9.76 to $16.50 each.

Beyonce herself has dabbled in veganism before. She and her husband Jay-Z famously adopted the diet for 22 days in the winter of 2013 and she has since made an effort to include more plant-based foods in her diet.

"All you have to do is try. If I can do it, anyone can," Beyonce said in a press release.

"We all know the importance and value of eating plant-based foods but often times find ourselves trapped in a series of bad habits that sabotage optimum wellness," says co-founder Borges. "The Vegan Meal Delivery program makes it easier to reset your habits with healthy and delicious plant-based foods."

22 Days Nutrition dishes include a sesame cabbage lentil bowl, ratatouille pasta with pesto, curried fried rice with vegetables, and an almond blueberry breakfast loaf. You can sign up online here.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/beyonce-22-days-nutrition-on-demand-vegan-meal-delivery-service-2015-2#ixzz3Qjdq2etG

 

 

 

Millennium Restaurant in SF Closing

millennium-restaurant-san-francisco-signMost people LOVE Millennium in SF. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion... I took Jane there for her birthday last year. We both were quite disappointed.

Today, Millennium announced that they will be closing their restaurant in April as their lease is expiring and the new owners are not interested in having Millennium as a tenant in the future.  Here's Millennium's letter to the public:

After more than 20 years in business, and with the end of our lease, we will serve our last meal as Millennium at 580 Geary St on April 30, 2015. We are so grateful to our co-workers, family, farmers & friends who have made the experience of running this restaurant unforgettable.

The Hotel California was recently sold to Pineapple Hospitality, a
Seattle company. They will be doing an extensive renovation and we have been notified that they do not wish to continue to have a restaurant as part of their hotel.

After 20+ years Larry and Ann Wheat, the principal owners of Millennium, have decided to retire from the restaurant business after Millennium closes on or about May 1, 2015. They have made a significant contribution to the success of Millennium and consider it their contribution to the vegetarian movement. They have said that they will miss the staff and customers they have met over the years.

Eric Tucker, Millennium’s executive chef since inception and co-owner of Millennium, will be opening a restaurant with Millennium’s General Manager Alison Bagby. They have worked together for the past 8.5 years and will continue to serve organic plant based cuisine. In Eric’s words, “we want to keep this thing going”. They are currently evaluating potential locations and looking for investors. While the prospect of closing is a sad one, they both see this as an opportunity to improve upon Millennium’s dining room and location.

The cost of running a restaurant in San Francisco, using the best ingredients possible and making the entire menu from scratch daily, combined with our shared affinity for the East Bay have us leaning in that direction but we are also actively looking in San Francisco.

To everyone who has become part of the Millennium family–we could not have done what we did for so long without you—THANK YOU.

Please visit us in the next 3 months and stay tuned for Eric’s
Kickstarter campaign. If you are interested in investing, please contact us at betarestaurants@gmail.com

Gratefully Yours,
The Millennium Family

Millennium Restaurant: 580 Geary Street, at Jones, San Francisco. (415) 345-3900. millenniumrestaurant.com.

How do I become vegan?

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I've heard from many people motivated to become vegan by animal welfare issues. Health and the environment are other reasons to discuss, but this week, about halfway through my month chronicling my vegan ways, I’m going to turn to some practicalities.

Just how hard is it to become a vegan? If you’re new to it, where do you start? I’ve gotten some advice from readers, and I’ve reached out to a few people.

My friend and neighbor, Sarah Newman, tried being a vegan many years ago while training for a triathlon. It didn’t stick then, but now she is a healthy vegan and offered me some tips.

She says cooking vegan motivates her creativity. An example? Truffles made with ground Medjool dates, nut butter, cacao powder and nibs, salt and cinnamon. Mix ingredients, roll into balls, and refrigerate.

Yes, the good news is that chocolate can be vegan. Just read the label.

The first step is to shop for foods you can use in vegan recipes. Try new fruits and vegetables, unfamiliar grains. Or, if the idea of cooking makes you want to run to In-N-Out, try vegan burgers and other foods from the store’s freezer section. But remember, vegan does not equal healthful; French fries are vegan.

Another way to start to change, if you’re not ready for full-on veganism, is the Meatless Monday idea. It’s a campaign that’s been going for years, and has grown to include institutions such as the San Diego and Los Angeles unified school districts. The campaign recalls those from the World Wars when patriotic Americans were asked to cut back on meat by 15%, which is roughly one day a week.

Another path is to find a website or an online community for support and ideas, said Diana Rice, a dietitian and spokeswoman for the Monday Campaigns. Meatlessmonday.com has vegetarian and vegan recipes, including some that children can cook, she said.

Jennie Cook, a Los Angeles caterer, told me about a couple of blogs that have vegan recipes, including some of hers: Ohsheglows.com and maplespice.com.

For a family, try meals that are a bit do-it-yourself, such as tacos or burgers – perhaps some vegan, some not – or two stir fries, one with chicken, one with tofu.

“As you get comfortable, find new ingredients. Reach out, try new things,” said Kristy Turner, whose new book speaks to anyone who might be uncertain of the terrain. “But I Could Never Go Vegan” has 125 recipes, with ingredients such as jackfruit -- which can be found canned in supermarkets and has a bland taste on its own, and can be used instead of shredded meat -- or cheese made from nuts.

“The way I see it, cheese is a thing in its own right. It’s not necessarily connected to dairy. You can make cheese from nut milk, just the way that you make it from dairy milk. It’s just cultured, it’s the same sort of thing,” Turner, a former restaurant fromagier, said in an interview on Wednesday.

Other examples: bacon made from tempeh or black beans, tacos with mushrooms rather than meat.

Some tips from Turner, who has been vegan for 3 1/2 years: Try to make a vegan version of a familiar dish. And don’t beat yourself up if you slip and eat cheese.

“It’s not about perfection. It’s about compassion for yourself and the planet and for animals. Trying to be the best you can be. You don’t have to be perfect,” she said.

People who are going vegan for good, or even for a few weeks, should make sure they’re getting their nutritional needs met for such things as iron and vitamin B12, which Americans typically get from animal foods, Rice said. If you don’t feel well, you are less likely to maintain the diet, she said.

She also suggested not relying too much on processed foods, even vegan ones. “Vegan bars are fine in moderation, but don’t make it the basis of your diet,” she said.

I had dinner on Monday night with friends, worried that the host, my friend Judy Rudzki, would be insulted if I didn’t eat what she cooked, but I was reluctant to ask her to make anything with me particularly in mind. The culinary gods were in my corner, however. There was hummus, and a vegan lentil and squash soup that was fabulous. I did as well over the weekend, when we went to Sacramento for a family bar mitzvah and the buffet table included a green salad and a lovely casserole of quinoa, greens and chickpeas.

source: LA Times

 

Vromage Shop

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This is a vegan mozzarella and tomato hero.

vromage goat chive vegan cheese

This is vegan goat chive cheese.

Do I have your attention?

There is a new vromage shop in Los Angeles. Vromage, get it? Fromage, French for cheese, but the V is for vegan. A vegan cheese shop. For those of you who aren't in LA, Vromage will be shipping orders too! We haven't been there yet, but when we do, we'll let you know.

Youssef Fakhouri, L.A.'s God of Vegan Cheeses from Voice Media Group on Vimeo.

What is Vromage?
For years, people have sought out a dairy-free alternative to a staple in the human diet: cheese. The finest of which have been cultivated and crafted, fermented and perfected. And now, finally, there is a cheese for that's as good for you as it is for the animals. Vromage offers superior-quality artisan cheeses made from nuts and aged to perfection. They are arguably the best substitutes for dairy cheese available. And they're available now!

vromage goat cranberry vegan cheese

Who Created Vromage?
Youssef Fakhouri has been refining his product since he began at le Vegan in Los Angeles in 2009. After years of passionate persistence, his product has evolved into the diverse masterpiece that it is today. 

vromage feta vegan cheese

The store is open from Wednesday to Sunday 11:30am-7:30pm except holidays. Open Monday and Tuesday for wholesale by reservation. Group reservations welcome. Come in and say hello!

Telephone:
917-450-0855

Address:
7988 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90046

vromage veganzola vegan cheese

This is veganzola.

 

I think I'll be making a pilgrimage to Vromage pretty soon.

Oatmeal every day….

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Eating a small bowl of oatmeal may be the secret to a longer life, a large new study suggests.

Harvard University researchers reviewed two large studies that followed more than 100,000 people who were periodically quizzed about what they ate and how they lived for more than 14 years. It turns out the folks who ate at least 33 grams of whole grains daily -- equivalent to a bowl of oatmeal -- cut their risk of premature death by 9 percent compared to those who barely ate whole grains at all, according to findings published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The risk of dying from heart disease was slashed by 15 percent, though eating whole grains didn't seem to lower the risk of dying from cancer, the study showed.

"Whole grains may protect the heart by lowering blood sugar and insulin levels," said Qi Sun, an assistant professor with the Harvard School of Public Health and one of the study's authors. "This type of property could improve insulin resistance to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes."

Sun added that weight loss and other healthy nutrients may add to the health benefits of whole grains. He also said the studies may not have yielded enough information about cancer to draw any conclusions. Previous studies have demonstrated a lower risk of colorectal cancers with high consumption of foods made from grains where the germ and bran have been left intact, he noted.

Though the study teased out factors such as family history, lifestyle, smoking and other dietary habits, it did have some limitations. Sun said that for one, it was an observational study versus a controlled trial. Additionally, the biggest difference in death risk was between the two extremes -- those who ate a lot of whole grains versus those that ate very little -- but wasn't much different for those who ate somewhere in between.

However, Sun pointed out that each additional 28-gram increase in whole grains per day led to even greater protection.

"It could be a dose response where you have to eat a certain amount to get the benefits and going above that would be even better," he said.

source: abcnews.com

Veganuary

veganuary   A global campaign known as Veganuary asks people to make a New Year’s pledge to give up all meat, eggs and dairy for the entire month of January. The movement is the brainchild of British husband and wife team Matthew Glover and Jane Land. Inspired by Movember, a viral campaign that asks men to grow facial hair to raise awareness for men’s health issues, the couple said they decided to start something similar last year to encourage people to go vegan.

“We wanted to do something organized that would support people in their efforts to go vegan and give them information they needed to do it,” Glover said.

Veganism is one of the strictest forms of vegetarianism. The practice does not allow for eating any food of animal origin including fish, eggs, milk, honey or animal gelatin. Leather, wool, fur, and silk are also off limits, as are any soaps, cosmetics, toiletries and household goods derived from animal products. Glover said there are lots of reasons someone might want to go vegan. He and Land decided to do it after watching a PETA video on the mistreatment of cows and chickens.

Veganism is also better for the planet, Glover asserted. Research shows vegans have a carbon footprint that is less than one-third of someone who eats the average American diet, he added.

And then there is the weight-loss aspect. Research shows that people who eat vegan tend to weigh less on average. But registered dietitian Cynthia Sass of New York said that only holds true if you don’t practice junk food veganism. “The aim is to eat at least five fruits and vegetables a day plus lots of whole grains plus a good plant-based protein like beans or lentils with every meal,” Sass advised. Glover said 3,300 people from all over the world signed up for the pledge last year, with half saying they would continue with the plan after the month was up. To make it easier for the 7,000 people who’ve already made the pledge this year, Glover said the Veganuary website acts as a hub for practical information. “We found that people didn’t necessarily want to know more about why they should go vegan. They wanted more information on how to do it,” he said. Rachel McChrystal, the program director for New York’s Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, a Veganuary sponsor, said the campaign has done a great job helping guide people to veganism. But there's nothing like getting to know the animals that usually wind up as a food source to convince people to give up their carnivorous ways, she added. “Being hugged by a turkey is pretty much the best vegan conversion anyone can have,” she said.   source: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/veganuary-vegan-full-month/story?id=27924338

O Olive Oil

20141107_131716Jane and I have always enjoyed dipping good bread in olive oil and balsamic. A few years ago we were introduced to Dukkah: a mix of ground roast nuts and spices, originating in Egypt, and used as a dip. You add a bit of olive oil and balsamic to your plate and then a small spoonful of dukkah (you can find our recipe below) and dip away. We've adopted this as a regular nosh for ourselves.

So when we were contacted by O Olive Oil and asked if we'd like to sample their products, we said, "absolutely."

We received a very nice package containing two olive oils and four vinegars. The first olive oil we tasted was the O Meyer Lemon Olive Oil which has a really nice light and summery taste. We also sampled the O California Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil. This is a basic olive oil that has a nice fruity note to it as well. Both are very good, and the Meyer Lemon Olive Oil works nicely in a salad dressing.

The vinegars we sampled included: O Fig Balsamic Vinegar, O California White Balsamic Vinegar, O California Port Balsamic Vinegar, and the O California Balsamic Vinegar. Yum. The plain balsamic tasted very good, the white balsamic was light and had less of a bite than the other vinegars, and both were very good. But the Port and Fig balsamic vinegars stood out as delicious. We're hoarding the remainder of those bottles for ourselves, and will be buying more when we finish our samples.

We sampled six of their many products. Jane has already earmarked a few of the other varieties she'd like as her holiday gift, and I'm all for that since I'll get to share in the bounty. O Olive Oil has a number of gift sets available if you're looking for a gift idea.

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Dukkah

2/3 Cup ground almonds (or hazelnuts)

1/2 Cup toasted sesame seeds

2 Tbs ground coriander

2 Tbs cumin

1 Tbs ground pepper

3/4 Tbs salt

Mix all ingredients together. Stays fresh for a few months. Dukkah recipes vary widely, and there are many of them on the internet. You can modify the recipe with any spice mix you enjoy.

 

You can buy O Olive Oil directly from the manufacturer or on Amazon