Lora Krulak is a vegetable expert and nutritional muse who embraces a veggie-centric lifestyle. She gathered her recipes while traveling around the world and her professional background includes training at the ICE Culinary Cooking School. I was lucky enough to review Lora about her awesome new cookbook, Veggies for Carnivores. I was also able to ask her more questions specifically directed at college students and recent grads.
Zoe McKinnell recently graduated from Brown University and moved to Cambridge, Mass. to work at a hospital in the area. She is getting used to living in a studio apartment and trying to figure out ways to contain cooking smells to the kitchen.
Lora uses a combination of coconut oil and olive oil in her recipes. While the health benefits of olive oil are widely known, I was curious as to why she also used coconut oil.
According to Lora, olive oil actually doesn’t heat well because it has a low burning point so it is better used in salads or to sprinkle on vegetables that are already cooked. For cooking, it is better to use an oil that has a higher burning point like coconut oil or organic butter because these fats don’t change when they are heated. Apparently, coconut oil is extraordinary for you. It has anti-microbial properties that will help to boost your immune system. It can also help to increase your metabolism and boost your thyroid.
As a vegetarian cookbook author, I asked Lora about her thoughts on meat.
Lora does not consider herself to be a ‘preaching vegetarian’ and she often gives a ‘carnivore’s choice’ that explains how to incorporate meat and fish into her recipes. Instead of eliminating meat all together, Lora wants to flip the ratio from a protein-heavy approach to a veggie-centric approach to eating.
Lora admits that she actually eats fish from time to time and tries to stick to salmon and oily fish because of the omegas and the astaxanthin to help your skin and bones.
In terms of choosing which seafoods to eat, Lora highly recommends an App called Sea Food Watch which tells you exactly what is safe to eat and what is not. Even Whole Foods uses their information.
I tried Lora’s beet, jicama and cabbage slaw and thought it was fantastic. I have always been confused about what jicama actually is, so I asked Lora.
Jicama is a Mexican root vegetable that is very watery and slightly sweet. Lora likes to eat it raw and use it in crudités because it is an excellent dipper. Lora adds that this particular coleslaw recipes is also fantastic with fennel or turnip if you can’t find jicama.
I asked Lora which recipes she recommends for college students and recent grads with limited time and resources.
Lora recommends the broccoli soup because its easy to prepare and highly convertible. It has only 3 ingredients and one of them is water. Lora admits that this recipe has become a staple in most of my friends fridge – it can also be used as a sauce for fish or even a plate of veggies or pasta.
She also recommends trying any of the dressings because they can be used not only on salads but as pasta sauces, dips or again on your favorite carnivorous choice!
Finally I asked Lora for suggestions on how to reduce stress, improve skin and increase concentration. She had great suggestions for each.
For stress, Lora recommends an amino acid called L-Theanine. It is completely natural and comes in drops from Herbs-a-way. Lora says that she always have a bottle at my desk. Yogi teas are also superb for stress reduction – especially “stress relief” or “relax mind” tea.
For improved skin, Lora suggests drinking at least 2 liters of good water every day. By good water, she means not tap water unless it’s filtered with a pinch of Himalayan salt or Celtic sea salt. She also recommends trying a veggie juice every day and try to get some greens in there. This will bring color to your skin, give you energy and flood your body with nutrients. Finally, try an avocado a day! Either in a smoothie or eat it for breakfast! Avocados have good fat that help the oils in your skin.
And for concentration, Lora suggest breathing. Deep breathing really helps concentration. When your mind is scattered, go back to the breath. A few deep breaths re-sets the mind and re-focuses you. Peppermint oil is also excellent for focus and concentration. A few drops on your forehead, between the eyes calms you down and can help a lot.
Broccoli Broth with Roasted Vegetables
1 or 2 large heads of broccoli
1/2 to 1 bag spinach
Salt (the water needs to be salty as this is your “broth”)
4 to 5 cups water
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more to drizzle on top for finishing
A handful of chopped olives
1. Bring a large potful of very salty water to a rapid boil.
2. Cut the florets off the head of the broccoli and put in the water.
3. Cover and let cook for about 4 to 5 minutes – the broccoli should be tender, but not too soft.
4. Drain the broccoli but reserve the cooking water.
5. Place broccoli florets in a blender with about 1/4 of the cooking water and puree until smooth and to desired thickness. Add spinach and blend.
6. (Optional) If you would like to add olive oil to your broth, now is the time. Blend in 1/2 to 1/4 of a cup olive oil.
7. Pour into bowls and season to taste with salt and a pinch of crushed red pepper (optional), a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of black olives.