Best of Plant-Based Expo East 2017!

Best of Plant-Based Expo East 2017!

ecoRDN got off to a bumpy start this year as we headed from Pittsburgh to Baltimore for Natural Products Expo East. Greyhound “lost” our bus. No, we didn’t know that was a thing either. So, we were rerouted to a later bus with a layover in Harrisburg, which put us 3 hours behind schedule. We arrived too late for badge pick up and totally missed the Harvest Festival. However, the long bus ride did give us opportunity to thoroughly search the Happy Cow website to find our dinner spot. We chose Sticky Rice in Fells Point due to their many vegan options and the close proximity to our Air-bnb. Plus, it was still open at 8:30pm on a Wednesday. We chose the Dirty Vegan and the Mock Chicken Szechaun, both amazing! After a good nights sleep we were ready to pick up our badges and hit the expo floor!

Natural Products Expo East 2016 saw ecoRDN traverse the foodscape over two days. This year, 2017, we covered the entire expo in only one, which totaled over 6 miles of walking (and eating, and eating, and eating…)

We set out to highlight all things plant-based, vegan, meat & dairy free then report our findings back to you, the ethical mindful consumer. Here are our 10 top picks in no particular order, as they are all equally awesome.

  1. Vegan Rob’s

A new global snack food focused on nutrition and compassion.

Loaded with flavor, Vegan Rob’s snacks showcase a clean taste with unique combinations such as Wild Mushroom Kettle Chips, Asparagus Chips, Brussel Sprout Puffs, and the brand new soon to be released Beet Puffs! Kombucha was big this year at the expo but Rob’s Kombuchabar was the only bar containing dried SCOBY! Many more amazing flavors, try them all! Love yourself, love these snacks!


2. No Evil Foods

Protein For All. In Plants We Trust.

Winner of Nexty Award, Best New Packaging Innovation (Comrade Cluck). No Evil Foods came correct with a mic drop array of stupendous pant-based proteins from their piquant fennel Italian Sausage to the biting hit of the spicy Chorizo. Deliciousness, forever.


3. Nuttin Ordinary

100% Plant Based Products

Oil-free fermented cashew cheese, oh hell yeah! Somewhere between goat cheese and ricotta, this plant-based cheese is the bee’s knees. You will not believe your mouth after you try their ravioli. Guaranteed to pull the wool over any omnivore’s eyes. Plant-based goodness based in New Hampshire!


4. Ithaca Hummus 

“We would never think of using the same processing techniques as other brands (like freezing or heat pasteurization) and we never use preservatives or concentrated flavorings (like lemon juice) in any of our recipes. “

Cold-crafted hummus? It was only like eating hummus for the first time. The truest, cleanest flavors did a mesmerizing dance upon the palate. If you love hummus you need to search for this product. A foodie work of art! Located mainly in the Northeast.


5. Oatly


A sign in neon lights marked the entrance to the hot products pavilion this year. Later when we found the Oatly booth we were able to connect the dots.  As more and more plant-based milks hit the market it becomes increasingly more difficult to pick a favorite. This one stands out because of the nut-free base, making it a perfect pick for those with nut allergies. The company is Swedish but you can use the “oatfinder” on their website to locate Oatly in a cafe near you.


6. Fronana 

We went bananas for this nice cream!

That’s right! A banana based ice cream hits the market from a company on a mission to show the world that dessert can be healthy AND delicious! They are based out of Dayton, with distribution in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois. Currently they have 5 flavors: Wildberry Whirl, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Rich Dark Chocolate, Mango Pineapple and Fro Mocha. They are all vegan and gluten-free too!


7. Alpha Foods – Alpha Burritos

Alpha Foods believes in a future in which people are no longer reliant on animal proteins for sustenance. Breakthroughs in meatless alternatives are bringing us closer to that reality, and Alpha Foods is at the forefront of this healthier, more sustainable movement. We are committed to cultivating a comprehensive line of plant-based options that will change the way the world thinks about food.”

We sampled. Then we sampled again. It was a sampling frenzy. We could have used an intervention, but screw it. those burritos are FANTASTIC! Chik’n Fajita, Philly Sandwich, Mexicali and Pizza. Eat them all!


8. Revive Kombucha

Culture Driven, Craft Kombucha. A Family Owned Brewery.

Sustainable, Ethical, Vegan & Awesome! Superb, eye-catching labels adorn the greatest tasting kombucha we’ve had the fortune of sampling and there were many this year. Big props go out to Revive for using reusable shot glasses for sampling. The waste at these expos gets ridiculous, thus Revive are legit heroes! Go find it and drink it!


9. Wholesome Organic DelishFish & NEW Cinnamon Bears

Gelatin-free and organic soft candies. Wholesome’s BRAND NEW cinnamon bears are perfectly balanced with a sweet and natural cinnamon bite that make for a wonderful sweet snack safe for vegans! And who doesn’t love soft, luscious candy fish? Jerks, that’s who!


10. Manitoba Harvest Whole Hemp Seeds 

Hemp hearts are amazing but whole hemp seeds are even moreso. Kudos to Manitoba Harvest for offering the whole organic seed. Less is sometimes more but in cases like this more is better! With less processing the consumer foodie can get down to their fiber rich whole food roots, getting all the benefit of these super seeds and more! Hooray!!!


Choosing only ten products to highlight was quite the task when there were so many great companies and products. We just want to give some honorable mentions to some of the  others before we go…

Revolution Gelato One of our top picks last year in the category of plant-based ice cream and we are still impressed. Even more because this year they used REAL spoons for their samples! Thank you for being low waste heroes!


Miyoko’s Kitchen Best of cheese 2016 and still on top! We really wanted to highlight all new companies this year but Miyoko’s kitchen deserves mention for the whole new line of pub cheeses, cream cheeses, Mozz and cheese wheel!


Milkadamia A macadamia nut based milk and another pick from last year. These lattes were not only beautiful but also delicious!


That wraps up our foodie adventure at Natural Products Expo East 2017.

As always, thanks for reading and eat well!

For a mouthwatering archive of foodie pics and all things nutritionally awesome, follow us on Instagram and Twitter!

©2017 ecoRDN 💚


Interview with Onion Maiden 💚

Interview with Onion Maiden 💚

Onion Maiden‘s brick-and-mortar opened Spring 2017, located at 639 E Warrington Ave in Allentown. After rocking the pop-ups and popping up around the 412 for so many the plant-based events, the vegan-fused trio of plant-based *bad*brains who flex their amazing take on Asian-American fusion finally found their hearth home. Here is a recap of a dope pop-up Onion Maiden dinner at The Vandal back in February 2016!



We at ecoRDN enjoy the humanity behind the tater-tots. So we reached out to Onion Maiden to ask a few questions pertinent to vegan living and plant-based fun.

From left to right: Brooks, Dingo, Elyse (Pic ripped from Onion Maiden website

We asked each of them these three questions:

1) What did you have for breakfast today?

2) When did you become vegan?

3) What is your favorite recipe (not your own)?

Dingo, Elyse, and Brooks were super cool and thus threw down as follows…

1) Left over staff meal: Udon noodle soup
2) I became vegan when I was 14, 18 years ago.
(That is awesome!!!)
3) Honestly I never have enough patience for recipes. I mostly like to look at pictures of food and sometimes I’ll look at a quick glance at a recipe for inspiration. I never buy books without pictures! I also love cooking traveling shows.
 1) Lemon ginger overnight oats made with blueberries and almond milk.
(OMG, those oats sound amazing!!!)
2) About nine years ago.  I had been a vegetarian since I was sixteen and had been reading up on vegan diets and then just woke up one day and did it.  I gave away all of my non-vegan food and that was that.
3) I love anything Isa Chandra Moskowitz does.  Literally everything.  She has a wonderful Queso recipe that is high up on my list.
(Check out Cashew Queso recipe here)
1) I had a tall glass of water (chugged as soon as I wake up), one cold, leftover Headbanger’s Ball from the restaurant, a peanut butter Protein Puck, a cup of coffee with almond creamer, and a blueberry fig bar. This was all spaced out over about 2 hours I’d say.
2) A few years ago when I started dating Dingo. I had been vegetarian for several years prior to that, but when she moved in and we started (well, mostly she started) cooking amazing meals together, it was the easiest transition ever.
3) There’s a recipe for mac ‘n cheese in the book Vegan Junk Food by Lane Gold that I’ve kind of adapted and perfected over the last couple years. It’s mostly veggies, but I’ve fooled some pretty discerning omnivores with it. Mac has always been one of my favorite comfort foods throughout my life, and this recipe really hits the spot.
(This book looks GREAT, check it aht!!!)
Word UP!

You can check them out for dinner and brunch (repeat early and often!). There’s so much awesome food to put in your face, decor to take in, and badass music to listen to. Forever

 💚 Thank Yinz, Onion Maiden: For Being Awesome, Being Vegan, and Being in Pittsburgh!!!

Onion Maiden Hours:

Wed-Fri 5-10pm

Sat 10am-2pm (brunch) 5-10pm (dinner)

Located at 639 E. Warrington Ave 15210

As always, thanks for reading and eat well!

For a mouthwatering archive of foodie pics and all things nutritionally awesome, follow us on Instagram and Twitter!

©2017 ecoRDN 💚



Vegetarian Summerfest 2017

Vegetarian Summerfest 2017

The 43rd Annual Conference of the North American Vegetarian Society took place July 5 – 9, 2017 on the University of Pittsburgh Johnstown campus. 

How Do You Do Your Vegan?

Do you vegan or do you plant-based whole foods? Do you dabble toes or dive right in? Topics like these and many more are the morsels that when combined make for a philosophical feast (remember to chew). Whether you are vegan for the animals, the environment, for the ethics, or for the health: there is a lot of valuable information for every kind of interest at Vegetarian Summerfest.

This is Johnny from ecoRDN and I’m going to tell you about my experience as a repeat guest. This was my second year in attendance. I went into it knowing what to expect and build from what I took away last year. For a recap of last year check out our Highlights of Vegetarian Summerfest 2016.

My biggest takeaway is that while we may subscribe to particular philosophies under the vegan umbrella, each piece is linked together and forms a lengthy chain of compassion. While respect for animals is important, it is a singular piece of a larger puzzle. Wherein other pieces such as health & wellness, respect for the environment, and social justice play an equal role. I find it encouraging when meeting others who share this insight, and was very happy with the diversity of lectures at this year’s conference.


The Speakers

It’s an impossibility to take in everything and making the decision to see one talk over another is rarely easy. Darla loves to thoroughly pour through the program with highlighter and pen and map out each day’s itinerary around the always important mealtimes (so much amazing food, as you will see later!) I watch her plan out our days with childlike glee (because she does all the work), and make sure to get in at least one full hour of exercise either at the LLC fitness center or perhaps John Pierre and Anne Dinsha’s full-on bootcamp (my quads were on fire for days!)

The price of tickets may seem high but if you take full advantage of the experience it is well worth it. Cooking demos with amazing vegan chefs, science based lectures by national and internationally renowned doctors, vegan dietitians, vegan athletes, vegan entrepreneurs, vegan life-hackers, who all share their information with such engaging infectious passion it’s difficult to not come away recharged and inspired to go out and be better people everyday.

We had the very good fortune to hear from Dr. Kim Allan Williams – vegan cardiologist and immediate past president of the American College of Cardiology, Rae Sikora – 35 year full-time spokesperson for other species and the environment, Dr. Michael Greger – founder of and author of NY Times best seller How Not To Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease, Dr. Neal Barnard  – President and founder of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) and author of numerous books including The Cheese Trap (a must-read for the vegetarians who can’t give up dairy), Miyoko Schinner – founder of Miyoko’s Kitchen artisan vegan cheese company and author of The Homemade Vegan Pantry, Virginia Messina, MPH, RD – registered dietitian with more than 25 years experience in the field of vegan nutrition and co-author of Even Vegans Die with Carol J. Adams and Patti Breitman.

These are but a few of the many brilliant minds we encountered. To list all their genius would make this a Proust novel instead of a blog. But, for more information about all the speakers and their golden awesome, please follow the link to NAVS Vegetarian Summerfest Speakers 2017 💚


Slides from some of the plenaries, lectures and food demos.


The Special Presentation after the Farewell Dinner and showing of What the Health.



The Food

What Summerfest post would be complete without offering the utmost reverence for the amazing variety of cruelty-free options we were offered daily? Under the direction of Mark Reinfeld, who was also this year’s inductee into the NAVS Vegetarian Hall of Fame! Chef Mark was assisted by Chef Chris Jolly and Chef Gail Patek with guidance from NAVS, and they sure put on a show! Breakfast, lunch, and dinner consisted of the regular bar along with the SOS bar (no salt, oil, or sugar), a pizza bar, a gluten free bar, a salad bar, and a raw bar (for lunch and dinner only). Take a look at our pics and I dare you not to leave this post hungry!


More food! You never spend a minute hungry at Summerfest as well as three meals a day there are samples from food demos, snacks in the evenings and of course generous donations from Miyoko’s Kitchen!


The Summary

We are fortunate that our proximity to Summerfest is so close. People come from as far away as Canada, New York, Florida, New Mexico, and Wisconsin. We hop the Amtrak from Pittsburgh and arrive in Johnstown in 90 minutes, it’s almost like we are somehow hosts to all the many travelers as this is basically an extension of our own home “down the street”. I feel truly blessed and am indebted to my wife, my sweet Darla, for hipping me to this wonderful, grounding, and recharging event. This was my second year and I hope I’m able to attend every year. I am so thankful for everyone who shared their knowledge with us, who shared their compassion with us, who talked with us and welcomed us to talk with them. This path we chose is not always easy to navigate but I feel so very encouraged by all the like-minded people from so many diverse walks of life who choose to see this living world with the same empathetic eyes and open hearts and open minds.

Thank You!

As always, thanks for reading and eat well!

For a mouthwatering archive of foodie pics and all things nutritionally awesome, follow us on Instagram and Twitter!

©2017 ecoRDN 💚



Jackfruit Tacos & Super Cool Facts

Jackfruit Tacos & Super Cool Facts

The Skinny on Jackfruit

Jackfruit grows on a jack tree (also, jak tree), which is is “a handsome tree” of the mulberry family (Moraceae). Jack trees are monoecious, having both male and female leaves on the same plant.

When ripe, the external fruit omits a malodorous scent similar to decayed onions.

Jackfruit is the national fruit of Bangladesh.

With proper care and attention a jack tree will produce fruit for up to one-hundred years.

Jackfruit trees have grown in India for up to 6000 years.

Jackfruit is believed to be a source of healing as the entire fruit is used in variety of means to combat everything from topical wounds to fever and asthma.

The wood of the jackfruit tree is prized for its physical beauty and functional attributes. The color of the wood may change with age from yellow to dark red. The wood is also naturally resistant to termites and fungus and is comparable to teak for its strength.

Jack tree woodchips are boiled with alum to produce a yellow dye, used for coloring silks and the cotton robes of Buddhist monks.

As food the jackfruit is also varied, everything from its flesh to its seeds have been used to make wonderfully diverse creations such as chutneys, curries, and strong liquor!

Jackfruit provides a little bit of both Vitamin C and B6 (23% and 16%, respectively).

Jackfruit is awesome but it may be intimidating, but only if you’re intimidated by jack fruit.  If so, fear not, jackfruit in a can is a thing!


When we heard Trader Joe’s sold cans of jackfruit in brine, we could not wait to get one home and crack it open. Our foodie vegan interwebs were flooded with mouthwatering pics of plant-based faux-pulled-pork recipes, we just had to get in on the action!

It must be pointed out however that while jackfruit is commonly used as meat substitute because of it’s fleshy consistency, it contains very little plant protein (1.7g per serving) so, we added cooked lentils to our tacos for that reason. You are free to add any plant protein of your choosing, gotta keep it balanced 💚

This is a basic recipe, more a suggestive list than step-by-step how-to, to hopefully inspire a lightbulb of your own. Once you get the foundation down, the rest of the house is up to you!

What we used for our Jackfruit Tacos:

1 can of Trader Joe’s Green jackfruit in brine.

2 C cooked lentils

1 pepper, sliced (choose your color)

1 cup frozen corn

1 cup chopped cabbage

3 Tbs Cholula sauce, or chipotle sauce

1 Tbs chili powder

1tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

small white corn tortillas

Drain the brine and mash the jackfruit with a fork or by hand in a medium microwaveable bowl. Add the lentils, Cholula, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt. Mix until evenly coated, cover and place in fridge for at least an hour.

Heat non-stick pan, add peppers, cabbage and corn, reduce heat to medium-low, cook until the color pops and you can see a bit of brown.

Remove the jackfruit mix from your fridge and heat in microwave for a minute, stir. If not fully warmed, heat for another 30 seconds.

Heat non-stick pan or griddle and warm your tortillas. When everything is ready, build your tacos! This recipe yields 14 small tacos (as seen in the pics).

Get funky with it, add avocado, spoon a little salsa, use hard-shells! The world is yours, we just wanted to flex a few food-porn pics and expound on the newfound (for us) virtues of this wonderfully diverse fruit which has taken the foodie-web by storm!


As always, thanks for reading and eat well!

For a mouthwatering archive of foodie pics and all things nutritionally awesome, follow us on Instagram and Twitter!

©2017 ecoRDN 💚

Information compiled from,, and National Tropical Botanical Garden

ecoRDN’s Plant-Based Cheese Tasting

ecoRDN’s Plant-Based Cheese Tasting

We threw a party! A vegan cheese party, and it went over pretty damned well.

What led to this? Well quite simply, if you lined up all the vegetarians and some omnivores and asked them “why not vegan” most would likely respond, “cheese”. Cheese is the reason why many will not consider a dairy-free diet. So we wanted to illuminate the diverse, multifaceted and oh-so flavorful aspects within the current dairy-free plant-based cheese world, which has come a long way!

ecoRDN has years of catering experience but it had been a long while since we adorned ourselves in aprons and chef jackets. Since we were pretty sure a dairy-free plant-based cheese tasting never took place in Pittsburgh, we decided to go all-in and see what would happen.

The venue was set for Beauty Shoppe‘s lovely downstairs lounge. For those unaware, Beauty Shoppe is a co-working space located in the Liberty Bank Building on Penn Avenue in East Liberty.

The Beauty Shoppe Lounge

With the location set we used eventbrite to sell our tickets and put the cap at 30 people due to the limitations of the space. (We Sold Out!!!)

Once the date, time, place, and tickets were set, we began contacting businesses local and nationwide for samples and donations and were throughly bowled over by the amount of love and amazing swag we received.

From the Pittsburgh end of things, one of our favorite restaurants, B52, kindly hooked us up with two giant containers of fermented cashew Labneh… (OMG all za’atar everything!), and Pittsburgh Winery donated 10 bottles of various wines! If you weren’t aware, Pittsburgh Winery is vegan friendly, they use old-school winemaking methods that include a simple, whole ingredient list of grapes, yeast, and sulfites. Awesome!

We also received an amazing donation from the lovely people at The Happy Vegan who sent three jars of their delicious Notcho Nocheez. Yum! If you are looking for a great dairy free dip (from mild to legit hot) please check them out!

Chef Johnny was excited to create a vegan cheese for the event so he got to work and came up with a super sharp smoky cheddar spread made from almonds! The super-easy recipe is located at the end of the blog! 💚

Further donations came from Zevia (who sent us an entire case of various sugar-free flavors, we knew they would be a perfect mixer or soft-drink option), and Treeline, who shipped us a cooler bag full of two wheels and four spreads (Cracked Pepper & Classic wheels – Chipotle Serrano Pepper and Scallion spreads, respectively). So Much Awesome 💚

Daiya Foods sent us a bundle of free vouchers which we used in exchange for their block cheeses: Medium Style Cheddar and Smoked Gouda, great accompaniments to our fruit platter!

To round out the donations, we set out to find a variety of dairy-free delights to give our guests plenty of options! Of those we were able to score one of the biggest hits of the night, Miyoko’s Kitchen Mt. Vesuvius Black Ash, a sharp umami wheel that uses an age-old cheese tradition using food grade ash (which minimize acidity). Along with the ash cheese we also procured another Miyoko product: buffalo-style Vegan Mozz!

Searches high and low around the city allowed us to obtain a relatively local brand of deliciousness from Cleveland, Ohio by the name of Red Lotus. Their Spirulina Bleu was a big hit! Also from Red Lotus was a lovely, piquant Spicy Chipotle spread.


Finishing off our dairy free list is Kite Hill, whose Truffle, Dill, & Chive went fast. In fact, they all went fast. It was hard to keep up, but we did. And everyone was fed, multiple times over!


Besides a few hiccups along the way, the event was a success. People seemed really happy. We were able to chat with our guests once things settled and were able to glean a lot of positivity from each of the interactions.

We learned A LOT from this event and will use that knowledge to make our next event even better! Thank you for your patience during this first venture!

A HUGE Thank You to EVERYONE who participated 💚💚💚

Much Love to B52, Pittsburgh Winery, Notcho Nocheez, Zevia, Daiya Foods, Treeline!

Thank You to ALL the companies who make the amazing vegan cheeses and contribute additional foodie-love and positivity into our ever-growing population; Miyoko’s Kitchen, Red LotusKite Hill. 💚💚💚

Thank You to Vegan Pittsburgh for tabling our event, it was a pleasure to have you! 💚

Thank You Beauty Shoppe for having us! 💚

Thank you to our volunteer, Tawnee!


We hope to see your beautiful faces at our next event… More Soon! 💚

And now the recipe! 💚


ecoRDN’s Dairy-Free Smoky Cheddar Almond Spread

OMG! This is ecoRDN‘s first attempt with a dairy-free vegan cheese and it’s amazing! This recipe is oh so simple: no soaking and no tedious removal of almond skins. All you need for this recipe (besides the ingredients) is a high-powered blender (Vitamix, etc), that is a absolute must to get the smooth texture! If you already have the blender, get these ingredients and get to making all the bellies happy. All. The. Bellies.

What you will need:

3 Cups Raw Almonds

1/2 Cup Water

1/2 Cup Nutritional Yeast

1/4 Cup Shiro Miso Paste (White Miso)

1 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar (or Apple Cider Vinegar)

2 Tbsp Liquid Smoke (we use hickory for this recipe)

2 tsp Sea Salt

1 tsp Corn Starch

Add all ingredients to your high-powered blender, turn variable slowly to the highest setting (if not using a Vitamix, follow the directions in your manual for best results) and use your tamper to push everything toward the blades. You will need to do this for up to 5 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape sides with a spatula. Blend evenly. Blend, blend blend. Consistency should be thick but smooth and spreadable.

Enjoy ecoRDN‘s sweet, tangy dairy-free smoky almond spread on your favorites: apples, crackers, roasted potatoes – how about veggies?. Add some to your vegan mac-n-cheese sauce for an extra powerful plant-based bacon hit, or go completely bonkers and spread this smoky delight on your toast. The possibilities are many (and bonkers!)

If you try your hand at this recipe let us know what you think in the comments below.

As always, thanks for reading and eat well!

For a mouthwatering archive of foodie pics and all things nutritionally awesome, follow us on Instagram and Twitter!

©2017 ecoRDN 💚


Pack a Bowl

Pack a Bowl

Whether you’ve heard (or read) the term Balance Bowls / Buddha Bowls / Power Bowls, the gist is all the same: the bowl is your vessel to pack with whole foods to fuel your body and mind. Think My Plate, but a bowl instead. It’s the latest trend but not a passing fad as it simply promotes mindful balance.

We at ecoRDN have eaten the power-balance-Buddha bowls for as long as we’ve had bowls. As each day is an opportunity to learn to be a little better, to eat a little better, to make better choices. We’ve selectively built our own bowls to mimic those choices. Hopefully these simple ideas will also inspire you to start your own fire and pack your own bowls full of goodness!

The conception to create balance encompasses all aspects of life, one of the easiest areas to control can be the foods we choose to consume. We can’t control the weather, we can’t control the emotions or actions of others, but we can choose what we eat, how much, and in what ratio.

The bowl concept is simple: find a bowl you love and fill it with whole foods you love! If you aren’t exactly sure what to fill your favorite bowl with, we will share some our favorite ingredients. These components are staples in the ecoRDN kitchen and provide a plentiful rotation of varied, wholesome options, which keep us afloat as we traverse the sometimes rocky roads of day-to-day life.


Easy Rice Cooker Foods

The rice cooker plays an important role in our kitchen. It’s not just for cooking rice. In fact, we make various pulses, numerous grains, and even cake! What makes this method such an inventive life hack is that you are able to add your ingredients, water, cover and let the machine do the rest. Average cook time can be anywhere from 20-30 minutes. Our little Aroma rice cooker came with it’s own measuring cup, it’s approximately 3/4 c. All the pulses and grains we are about to mention have a 2:1 water ratio (i.e. “2 water / 1 brown rice”).

Egyptian lentils, moth beans, mung beans, red rice, brown rice, wild rice, wheat berries, rye berries, barley, freekeh, bulgur, farro, quinoa (oh my!)

Our rice cooker is a small 6 cup model, so a normal batch requires 2 grain (or pulse) to 4 water. Add any seasoning you like, usually we’ll add 2 tsp sea salt, 2 Tbsp black pepper (we like spice, so if you prefer mild don’t add so much pepper) 1 Tbsp garlic powder, 1 Tbsp onion powder, etc. For additional flavor add 1/2 cup diced celery, or 1/2 diced onion to replace the onion powder. It’s up to you, the possibilities are many! Keep your ratios the same and experiment, your spice rack beckons!

So Many The Vegetable

This is all up to you! Whatever veg you wish to add, and by what means. We will either steam or roast depending on time and recipe, and the list is long and varied. Another very important tool in ecoRDN‘s kitchen is the often overlooked and widely misunderstood microwave. We use our microwave everyday, it is by far the most perfect and fastest method to steam fresh vegetables and bring frozen vegetables to edible temps. Find a microwave safe pyrex or Cambro, fill with small cut vegetables, season and place in microwave on for one minute. Remove, check, stir and repeat for another minute if undone. After 2 minutes those veggies should be a perfectly steamed al dente! For leafy vegetables, only steam for 45 seconds to one minute, tops. Kale is just about perfect in a minute. And you can load the vessel with kale since it shrinks so much. Such a great way to pack in those fresh superfoods!!! If you want to build your bowl using the MyPlate schematic, fill half the volume of your bowl with vegetables and split the remaining half between protein and starch.

The All Important Starch

We have already expounded our love for the sweet potato, and we recommend you also fall in love with the sweet potato! Skin on, any way you want to prepare it (minus deep frying), this wonder tuber is a hugely beneficial and vastly important component to any and every balance bowl. Along with the sweet potato, we also use any of the grains mentioned above in the rice cooker section. Red skin, russet, and yellow potatoes are another favorite. Baked squash, when in season, are an absolute delight!. Autumn brings about many butternut, acorn, and spaghetti squash deals. And after you get the hang of processing, these luscious gourds make a great seasonal accompaniment!

Proteins Repair Your World

As we mentioned earlier, the rice cooker is an ideal way to prepare a varied selection of proteins for your bowls. Other easy methods to introduce plant-based proteins into your roster include: beans, tofu, tempeh, and edamame.


But the single most important aspect of the Balance Bowl is YOU. You make the call, you build your destiny, you pack your own balance. Hopefully this post provides you with a few ideas to work with, something to build on.

Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to enjoy our blog, and please feel free to like, share, or leave a comment if you feel compelled to interact!

As always, thanks for reading and eat well!

For a mouthwatering archive of foodie pics and all things nutritionally awesome, follow us on Instagram and Twitter!

©2017 ecoRDN

RDN Day 2017 (Vegan Edition)!

RDN Day 2017 (Vegan Edition)!

Happy Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) Day!

“First celebrated in 2008, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day commemorates the dedication of RDNs as advocates for advancing the nutritional status of Americans and people around the world. Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day was created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to increase the awareness of registered dietitian nutritionists as the indispensable providers of food and nutrition services and to recognize RDNs for their commitment to helping people enjoy healthy lives. Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day and National Nutrition Month® promote the Academy and RDNs to the public and the media as the most valuable and credible source of timely, scientifically-based food and nutrition information.”

This year on RDN day, I want to highlight some of my fellow RDN’s that also follow a VEGAN diet and lifestyle! So you can get to know them a little better I had them answer these questions…

  1. Why did you become an RDN?
  2. Why did you become vegan? How long have you been vegan?
  3. What did you have for breakfast this morning? (Because its a fun question, ok??!!)
  4. Include a favorite recipe!

Check out their answers here!

Lori Fliegelman Kupferman, RDN, MS, LDN, CPT


  1. I became an RD because I grew up in a very unhealthy home. Once I left for college I realized I wanted to lead a healthy life and help people stay well. I live for PREVENTION.
  2. I had been vegetarian for a few years and 6 years ago this month I took the plunge. My husband was told he needed to go on cholesterol medication at the same time I was going to a CEU program by Dr. Neal Barnard. He is the head of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. The whole seminar was based on how to change heart disease and DM through your diet. We decided to give the Vegan lifestyle a go for his health. We have never looked back and FYI, my husband never had to start his medication! 
  3. My breakfast was relatively boring as it was steelcut Oats with added flax seeds, chia seeds, cashew milk, fresh blueberries, and a heaping tsp of natural Peanut Butter.
  4. Favorite Recipe right now…


Anja Grommons, RDN

anja-jpg 1.  My parents owned a restaurant when I was growing up, so we were always cooking, eating, and talking about food. I wasn’t aware of the dietetics field until early college, but when I realized I could use my passion for food to educate the public, I was sold.

2. I started exploring the research that the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine was publishing which led to more research and documentaries about chronic disease, animal cruelty, and the environmental impacts of the Standard American Diet. After that, a vegan diet seemed like a no-brainer. Its been about 2.5 years now and it’s been the best decision I’ve ever made!

3. Tofu scramble with spinach, tomatoes, nutritional yeast, and sriracha along with toast and coffee.

4. While I don’t have a blog of my own yet, I am a staff writer for VegOut, a vegan city guide. Favorite recipe right now…

Sharon Palmer, RDN


1. I fell in love with food and nutrition as a child, my mother had a garden and canned, and I loved to cook and read about nutrition. Becoming a dietitian was a natural progression from that, and I have never regretted this career choice.

2. I was raised in a mostly vegetarian home, and was some type of vegetarian most of my life. Six years ago, I was doing research for my first book on plant-based lifestyles and I thought that I had to really understand what it was like to be vegan. So I tried a 1-month challenge. I loved the way I felt about my health, eco footprint, and impact on animals. So, I continued with that lifestyle.

3. My favorite: steel-cut oats, blueberries, soy milk, walnuts, flax and coffee.

4. Favorite recipe right now…


Felicia Porrazza, MDA, RDN, LDN


1. When I was in grade school and early high school, I was overweight and would get made fun of due to that and my crazy curly hair! I took charge and ended up losing about 40#. I did it a bit too fast and over exercised (twice per day!). I finally found a happy balance after reading a bunch of nutrition books. I started trying new recipes and fell in love with just the focus on healthy eating as a lifestyle. I ended up applying for colleges for nutrition versus my initial plan of entering the field of law. I took my first nutrition course as a freshman in college and loved it! The rest is history!

 2. I was a vegetarian mostly all through college. About 2 years ago I made the switch to vegan (along with my boyfriend). I feel like it wasn’t just one moment where I decided to complete switch. I had been reading a lot already about plant-based diets, animal cruelty, etc. I already didn’t consume milk/eggs products since they tore up my stomach, so it was mainly just avoiding dairy derivatives and such. I really couldn’t get over the fact that people see cats and dogs and horses as loving creatures we could never harm them, yet we consume cute-pigs and cows. So many people would say to me that they would just not think about it while eating; however, I just couldn’t do that! I remember speaking to a farmer at one of my meetings and they talked about how all of their cows had different personalities. I couldn’t imagine eating one knowing things like that. Plus, the benefits of a plant-based, vegan diet, are just too hard to overlook.
3. This morning I had coffee with ripple (pea) milk plus Schar multigrain bread (I am also gluten-free) + 1 small banana + 2 tablespoons of peanut butter.
1. As a college athlete, I loved that food has an impact on our physical performance. As I delved deeper into nutrition, I was amazed by the number of chronic diseases that may be prevented simply by what we do and don’t eat on a regular basis.
2. I have been vegan for approximately one year, but I have experimented with vegetarianism off and on over the years. I even found that my most successful year of college athletics was when I was a vegetarian! I chose to become a vegan after reading the compilation of research in the book How Not to Die specifically, but also due to my knowledge on a plant based diet’s role in disease prevention and longevity.
3. Scrambled tofu with a chopped up Dr. Praeger’s veggie burger, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, greens, and nutritional yeast – all sautéed in veggie broth!

4. My favorite way to use beans!


Hannah Lima MS, RDN, CDN


1. My first experience with an RD was after being diagnosed with T1DM and…that experience left me wondering why I walked away feeling clueless about nutrition related to my new diagnosis. During a panicked drive home with my mind racing about what to eat, did I have any of it at home, where could I find the food i was supposed to eat, would I get it all figured out on time, etc. etc. I became passionate about nutrition and using food to heal the body. After many years in the corporate business world I was blessed with the opportunity to go back to school and pursue the new dream God had placed in my heart. The dream to become an RD and help people navigate the complexities of health and nutrition.

2. Oh gosh, I’ve been a vegetarian for as long as I’ve been able to choose what to put in my mouth. About 5 or so years ago I made the choice to give up my rare cheese indulgences and eat a 100% plant based diet. Even though I was an almost vegan vegetarian, making the choice to eat plants and only yummy plants was the best nutritional choice I’ve made in years.

3. A buckwheat and butternut squash muffin.

4. Favorite recipe right now…


Thomas Bosch PhD RDN LDN


1. Educating clients about the power of healthful nutrition has become my passion and professional mission. In order to deepen my understanding of the intricate connections between our bodies’ biology and the foods and beverages we consume, I earned a degree in dietetics & nutrition to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).

2. Born and raised in Germany, I grew up on a hearty, traditional German diet. My parents and grandparents loved spoiling me with treats. But this rich diet was not without consequences. The neighborhood kids began teasing me about my weight. But much worse – at age 12 – I was diagnosed with the autoimmune and skin disorder psoriasis. Thus, began my 35-year-long battle with this “uncurable” chronic condition. My search to regain my health lead me to many alternative healing approaches, but nutrition always played a central role in my trials and errors. It took dedication, consistency, faith, and patience, but after a few months, I noticed changes – some of them were not directly related to my psoriatic arthritis – but were thrilling nonetheless. I lost almost 50 lbs, stopped snoring, became happier, less anxious, more energetic, and my blood pressure and LDL dropped. And slowly but surely, all painful, arthritic joints and inflamed muscles started loosening up and returned to normal. Eventually, all psoriatic plaques cleared up as well. Despite having aged 25 years, I am in better health than I was at age 22. Everyday I wake up, I am thankful for the healing that has taken place. Having reversed an “uncurable” disease is truly miraculous. Thomas has been vegan for 7 years.

3. Granola, flax seed meal, chia seeds, blueberries, raspberries and soy milk.

4. Favorite recipe right now…


Mary Brewer, RDN, RN, MSN, MBA


1.  I became an RD when, I believe, Jackson was still president.  It was sometime in the 80s, anyway.  Food had always been an interest of mine, both for culinary reasons, and because I always struggled with (and am still vigilant about) my weight.  World hunger, social justice, and animal suffering became larger reasons as I learned more about food production and transportation.

2. My wonderful, wonderful 6th grade teacher Ms. Vidal showed us a film about factory farming. Horrified is not the word.  I was 13 or so at the time, and my mother was very encouraging in helping me to eliminate most meat and chicken from my diet (I never liked seafood).  By 18, I had devoured Francis Moore Lappe’s Diet for a Small Planet and John Robbins’ Diet for a New America, and there were no more excuses I could make; vegan I became.  I’ll be 53 this year.

I was also extremely fortunate to have attended New York University while Marion Nestle was the Department Head in nutrition.  The department was full of intelligent, dynamic women who helped us connect the dots from our everyday decisions to global consequences.  I learned I, too, wanted to make a difference in the world, for hungry people, suffering animals, and our tortured environment.  I didn’t want to look back at the end of my life and feel as though I was merely a spectator, not doing what I could about the things that matter to me.

3. Today I had a slice of whole-grain bread (with sunflower, sesame, and flax seeds), toasted, with chunky peanut butter, and an orange.  I live on citrus during the winter.  I generally drink water (or I drop a tea bag in it, hot or cold), and sometimes drink flavored seltzer if I feel like something fizzy.

4. My Twitter account is @MaryBrewerSays, and I have a website called However, I don’t do recipes; I talk about food politics, how animals are treated, and such.  I will tell you my favorite cookbook is Crazy Sexy Kitchen by Kris Carr & Chef Chad Sarno.

Suzanne Sorensen RD, LD, CDE


1. I have a degree in education and taught science for 7 years…I then got my nutrition degree and became an RD to teach people how food is a medicine that can have a positive impact on health! Still a teacher, just new students and subject 🙂

2. I became vegan for compassionate reasons. On a lobster catching trip in the keys we caught lobsters then had to twist off their heads at the dock to just keep the back end 😦 I couldn’t do it and decided that if I couldn’t kill my own dinner, then I shouldn’t be eating it. That was 10 years ago, vegan ever since!

3.  I had “Vegan One Minute Cinnamon Roll in a Mug” – a new recipe I wanted to try! No, nothing healthy about it.

4. Vegan Chicago-Stlye Deep Dish Pizza! Not my recipe, as per the link it’s from Carrots and Flowers.


Lauren Panoff, MPH, RD 


1. Originally, I wanted to help people who were struggling with disordered eating like I was in high school. After seven years and working in many “traditional” dietetic fields, I found my true calling of helping people, and families with young kids, who want to transition to plant-based lifestyles. My ultimate goal remains the same: to help people live their best life, by reconnecting with their food and themselves.

2. I became vegan in early 2013 after having grown up on the Standard American Diet. Originally, it was because my husband and I were bored of what we were eating and simply wanted to see if we could “go vegetarian” for a month. Almost immediately, we gained a ton of knowledge about how a plant-based diet can dramatically improve health, save millions of animals, and is immensely better for the environment. We watched Forks Over Knives and it was a no brainer – we went from vegetarian to vegan in a very short amount of time. We now have a happy, healthy toddler who has been vegan since birth.

3. Tofu scramble with avocado. One of our favorites! And coffee with vanilla + soy milk.

4. Favorite recipe right now…


Marty Davey, MS, RD, LDN


1. Because I wanted the scientific background behind what I knew made people healthy.  I thought it was amazing that you could eat specific foods and have a clear outcome.

2. I had been vegetarian since 1980.  There was no vegan word in Cleveland, Ohio.  Then, I moved to NYC and started to hear about veganism.  I thought it was crazy.  When I had my son I breastfed.  I thought it was immoral to take a mother away from a child no matter what the species.  When my son was 3 we moved and I went to the North American Vegetarian Society’s Summerfest.  I learned how to cook with no dairy from Jill Nussinow [now one of my mentors] and how to bake with no eggs from Fran Costigan.  I went home with my son, looked at my husband and said, “we’re now vegan.”

I’m a force of nature.  He did not worry as long as the food tasted great.
3. Peasant bread with peach jam, made in a culinary class I taught last summer] and nut butter [cashew, walnut, almond with chia seeds and turmeric made by my husband, Jim Fitzpatrick] and green tea.

Continue reading “RDN Day 2017 (Vegan Edition)!”