Intro to Kitchen Starters

Plantpure Nation has a new product – PlantPure Kitchen Starters. Think of these ready-to-cook packets as a much healthier WFPB (whole food plant based) version of the old “Hamburger Helper®”. They are a step-by-step line of uncooked entrées, especially nice if you enjoy cooking at home but are new to this lifestyle and need some extra help in the kitchen. PlantPure nation says many of the Kitchen Starters contain the legumes, seasonings, thickeners, and flavorings. Your job is to cook the starch, add a few veggies, and sometimes include a few wet ingredients. Each packet is good for preparation of a 4 pound serving. We’ll be whipping them up and reviewing the results over the next few weeks.

Okay… so put your aprons & let’s dig-in!

Ten PlantPure Nation Jumpstart Entrées

I’ve decided to review some flash frozen entrées from PlantPure Nation.

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This meal program is designed by a team of lifestyle professionals and based upon the work of Nutritional Biochemist T. Colin Campbell, the author of The China Study – a twenty year collaborative research partnership between Cornell, Oxford & the Chinese Academy of Preventative Medicine. The book examines the relationship between the consumption of animal products (including dairy) and chronic illnesses such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, prostate cancer and bowel cancer.

Dr. Campbell summed up the results of The China Study in an interview with the New York Times:

The idea is that we should be consuming whole foods. We should not be relying on the idea that genes are determinants of our health. We should not be relying on the idea that nutrient supplementation is the way to get nutrition, because it’s not. I’m talking about whole, plant-based foods.

PlantPure Nation meals are designed to the recommendations discussed in The China Study, with a recurring theme – no added oils! There’s nothing “crack pot” about it. This is the decades long culmination of hard science, not the soft & fuzzy kind. 🙂 

You can adopt this lifestyle at home in your own kitchen with minimal expense… or you can be a bit lazy like me and give these frozen entrées a try. If you order the PlantPure Nation JumpStart package (see link below at end of this post) you get 20 meals (two of each entrée pictured above), an electric warming tray & lots of literature (books, cookbooks, videos, online communication). I just went with the food & bought the warming tray on Ebay. PlantPure recommended two entrées per day, but they’re a whopping 16 ounces of grub! I did fine splitting one entrée each day across two meals, with plenty of additional sides. (SEE MY FULL DAY MENUS BELOW – heavier side dishes when entrée calorie/fat grams were low.)

Here’s my review:

THE HOT LOGIC MINI PERSONAL OVEN IS BASICALLY A LOW WATTAGE ELECTRIC HOT PLATE NESTLED INSIDE A SOFT INSULATED BAG:

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FROZEN PLANTPURE ENTRÉES FIT PERFECTLY INSIDE! (Microwave instructions are also provided.)

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AND NOW A PARADOX… PLANTPURE SAYS TO PIERCE THE MEAL’S TOP PLASTIC FILM, BUT HOT LOGIC SAYS NOT TO PIERCE IT. I’VE TRIED BOTH METHODS, AND THEY BOTH WORKED. TODAY I PIERCE:

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ZIP THE OVEN CLOSED, PLUG IT IN & WAIT 90+ MINUTES. (Microwave requires only 5+ minutes.)

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HOT LOGIC OWNER’S MANUAL SAYS “PLASTIC, ALUMINUM, GLASS, AND PAPER (FOOD CONTAINERS) WILL WORK, PROVIDED CONTAINER IS RIGID, FLAT BOTTOMED, SEALED WITH A LID AND CAN WITHSTAND 212 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT TEMPERATURE.” IT ALSO SUGGESTS THAT 60-90 MINUTES IS THE MINIMUM WARMING TIME, “FOOD WILL BE HELD AT SERVING TEMPERATURE UNTIL (YOU ARE) READY TO EAT.” SMELLS GREAT!

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DAY 1: AFRICAN STEW ENTRÉE

“A creamy and hearty stew chock-full of flavor, colors, and nutrients. The sweet potatoes, coconut milk, peanuts, and curry give this an exotic, rich flavor.”

– Ingredients: tomato, sweet potato, whole wheat couscous, onion, chickpea, peanut, celery, coconut milk, carrots, ginger, garlic, curry powder, sea salt, black pepper

– 560 cal, 20 g fat
– my flavor grade = A:

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MY DAY 1 FULL MENU:
* rolled oats, strawberries, banana, blackstrap molasses, splash of almond milk
* gorilla salad (broccoli, brussel sprouts, green cabbage, kale, chickory, escarole, endive, radicchio, radishes, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, low sodium Great Northern beans, craisins, pumpkin seeds) w/ fatfree balsamic dressing
* PlantPure Nation frozen African Stew entrée served w/ sliced tomatoes & sauerkraut
* second big serving of African Stew (from the same package) served later w/ tomatoes & steamed broccoli
* banana

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DAY 2: BOURBON VEGETABLES ENTRÉE

Loaded with eggplant, mixed peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, and squash drenched in a savory sweet sauce with a subtle hint of ginger and garlic.

– Ingredients: eggplant tomato , brown rice, zucchini, butternut squash, peppers, apple juice, onion, soy sauce, ketchup, agave, apple cider vinegar, cornstarch, ginger, nutritional yeast, black pepper, sea salt, chili powder, thyme

– 240 cal, 3 g fat
– my flavor grade = B: (eggplant skins are a bit too chewy) :

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MY DAY 2 FULL MENU:
* shredded wheat, rolled oats, blueberries, banana, martian milk (that’s almond milk blended w/ fresh leafy greens & sweetened w/ date)
* gorilla salad (broccoli, brussel sprouts, green cabbage, kale, chickory, escarole, endive, radicchio, avocado, cherry tomatoes, blueberries, high fiber pasta, low sodium salsa) w/ balsamic vinegar
* baked from frozen fries (2.5 grams of fat per 3 oz) w/ ketchup
* PlantPure Nation frozen Burbon Vegetables entrée served w/ sliced tomato & avocado

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DAY 3: KALE PEANUT BOWL ENTRÉE

Tender kale and broccoli over a bed of fluffy, whole-wheat couscous, drizzled in a savory peanut sauce and topped with marinated, baked tofu.

– Ingredients: couscous, kale, soy tofu, peanuts, carrots, broccoli, green beans, peppers, onions, rice vinegar, ginger, agave, soy sauce, chili sauce, curry powder, cornstarch

– 216 cal, 24 g fat
– my flavor grade = A:

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MY DAY 3 FULL MENU:
* rolled oats, dried golden mulberries, blackstrap molasses, strawberries, banana, martian milk (that’s almond milk blended w/ fresh leafy greens & sweetened w/ date)
* gorilla salad (broccoli, brussel sprouts, green cabbage, kale, chickory, escarole, endive, radicchio, avocado, cherry tomatoes, blueberries, high fiber pasta, low sodium salsa) w/ creamy fat-free salsa dressing (blenderize low salt peach/tomato salsa, low salt white beans, rice vinegar, Italian seasonings)
* PlantPure Nation frozen Kale Peanut Bowl entrée served w/ steamed brussel sprouts & cherry tomatoes
* second serving of Kale Peanut Bowl (from the same package) served later w/ tomatoes & steamed broccoli

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DAY 4: ASIAN STEWED TOFU ENTRÉE

Tender pieces of baked tofu and black beans, stewed in traditional Asian flavors with hints of anise and ginger, served with steamed brown rice.

– Ingredients: water, tofu, brown rice, black turtle beans, carrots, celery, ginger, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, tomato paste, garlic, cornstarch, anise, black pepper, chili powder

– 81 cal, 9 g fat
– my flavor grade = C: (bland)

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MY DAY 4 FULL MENU:
* rolled oats, raspberries, blackstrap molasses, banana, martian milk
* gorilla salad (broccoli, brussel sprouts, green cabbage, kale, chickory, escarole, endive, radicchio, cherry tomatoes, avocado, strawberries) w/ creamy fat-free salsa dressing (blenderize low salt peach/tomato salsa, low salt white beans, rice vinegar, Italian seasonings)
* PlantPure Nation frozen Asian Stewed Tofu entrée served w/ steamed brussel sprouts
* watermelon
* second serving of Asian Stewed Tofu (from the same package) served later w/… get ready… sauerkraut! (I had to kick the flavor up a few degrees.)
* baked from frozen fries (2.5 grams of fat per 3 oz) w/ ketchup
* frozen blueberries

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DAY 5: JAPANESE VEGETABLE CURRY ENTRÉE

An Asian coconut curry sauce bursting with flavors and served with the perfect blend of bok choy, peas, carrots, and peppers over a bed of steamed brown rice.

– Ingredients: water, coconut milk, brown rice, potatoes, bok Choi, corn, peas, carrots, peppers, onions, celery, whole wheat flour, tomato paste, agave corn starch, curry powder, garlic, sea salt

– 182 cal, 18 g fat
– my flavor grade = A: (lovely smooth mild flavor, great when paired with yam)

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MY DAY 5 FULL MENU:
* rolled oats, strawberries, blackstrap molasses, water
* gorilla salad (broccoli, brussel sprouts, green cabbage, kale, chickory, mixed spring greens, cherry tomatoes, raspberries) w/ creamy fat-free salsa dressing (blenderize low salt peach/tomato salsa, low salt white beans, rice vinegar, Italian seasonings)
* watermelon
* PlantPure Nation frozen Japanese Vegetable Curry entrée served w/ steamed corn & brussel sprouts
* second serving of Japanese Vegetable Curry (from the same package) served later over baked yam & smothered w/ corn

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DAY 6: CREOLE RED BEANS AND RICE ENTRÉE

Red beans and rice is a typical Louisiana Creole dish made with red beans, vegetables and the perfect amount of spices.

– Ingredients: kidney beans, tomatoes, water, brown rice, onions, peppers, celery, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, jalapeno peppers, dijon mustard, garlic, chipotle peppers in adobe, agave, liquid smoke, sea salt, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, all spice, thyme, black pepper, oregano, basil, cayenne pepper

– 36 cal, 4 g fat
– my flavor grade = C: (lacking flavor & beans are rather crunchy.)

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MY DAY 6 FULL MENU:
* rolled oats, blueberries, water, banana
* watermelon
* naked brc burrito (black beans, rice, cabbage, red & green salsa, XL-avocado, cilantro) served over bed of mixed spring greens w/ grape tomatoes (Forgot to plug in mini oven, so no food prepared after work. Grabbed quick bite on the road. After 5 days of PlantPure Nation, El Pollo Loco is much too salty for my taste!)
* PlantPure Nation frozen Creole Beans & Rice entrée served w/ steamed broccoli & salsa

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DAY 7: SESAME NOODLES ENTRÉE

Whole-wheat noodles drenched in our delicious Thai-flavored sauce and topped with a colorful assortment of mixed vegetables.

– Ingredients: whole wheat pasta, broccoli, peas, coconut milk, carrots, peppers, onions, tahini, agave, chili sauce, lime juice, soy sauce, sesame seed, ginger, chili powder

– 180 cal, 20 g fat
– my flavor grade = A: (creamy, spicy, smooth)

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MY DAY 7 FULL MENU:
* rolled oats, blueberries, blackstrap molasses, water
* gorilla salad (broccoli, brussel sprouts, green cabbage, kale, chickory, mixed spring greens, carrots, red cabbage, jicama, green bell pepper, radish, celery, grape tomatoes, strawberries, craisins, pumpkin seeds, nutritional yeast) w/ raspberry vinegar as dressing
* banana & ten Trader Joe’s kitty cookies (= 1g fat)
* PlantPure Nation frozen Sesame Noodles entrée served w/ sliced tomatoes & steamed brussel sprouts
* second serving of Sesame Noodles (from the same package) served later w/ grape tomatoes & steamed broccoli

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DAY 8: SPAGHETTI AND VEGGIE BALLS ENTRÉE

Traditional whole-wheat spaghetti noodles topped with plant-based veggie balls smothered in our delicious house red marinara sauce.

– Ingredients: whole wheat pasta, tomatoes, wheat gluten, tomato sauce, water, onions, peppers, agave, tomato paste, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, soy tofu, garlic, sea salt, onion powder, paprika, molasses, bulgur wheat, celery, breadcrumbs, walnuts, thyme, black pepper, oregano, basil, corn starch, cayenne pepper, chili powder, all spice, nutmeg

– 36 cal, 4 g fat (so I’ll be adding sides)
– my flavor grade = C : (I like my pasta sauce quite a bit more tangy than this, & noodles were limp)

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MY DAY 8 FULL MENU:
* rolled oats, water, blueberries, raspberries, blackstrap molasses, almond milk, banana
* PlantPure Nation frozen Spaghetti and Veggie Balls entrée served w/ steamed broccoli
* side of pizza (whole wheat lavash bread w/ 0.5g fat) and my own ragu sauce (water sauteed onion, bell pepper, mushroom, garlic, carrots, red cabbage, jicama, green bell pepper, radish, celery, kale, quinoa, fat-free/low-salt jarred pasta sauce) and homemade stretchy cheez (few cashews, hot water, tapioca, agar-agar, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, just a pinch of Himalayan black crystal (Kala Nayak) XL-salt)
* second serving of Spaghetti and Veggie Balls entrée (from the same package) served later w/ sliced tomato & leftover pizza
* grapes

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DAY 9: NEW ENGLAND CHOWDER ENTRÉE

A rich and hearty chowder that has the flavor of traditional clam chowder, but without the clams.

– Ingredients: water, red potatoes, leeks, onions, cashews, celery, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, modified corn starch, sea salt, wakame seaweed, xanthan gum, chili powder, black pepper

– 108 cal, 12 g fat
– my flavor grade = B: (seaweed made it taste like the ocean!)

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MY DAY 9 FULL MENU:
* rolled oats, water, blueberries, blackstrap molasses, almond milk, banana
* sauteed veggie flatbread sandwich (Trader Joe’s whole wheat lavash bread w/ 0.5g fat) spread w/ avocado & filled w/ veggies (onion, red, orange & green bell pepper, mushroom, garlic, carrots, red cabbage, jicama, radish, celery, kale, preservative-free green olives, broccoli, brussel sprouts, green cabbage, sauerkraut, chickory sauteed in balsamic vinegar)
* sweet beverage
* PlantPure frozen New England Chowder entrée served over baked yam w/ steamed brussel sprouts & dash of tabasco
* banana & Trader Joe’s lowfat kitty cookies (1.5 g fat)

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DAY 10: THAI DRUNKEN VEGGIES ENTRÉE

A light and mild dish with a ginger tomato soy glaze tossed with an Asian blend of vegetables served over whole wheat Fettuccine.

– Ingredients: water, coconut milk, carrots, whole wheat pasta, broccoli, green beans, peppers, onions, tomato paste, curry paste, cornstarch, sesame seeds, soy sauce

– 180 cal, 20 g fat
– my flavor grade = A: (but I’m still hungry, so I’ll add a baked potato later)

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MY DAY 10 FULL MENU:
* rolled oats, water, strawberries, raspberries, blackstrap molasses, almond milk, banana
* orange slices
* gorilla salad (broccoli, brussel sprouts, green cabbage, kale, chickory, celery, strawberries, white beans, craisins, pumpkin seeds, spinach & spring greens) dressed w/ raspberry vinegar
* PlantPure frozen Thai Drunken Veggies
* steamed brussel sprouts & broccoli
* almost-healthy oreos (banana & Trader Joe’s lowfat kitty cookies (1.5 g fat))
* baked potato w/ white beans, broccoli & bbq sauce

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GENERAL IMPRESSIONS

Pros
* many new delicious tastes!
* confidence in healthy ingredients
* I NEVER felt bloated at end of day
* super convenient
* portion control
* relatively low price
* excellent intro to plant-based living
* creaminess is dairy-free!

Cons
* creaminess from high fat nuts
* too many tofu/soy ingredients
* need more bean dishes (non-soy)

I will definitely re-order. These frozen entrées are much more convenient than eating salty take-out. It’s so easy to pop one in the Hot Topic oven in the morning & start eating it at lunch time. One entree per day is sufficient. I just dressed it up with tasty gorilla salad w/ fatfree dressing & starchy side options (rice, beans, potatoes, corn, etc) to stretch it across two delicious meals. With this approach I was never hungry!

To view my full MEAL & WORKOUT SCHEDULE during the ten day PlantPure Nation JumpStart program: CLICK HERE
Day 22 of Year 2 – DAY 31 of Year 2

Here’s a description of all ten jumpstart entrées. CLICK HERE

Here’s where to order: CLICK HERE

To read about the research click here: The China Study