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Tomato Bisque & Plant Foods vs. Animal Foods

by Landon Gilfillan on April 16, 2012

Tomato Bisque Soup & Plant Foods vs. Animal Foods

Recipe #2 in my Eat To Live series is Dr. Fuhrman’s Tomato Bisque soup.  It is delectable – oh my goodness!

I love tomato soup, and although I already have my favorite recipe, I’m always trying new ones just to see if I can make mine any better.

But here’s the crazy thing about this recipe, it contains no refined oils, no salt and no dairy, yet it still tastes amazing!

It uses carrot juice instead of broth and three different types of onions to help the flavor “pop” (see recipe at bottom.)

And if you’re like me, I’m always looking for creative ways to get more vegetables into my family’s mouth, and in particular, my kids.

If my daughter even sees something green, other than peas, the game is over!

So, this is the perfect venue (along with my smoothies) to sneak in all those valuable phytonutrients, fiber, vitamins and minerals (and so much more) that vegetables in their whole form contain.

Fruits, Vegetables, & The American Diet

Fruits, vegetables, legumes, and lentils are such an important part of our diet because they are packed with so much protective goodness.  Sadly, too many people in this country are eating less and less of these powerfully potent foods.

Let me share some shocking statistics with you from the book, Eat to Live, about the way Americans eat these days in regards to fruits, vegetables, and legumes.

  • Americans currently consume about 25.5 percent of their calories from fiberless animal food. [1]
  • They consume another 62 percent from highly processed refined carbohydrates and extracted  oils. [2]
  • Almost half of all vegetables consumed are potatoes, and half of the potatoes consumed are in the form of fries or chips.  (Potatoes are one of the least nutritious vegetables).
  • Americans consume “a mere 5 percent” of their calories from fruits, vegetables, and legumes (excluding  potatoes.) [3]
  • Cheese consumption increased 180 percent between 1970 and 2003, and cheese is the primary source of saturated fats in our  diet. [4]
  • 2/3 of our nation’s cheese production is for commercially prepared foods, such as pizza, tacos, nachos, fast food meals, spreads, sauces, and packaged snacks.

“From convenience foods to fast-food restaurants, our fast-paced society has divorced itself from healthful eating…. Most of us perish prematurely as a result of our dietary folly.”  Dr. Fuhrman

Why do we eat like this?

When did we start eating so much refined and manufactured foods and when did we stop eating the “fruits” of the land?

We’ll delve into those answers another day, but it leads me into this next point, which I find most interesting:

“Populations with low death rates from the major killer diseases [heart attacks, diabetes, strokes, & all cancers] – consume more than 75 percent of their calories from unrefined plant substances.  This is at least ten times more than what the average American consumes.”

Even despite the significant public health problems that plague many of the poorer regions in the world and that cause many premature deaths, the cause-of-death statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) for people between the ages of 55 and 75 show very few cancer death and heart attack deaths in those poor societies.

“Heart attacks and the most common cancers (breast, colon, prostate) are found in rich societies where nutritional extravagance is the rule.”

“No where in the world today can we find a society that combines economic wealth with a high intake and variety of unrefined plant foods.”

I find this highly remarkable and very revealing about our culture.  The wealthier we are, the richer we eat, and by richer, I don’t mean in nutrients!

We eat, therefore we are.

If we were to think about the foods we eat and enjoy on a regular basis, for the most part, what would they consist of?

Dairy? Meat? Refined carbohydrates? Whole grains? Legumes? Fruits?  or Vegetables?

Statistics show that the first three options are definitely the most widely eaten and the last four are the least.

Most people just enjoy animal products and refined foods, and that is their main reason for eating them.  Their low rank on the nutrition scale wouldn’t stop them from partaking.

However, many people believe that dairy and meat are essential foods and you must eat them in order to get enough protein, calcium, and iron into your diet, but I beg to differ with you.

  • On average, 25% of the calories in vegetables are from protein!  Did you know that?
  • Romaine lettuce is rich in both protein and essential fatty acids, along with some other powerhouse veggies.
  • 100 calories of broccoli is about 12 ounces of food, and 100 calories of ground sirloin is just one ounce of food.
  • Most vegetables contain more nutrients per calorie than any other food and are rich in all necessary amino acids.
  • Plant foods play a role in protecting the body against diseases that affect – and kill – at least 500,000 Americans each year (meat and dairy do not.)

Check out the chart below that absolutely blew my mind (and got me very excited!)


Broccoli Steak Romaine Lettuce Kale
Protein 11 g 6 g 7 g 7 g
Calcium 118 mg 2 mg 194 mg 257 mg
Iron 2.2 mg .8 mg 5.7 mg 3.2 mg
Magnesium 46 mg 6 mg 82 mg 64 mg
Potassium 507 mg 74 mg 1,453 mg 814 mg
Fiber 11 g 0 12 g 7.1 g
Phytochemicals Very high 0 Very high Very high
Antioxidants Very high 0 Very high Very high
Folate 200 mcg 2 mcg 800 mcg 46 mcg
Riboflavin .29 mg .06 mg .40 mg .25 mg
Niacin 1.6 mg 1.1 mg 1.8 mg 1.8 mg
Zinc 1.0 mg 1.2 mg 1.4 mg .9 mg
Vitamin C 143 mg 0 141 mg 146 mg
Vitamin A 3609 IU 0 IU 51,232 IU 48,641 IU
Beta-Carotene 2131 mcg 0 30,739 mcg 29, 186 mcg
Vitamin E 4.7 mg .07 mg .76 mg 3.0 mg
Cholesterol 0 22 mg 0 0
Saturated Fat 0 3.1 g 0 0
Weight 12.6 oz 1.0 oz 20.7 oz 12.6 oz


I hate to tell you, but when it comes to nutrient density (including protein, calcium and iron), green vegetables blow steak and other animal products out of the water!

This is just one example of the many others I will share with you over the next few weeks.

I know there are many of you out there who have a very hard time even thinking about decreasing your consumption of or eliminating animal foods all together from your diet.

You’ve eaten them your whole life, you’ve always been told they are good for you, and you enjoy eating them.  Why should you change now?

Many of you either don’t enjoy vegetables at all or just have a hard time incorporating them into your meals without eating the same old boring thing every time.

Change is never easy, especially if it involves something you enjoy.  But if the things you enjoy are possibly costing you your health.  Maybe you should reconsider – at least look at some of the evidence.

I really hope that over the course of the next few weeks, I can open up your mind (and maybe your stomach) to the wonderful world of a plant-based diet, or at least a “plant-increased” diet.

If not for the sheer reason that your health and lifespan depends on you including them in your diet, for the possibility of changing your outlook and your taste buds to enjoy these wonderful foods!

Your body will thank you for it!

I hope you are starting to see the picture, though, for this is only the tip of the iceberg (no pun intended.)

[1] USDA Economic Research Service.  Loss-Adjusted Food Availability.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] USDA Food Availability (per capita) Data System.

[5] Nutritionist Pro Nutrition Analysis Software, Versions 2.5, 3.1, Axxya Systems, Stafford TX, 2006.  Based on USDA standard reference data for cooked frozen broccoli, broiled porterhouse steak and chopped romaine lettuce, and boiled kale.

Tomato Bisque

Yield: 6 servings

Serving Size: 1.5 cups


  • 3 cups carrot juice
  • 1 ½ pounds tomatoes, chopped, or 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, no-salt added or low-sodium (San Marzano variety is best; lower acid and sweeter.)
  • ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • pinch saffron (optional)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme, crumbled
  • 2 Tbsp Dr. Fuhrman’s MatoZest or other no-salt seasoning
  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • 5 ounces fresh baby spinach


  1. In large saucepan, combine all the ingredients except the cashews, basil, and spinach. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Discard the bay leaf. Remove 2 cups of the vegetables with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Puree the remaining soup and cashews in a food processor or high-powered blender until smooth.
  4. Return the reserved vegetables to the pot.
  5. Stir in the basil and spinach and let the spinach wilt.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Marcy April 16, 2012 at 9:37 PM

Landon, Ron and I went cold-turkey into a plant-based diet starting February 1 after Ron had a stent put in his main LAD artery which was 85% blocked. We read a book called “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease” by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn which embraces a plant-based diet, and we haven’t looked back. Ron’s lost 35 pounds and I’ve lost 15. We feel great and love eating all of these delicious and healthy foods. Glad you’re blogging about this…everyone needs to be exposed to this important message!


Landon Gilfillan April 17, 2012 at 4:32 PM

Awesome!! I love hearing success stories, so thank you for sharing yours. :-) Many people are skeptical and/or scared to make the switch, which is understandable. So it’s always exciting to hear when people have found success and fulfillment in the process.

I also think going “cold turkey” is easier because then you’re not facing those foods that you’re trying to avoid on a daily basis. However, for others it’s easier to ease into it as their taste buds slowly adjust. Either way, it’s a step in a healthier direction.

I’d love to hear what recipes you all have been enjoying! Thanks so much for sharing, my friend.


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