I Graduated from the Forks Over Knives Online Cooking Course!
During the summer of 2019, I started a new 90-day adventure by taking the Forks Over Knives Cooking plant-based cooking course. I will admit I was a little nervous since I was not the primary cook in the house, but I knew we needed to improve our overall cooking skills. Despite our best efforts, we were still finding ourselves in somewhat of a rut with cooking the same things over mainly because of our lack of cooking skills. This also led to continued dependence on processed foods.
While neither Larissa nor I follow a strict vegan diet (and still don’t) we do both strongly believe that animal-based and processed food diets lead to many of the chronic diseases people are suffering from today. We also believe that one can reverse chronic diseases by following a plant-based diet so I had some great motivation going into this course! Not to mention, the film “Forks Over Knives” was one of the documentaries we saw early on in our switch to a vegetarian lifestyle!
In Episode 265 – Forks Over Knives Update (July 15, 2018) I provided you all with a quick update with respect to how I was doing and what I was learning. This past week I just graduated from the Forks Over Knives Cooking course, having successfully completed all activities and assignments, to finally get the Basic Food Hygiene Certificate. Here is a summary of what we discuss in the podcast.
The course is set-up in 9 units as follows:
- Getting set up
- Knives and Knife Cuts
- Basic Cooking Methods Steaming and preserving vegetables, cooking in water.
- Basic Cooking Methods Part 2. Dry heat cooking (caramelizing, sauteing, pan tossing, roasting, braising, and combo cooking methods).
- Batch cooking. Stir fry, salads, preparing veggies in advance. Rice, grains and legumes.
- Flavor Balancing and Seasoning. Forks over knives is all about foods with flavor!
- Plant Based Staples Shopping List.
- Daily Meal Inspiration.
- Final Assessment. The final exam and a BUNCH of resources!
My 5 Big Takeaways
1. The Forks Over Knives Mindset
- Think about food as a whole package of nutrients rather than as getting certain nutrients from one food. If you live and eat according to a whole foods plant-based lifestyle, you will get all of the nutrients you need (with the exception of B12).
2. Good Kitchen Equipment Can Make a HUGE Difference!
- One of the activities we did was a “kitchen reset” which entailed stocking the staples (such as stock, spices, etc.). There was a big focus on organization, which I totally understood as the course went on. Being organized helps you focus on the food,
- Knives are some of the most important pieces of equipment in your kitchen. You don’t have to buy the best but buy the best that you can. It really does make a difference!
3. Mise en Place – The French Culinary Term for “Setting in Place
- Since taking this course, Larissa and a whole new podcast on the concept of mise en place because it was a HUGE takeaway for me. Listen to it here.
- Mise en Place refers to the act of gathering and prepping (i.e. Slicing, dicing, etc) so that you’re all set to go as the cooking begins. This helps you focus on the process of cooking and the food itself.
- Mise en Place also helps to minimize the risk of cross-contamination.
4. Cooking Without Oil. Yes, It’s Possible!
- This was the concept that I was probably the most skeptical about but yes, now I am a believer in the idea that cooking without oil is possible!
- The trick to sauteing and caramelizing is constant movement and high heat! In order to de-glaze your pan, all you need is some water or cooking wine.
5. Welcome to Flavor Country!
- A lot of people think of plant-based food being bland but really, there can be some amazing depth to the flavors when you learn how to properly cook with them and mix them together.
- There is a whole section of the course dedicated to flavors. The five flavors discussed were sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami. Umami is particularly important to adding flavor in plant-based cooking.
- Plant-based sources of umami include:
- Soy sauce
- Braggs Aminos
- Nutritional Yeast
- Fermented foods like Kimchi or Sauerkraut
- Umeboshi Plums
Would I Take the Forks Over Knives Course Again?
Absolutely! I thought the course was very well laid out and the feedback from the instructors was great! Honestly I wasn’t sure what to expect from an online cooking course but the material was great and I walked away learning a LOT!
To hear us discuss these takeaways, check out this episode of our podcast!
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Recipe of the Week (Yes! It’s a Forks Over Knives Recipe!):
Resource of the Week:
More Resources and Sources Cited:
- The Forks Over Knives Online Cooking Course
- The Meadow (Gourmet Salts)
- What is Gourmet Salt?
- High Carb Hannah
- Vegan Zombie
- Cheap Lazy Vegan
- Viet Vegan
Thanks for listening!
Peace, love, and veggies,
Vickie and Larissa