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Video: Mayim Bialik chats about vegan lifestyle

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    >>> back now with our series "love your selfie." these days the pressure to be thin comes from everywhere. television, runways and magazine covers.

    >> our "today" aol body image survey shows 80% of teen girls and women wish they could lose weight . here's how our perception has changed over the years. open any magazine, and it's easy to see, thin is in. but that wasn't always the case. diamonds are a girl's best friend

    >> reporter: there was a time when a few extra pounds in all the right places was considered pin-up perfect. so how did we go from this to this? a decade after marilyn famously graced the first cover of "playboy," twiggie hit the scene along with a boyish figure. by the '80s, magazines started emphasizing weight loss , dieting and exercising. and in the 1990s , the waify look made a come back. then the seemingly impossible became ideal. lean with curves, madonna, pamela anderson and cindy crawford . today, we are seeing curves in all the right places. stars like j.lo, proving curvy may be making a comeback. mayim bialik understands the pressure to be thin, starring in "blossom" in the '90s and appearing on "the big bang theory ."

    >> she's here to share her view on body image and also out with a cook book called "mayim's vegan table." we are overloaded with celebrity images so many times, and those us with teenage daughters, we worry about this. you've been, you know, in the media spotlight for a long time. did you feel as you were growing up that pressure to stay thin?

    >> i don't know. i mean, in the '90s on "blossom" from the ages 14 to 19. the industry was different for teenagers then. there wasn't the internet, wasn't this publicity machine putting so much attention on teenage girls to look like adult women. and i think that's one of the big differences i've seen. is now we have all that pressure for teenagers to look like women and the model for women sees to be, yes, thin thin, thin.

    >> in hollywood, there seems to be a standard of beauty. did you feel pressure to look a certain way?

    >> if there was, i didn't do any of the things that would've made me look like other people. i was a funny-looking kid with large features and i was what was considered ethnic when i started acting in the late '80s. kids didn't look like me on television. i didn't have success in commercials and things like that. i got character roles , which is what they call roles for people who don't look like leading girls or leading boys. that's kind of, i guess, been my schtick.

    >> certainly -- look, you are a role model on "the big bang theory " as a smart, funny, young woman . and now it's led you to the vegan table. tell us -- how did you make this journey?

    >> gosh. well, it's been a long journey. after "blossom," i got a ph.d. in neuroscience. i had a career as a scientist, came back to the world of acting after i had my two sons. and i've been vegetarian since i was 19 and vegan's been a slow progression. but raised my boys vegan and this book is literally the recipes that i make for nonvegans that they ask for more of. yes, there are plenty of healthy recipes, but also a lot of fun recipes that have a lot of rich flavors. everyone should be eating more fruits, vegetables, less processed foods . every major medical organization agrees on that whether you're vegan or not. this book is an opportunity to present the things i actually cook that happen to be plant-based that also still have good flavor that won't make people say, like, oh, thanks for that weird vegan --

    >> now the mac & cheese in this.

    >> it's very, very rich. very rich and very delicious.

    >> i make it for my own kids. mayim, thanks very much.

    >> thank you.

    >> and we look forward to "the big bang theory ."

    >> yes, that happened the valentine's episode. there may be more. who knows.

    >> check out recipes from her book, by the way, today.com. tomorrow on "loving your selfie," we'll talk about aging gracefully.

TODAY recipes
updated 2/21/2014 4:31:16 PM ET 2014-02-21T21:31:16

Recipe: Vegan reuben sandwiches

  • Thousand island dressing
  • 1/3 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons dill pickles, diced sautéed onions
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 slices vegan rye bread
  • 8 slices vegan bacon
  • 2 tablespoons vegan margarine
  • 1 cup sauerkraut, drained

To make the dressing:

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl.

To make the onions:

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic, bay leaves, paprika, caraway seeds, dill, salt, vinegar, tamari and pepper. Add the water and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated. Remove the bay leaves.

To assemble each sandwich:

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Spread two slices of the bread with margarine. Grill in a small skillet, margarine side down, for 3 minutes on one side only. Repeat with the remaining slices of bread.

Spread the dressing on the ungrilled sides of two slices of toast. Add the sauerkraut, two pieces of vegan bacon, and the sautéed onions.

Serving Size

Makes 4 sandwiches

Recipe: Deep dark chocolate cookies

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cups vegan bittersweet chocolate chips
  • Egg replacer equivalent of 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray two large baking sheets with the cooking spray.

2. Melt 1 cup of the chocolate chips in a small glass bowl in the microwave, stirring twice, about 2 minutes. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Let cool for about 5 minutes.

3. Place the egg replacer in a small bowl, and gradually beat 1 cup of the confectioners’ sugar into it. Continue beating until the mixture resembles soft marshmallow creme, 2 to 3 minutes.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup of the sugar and the cocoa, cornstarch and salt.

5. With an electric mixer on low speed, beat the dry ingredients into the egg replacer mixture.

6. Stir in the lukewarm chocolate and remaining ®ˆ cup of chocolate chips (the dough will become very stiff).

7. Place the remaining 1/2  cup of confectioners’ sugar in a shallow bowl. Roll rounded tablespoonfuls of the dough into balls. Roll the balls in the sugar, coating thickly. Place the cookie balls 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until puffed and the tops crack, about 10 minutes.

8. Leaving the cookies on the baking sheets, let the pans cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Transfer the cookies to racks and let cool completely, about 30 minutes.

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