The Bones Have It!

Talk about nutrient dense! What could be better than bone broth? food-talk-4-u-grandmother-cookingDo you know why? Yes, Mom gave us chicken broth when we were under the weather, but did you know that savory bone broth just might keep you out of “bad weather”?

Particularly in terms of osteoporosis? Being gluten and grain free enables our bodies to better absorb calcium and other minerals because there are no phytates blocking that process. (1) So, bring on rich bone broth as something just to drink everyday as many are doing, but also as a basis for some yummy soup.

chicken-shot-21Honestly, there are so many wonderful foods we can be eating every day, I have a hard time fitting them all in; but I do try to whip up a vat of sturdy bone broth at least once or twice a month. In the fall I use ox tails, but right now it’s chicken!

Right here, I have to make an addendum before going to the recipe below. Is it broth or is it stock? I have just finished ready several postings from about the web and rather than having things clarified, the issue is even murkier than before. So to avert a landslide of bad press, I am sharing a recipe that cooks meat-laden bones and flavor-enhancing vegetables for a while, removing the meat and returning bones for a lengthy simmer for the purpose of making a soup base. Call it what you will.

I have learned today of another way to do things by just using bones

Ox tail bones
Ox tail bones

for the sole purpose of making a perfectly clear ‘broth’ that may be even healthier. According to Summer Brock’s recent post, she parboils the bones-only broth for a few minutes and discards the water before the 24-48 hour boil and simmer in a new vat of water. This eliminates some of the foam junk that accumulates in the beginning that may be not that beneficial to consume. This method renders a very rich ‘broth’ that can be the base for some Pho or just used as a daily bone-boosting beverage.

Having said all that, I have adapted a recipe by Kelly Bejelly (in her blog A Girl Worth Saving) for Chicken and Dumplings by adding a couple ingredients, vastly extending the cooking time, and staging things differently because of the more beneficial cook time. When these bones are finished, the cartilage at the end of the bones has turned to jelly and the ends of the longer bones are practically falling off!

chicken-feet-1024x680Bones are the operand word here; bones, joints, necks, and –yes- chicken feet! OMG! You may say, but it’s true! I actually have run out of chicken feet for this batch, but they are easily found at a Piggly Wiggly grocery store. Buy a bag of chicken feet, use 3-4 and freeze the rest! This may be the part of the soup making process you need to hide from your family. We are not going to eat those poor feet, but they add so much gelatin and collagen which makes bone broth worth its weight in gold!

Chicken and Nut Dumpling Soup

To make the broth:

Chicken parts – This time, I used 4 leg/thigh quarters, 2 wings, back and rib bones (saved the breast meat for kabobs)

1 ½ – 2 tsp. of poultry seasoning

1 tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. freshly ground pepper

2 Tbs. gelatin dissolved and stirred into ½ cup water

2 carrots peeled and cut into large pieces

½ onion cut into large pieces

3 ribs of celery cut into large pieces

Your soup pot should look something like this:

Cover contents with water – it took 10 cups for me – and add about 2 Tbsp. of apple cider vinegar. The vinegar helps to break down the bones and to release their minerals.

food-talk-4-u-soup-simmeringBring to a gentle boil, reduce to a simmer, and forget about it for 3 hours. At this point, I use a slotted spoon to bring the meat/bones out into a bowl. Let the meat/bones cool, and remove most of the meat but return all bones and clumps of cartilage to the broth. Save the cooked chicken meat to finish the soup or to use for other purposes. The bones should continue to cook for a total of at least 12 hours. With my sensitive sense of smell, I am not a fan of over-night cooking, but if you are not bothered by cooking aromas in your sleep, go for it. I usually cook several hours one day, cool off the pot, and place it in the refrigerator until next days’ simmer.

Once the bones are falling apart, strain the broth using a colander or sieve and a large bowl or another soup pot. Discard the bones and the way-over-cooked veggies. You could stop here and just drink a cup – full of broth every day; many do. If you want to go on to soup, keep cooking!

To make the soup

Cut into your favorite soup-sized pieces:

2-3 carrots

½ onion

2-3 ribs of celery

Cut up and add as much of the cooked chicken meat as you like at this time, using the rest for other purposes such as chicken salad.
Add to pot of broth to simmer. Adjust seasonings to your taste.

While the veggies are cooking, prepare the Nut Dumplings as follows:

1/3 cup of broth, cooled

½ cup Tapioca flour

1 ½ cups of sliced or slivered almonds, preferably have been soaked and dehydrated to inactivate the phytates which will make the broth’s mineral richness more absorbable to the body.

½ tsp. sea salt

½ tsp. poultry seasoning

kneading_doughPlace the Tapioca flour, almonds, salt, and seasoning into a food processor or blender and process until the nuts are pretty much like flour. With the machine running, gradually add the cooled broth to the flour mixture until you have soft dough. Shape the dumplings to your preferred size by scooping out a spoonful of dough into your hands and gently rolling into balls. I like making really small ones, pinching off a bit of dough using an iced teaspoon, and dropping it into the pot.

Bring the soup to a low boil, and add shaped dumplings gradually. At this point, you could also add some quick-cooking vegetables as well: small broccoli florets, zucchini or summer squash. I also add a lot of fresh parsley leaves, chopped, at this time for added richness!

When veggies and dumplings are cooked, serve and garnish with added parsley if desired. Bon appetite!

Deidre

(1) The Paleo Solution, Robb Wolf, pg. 93

End of Detox But Not the End of Clean Eating

Let’s summarize what we are doing and where we are. We are creating and following The Plan of eating, learning how to do The Moves in exercise, and embracing The Life that will bring us renewed health with each meal and with each day’s activities. We are taking ownership of food-talk-4-u-child-cherrieseverything we put into our body, realizing that what we have been told in the past about nutrition (whole grain, low fat, high carb, count calories, eat less and exercise more) is probably where our troubles started in the first place.

For the first ten days of The Plan in the detox phase, we’ve ditched the sugar, dairy, gluten, grains, alcohol, and caffeine! Congrats if you were able to go all the way with this! I had a slip or two, but it’s okay; this is something I am doing for no one else but myself! I can live with it!

I truly hope you were able to decrease your dependence on sugar, and that living without constant bread and starches has opened up a whole new world of satisfyingfood-talk-4-u-brain-fog eating.

The point is how do you feel? How are your energy levels? Has the brain fog lifted? Has joint pain gone? Is your belly happy? Are you sleeping better? Have more bounce to your step? I hope so!

Now the detox has ended, clean eating has not! That should be part of your life plan anyway! What is needed now is perhaps a bit of liberality still within making nutrient dense food choices that will “do your body good.” We are always looking for ways to cram in as many nutrients (protein, good fats, and veggies) into all recipes.

Having wiped the slate clean and having gofood-talk-4-u-kerrygold-irish-buttertten reacquainted with how your body functions without food pollution, you can try singular items every few days in order to assess how you react. Easy does it, one thing at a time. Make a small step towards dairy; see if you can tolerate ghee (clarified butter) without experiencing any gastric distress.

This ghee was given to me. I will probably have to order it online. Then use some pure, clean butter made solely from grass-fed cows. I use Kerrygold brand which is available from Harris Teeter. Nothing can add more lusciousnefood-talk-4-u-grass-fed-cows-Rss to lightly steamed broccoli than some real butter! Oh, my!

If you want to continue into the dairy world, a few days later, try some unsweetened low fat Greek yogurt. The low fat yogurt concept was explained to me this week; usually clean eating never shies away from good fats. Good fats include avocado, extra virgin olive oil, fat from grass-fed meat, dairy fats from grass-fed cows, nuts and seeds, and chocolate. Most low fat products just add sugar to keep that “bliss point” in thfood-talk-4-u-yogurte flavor palate. But non-fat plain Greek yogurt has way more protein in it than full fat yogurt so – Yay! Bring it on! I currently am using regularly available store-bought Greek yogurt; if I had access to yogurt from pasture-fed cows, I’d do it!

Here’s what I did with my yogurt yesterday. Is it a pudding? A cold cereal? Or, if slightly frozen, is it ice cream? I don’t know, but it is certainly helping me as a nighttime snack and could help others who do not feel like traditional breakfast food.

In Advance –

food-talk-4-u-chiaUsually I do this each night after cleaning up dinner’s dishes or right before bed – presoak the chia seeds and flax seeds in water. Presoaking these seeds at least a few hours allows them to swell up as they absorb the water. These seeds are a great source of fiber, but to benefit by them, you want the water absorption to happen before they get into you, lest the ‘helpers’ actually cause constipation by absorbing water in your intestines! These seeds also are wonderful sources of good omega-3 fatty acids and ramp up the protein count whenever you use them. I prepare chia and flax seeds daily not knowing exactly where they will end up- usually a smoothie, as a thickener to sauces, but sometimes like this in a Berry Blend!food-talk-4-u-berry-chia-2

Also a few minutes in advance while you are getting the ingredients together- gradually stir the gelatin into about a half cup of cold water for one minute. If you rush this, trust me, you will end up with weird shapes of hard ‘stuff’ in your final food product! Gross!

Creamy Berry and Seed Blend

Place the following ingredients in a food processor or blender:

2 – 5+ ounce containers of non-fat Greek yogurt

food-talk-4-u-strawberry1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Vanilla extract to taste

1 coffee scoop EACH of chia seeds and flax seeds, whole or ground, soaked in 1 cup water

2 Tablespoons of gelatin stirred into ½ cup water for one minute
Blend, blend, blend.

Transfer to a container and pop into the refrigerator for a few hours.

That’s it! Today’s breakfast consisted of some reheated leftover okra, a bit of leftover zoodles and shrimp cooked infood-talk-4-u-bbq-sauce pesto, and for dessert, a bowl of this Berry Blend. Yum!

Next post will be about other high-nutrition options along with a great barbeque sauce recipe that has no sugar in it and is bursting with flavor!

Please subscribe to this blog so you can join our growing community of people who are learning how to get better health one meal at a time. By subscribing, you will receive an email notice alerting you to each new post. Your address is never shared with others. Your comments and questions are always appreciated. For more lengthy or personal comments, you may reach me at foodtalk4you@gmail.com.

Deidre

Day 8 of The Plan

I have two recipes for you that will fit both into the detox phase, (gluten, grain, dairy, sugar, and caffeine free); but also into the overall life plan of being gluten free.

Food-Talk-4-U-melon

 

First, I created an awesome smoothie combination which resulted in one of my all-time favorite blends of flavors just this past week after discovering mini melons at the fresh produce stand!

 

Here it is:

Melon-Mint-Coconut Smoothie

In blender put:

4-5 cubes ice

20-25 fresh mint leaves

¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut flakes

1 peeled, seeded, and cut up mini melon – they are the size of a baseball and have light-colored flesh

2 scoops of whey protein

Big handful of greens – I used that mix of baby kale, chard, spinach, and carrot from Sam’s

Few drops of vanilla extract to taste

A pinch of salt, if desired

A sprinkle of cardamom to taste

Enough unsweetened coconut milk to make things flow

Blend. Pour. Enjoy.Food-talk-4-u-gravy

This was enough for now and later!

Being gluten-free created a bit of a vacuum in terms of gravy. You know…good ol’ gravy? That was until I read a recipe in Penzeys’ catalogue last year! Oh, it looked and sounded so good! Could it really fill the bill? Well, I gave it a crack and, lo and behold, it really did the trick for me, was so easy to prepare, reheats well, and I usually keep some frozen.

Food-talk-4-u-cashews

Behold, Cashew Gravy:

Cashew Gravy

Ingredients:

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

3 large onions diced

¾ cup cashew butter (You can buy this nut butter found next to peanut butter at the store, or you can make it yourself by grinding cashews in the food processor- that’s what I do.)

½ cup wheat-free tamari

2 ½ cups water

¼ tsp. pepper

¼ tsp. ground sage or Penzey’s Mural of Flavor

Method:Food-talk-4-u-onion

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until caramel in color, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. As the onions become browner, stir more frequently. Add the cashew butter, tamari, water, and spices and cook until heated through.
Place in blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Be careful with blending as hot liquids tend to foam up—fill only halfway.

Food-talk-4-u-turkeyI have used this gravy on beef, turkey, and lamb. It would also work with chicken, I am sure. So if you feel like pouting because you don’t have a bun to go with that burger, don’t! Use some of this luscious gravy and the others around the table will get jealous! With this good gravy, I don’t even want a gluten free bun— just too much bread (read carbs). Makes me want to run to the store to get some extra onions sFood-talk-4-u-ttapp-1o I can replace my gravy stock!

Speaking of running….How is exercise going for you? Have you tried any slow-motion squats? I am expanding upon my newly formed habit of doing a bent-knee plank during coffee brewing time, (my husband is still drinking coffee), and have added 6 slow squats this morning.

While waiting for the last of the brewing to finish, I added arm circles but with a twist. I learned from doing T-Tapp exercises (more on those later) that a big change in arm dynamics can come about with just a turn of the palm. Instead of arm circles with palms down, turn your palms up facing the ceiling and bring your arms as far back as comfortably possible! Really cool!

For standing exercises like this, according to T-Tapp, the proper stance is feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, tuck pelvis in, suck tummy in, shoulders back! Really works for better posture and general body dynamics.

The also works with progressive arm “flaps” where-by you pump your out-stretched arms at your side with palms up. Start by standing with arms straightened out as if you were making the letter ‘T’. Bring arms as far back as you can comfortably with palms up. Lower your arms just a third of the way down for 6-8 reps, then continue lowering and raising them about two thirds of the way down for 6-8 reps, then bring arms all the way down your side and back straight out for 6-8 reps. All done with palms facing up! I loved returning to this old exercise.

Attractive Frustrated Hispanic Woman Tied Up With Tape Measure Against a White Background.A gentle wake up and body activation all done while the java was brewing. Such a schedule is easier for me to maintain because that time is a fixed allotment every morning; it’s already there to make use of without scheduling something special later in the day.

Hope you enjoy these recipes and exercises! If you have any questions or comments, please do so below, and remember to share your success with others! You are doing great!

Deidre

In Times of Stress

What do you do in times of stress? How do you recover? What calms you? Where do you find peace?

I have disappeared because of a heightened family medical situation Food-talk-4-u-stress-1that has certainly taken a toll on all of us. The crisis of the other day is over, but we are facing the new “normal” and anticipating more downward changes. What was a logical future weakness has arrived and is no longer theoretical. Four and a half hours in medical offices one day, followed by appointments the next, really takes a toll.

Food-talk-4-u-stress-5My starch is all gone. Recharging is needed. Caregivers need to take care of themselves in order to take care of the loved one.

Reaching out to family and friends is vital to staying grounded, don’t you think? There are things you do not share with family, though, and that’s where friends come in! Thank God for both family and friends! Thank God for life and love itself!

I have had to step back from posting because, well, there was no time left, let alone energy. That is still somewhat the case. Food-Talk-4-U-squirrel

I regroup in God’s creation as seen from my back porch! Feeding humming birds, cardinals, blue jays, mocking birds, and the like, as well as my beloved squirrels, is what keeps me smiling! Porch time is definitely needed. Being outdoors, watching, and listening to the plentiful activity is “soul sauce” for me!

Food-Talk-4-U-scrambled-eggsKnowing stress really takes a toll on everyone experiencing it, makes me even more mindful of feeding my body only nutrient-dense food. This is no time for junk food… Not that there ever is any around here! Big Egg Scramble this morning with…You guessed it…Left over zoodles! Still lots of fresh veggies to go with lean protein at night. Never, ever any gluten!

Exercise should not be throwcaregiver-hin out the door, either! Sometimes exercise is just what is needed to get the blood stirring around a little bit better and to engage the mind on something else. I literally have just paused from writing this and come back from doing 6 slow-motion non-weighted squats; ten count down, ten count hold, ten count up. Didn’t want to do it, but I feel better now! So simple. If the temperature outside doesn’t get to unbearable today, I’ll go for a walk, too.

Food-talk-4-u-stress-2Since the detox phase is breadless even if the bread is gluten-free, I will share with you an awesome all-purpose gravy recipe that goes great on all kind of meat. That will be in the next post.

Now, off to the porch for prayers of thanksgiving and to soak up God’s creation!

Deidre

Day Two of The Plan

Last night’s half-serving of smoothie held me so well that I wasn’t Food-talk-4-u-the-plan-day-2-1even hungry for breakfast at all, so I didn’t eat until lunch and enjoyed a crouton-free chicken salad mixture on a salad with tomato, cucumber, and bell pepper at a favorite local restaurant. Salt, pepper, and a splash or two of balsamic vinegar were all that was needed on top. It was so satisfying and I still have a bit of the chicken left over for later. Dinner tonight will be leftovers from last night’s shrimp, chicken, asparagus, artichoke heart, and olive sauté served over zoodles.

Food-Talk-4-U-exercise-3Years ago I read an article, probably in the Reader’s Digest, describing the merits of exercising slowly. For instance, if you are lifting weights to exercise your biceps (arm curls), instead of going at things quickly and trying to get as many repetitions, (reps), and sets done as possible, the better method would be to do the movements very slowly and do fewer reps. Why? Well, that articleFood-talk-4-u-weights and others that I am reading right now suggest, in moving a weight slowly, more muscle fibers are called in to get the job done. Try it. Flex your elbow holding a modest weight (3, 5, or 10 lbs.) and do it five times fairly quickly. Should be not a problem. You could go on for quite a few reps. Now, using that same weight, flex your arm very slowly taking a count of 10 to get to the fully-flexed position and then slowly extend your arm taking a count of 10 to get almost fully extended. Repeat for a total of five times. You should certainly feel the dramatic difference that slow movement creates!

Food-Talk-4-U-clockWhat I am studying now indicates, shorter, slower workouts are much more effective—to the point that they only need to be done 10 minutes ONCE a week. That 10 minutes will not necessarily be a walk in the park; doing slower exercises can and should be a challenge. If 5-6 reps doesn’t tire you out, then the resistance needs to be increased—that’s the weight. If you can hardly complete the 5 reps, then maybe you need to start at a lower weight. Safety is first at all times. If a 2 lb. weight is what you need to start, then that’s fine. An extremely short period of intensity ONCE a week is fine by me!

This can all be done at home with weights easily bought at the store. Food-talk-4-u-exercise-1There will come a point when I will need to transfer my efforts to a machine at a gym to help me increase the weight/resistance. But, for now, no daily trudging to the gym; and when I do decide to go to a gym, it will be a brief period once a week. I am learning there are only a few moves that we need to do that will incorporate the major muscle groups which will, in turn, take care of trouble spots, even without addressing them directly.

Remember always to consult a health professional before starting any kind of exercise program. Each one of us has certain limitations, and your health professional will be able to guide you. I am merely sharing what I am doing according to what I have learned.

Food-Talk-4-U-squat-2One move that I will cover today is the squat. At first, you may need no weight at all, and in fact, you may need to be near a chair or counter in case you need added stability. Without a weight, a squat is done standing with feet spaced under your shoulders and arms extended out in front of you. Bend at the knee and hip, and as you begin to lower yourself into a sitting position, keep your knees no further forward than your toes. You lower yourself, optimally, until your thighs are parallel to the floor, but that may take practice. Just be comfortable and safe.

So right now, the weight you are dealing with is just yours. Do a few squats at regular speed just to get the hang of it. Now do them slowly: a ten-count down and a ten-count up. It’s a whole different game, now, isn’t it? Once your own weight does not challenge you for 6 reps, add a modest weight, holding it to your chest with both hands. Notch up the weight when six slow reps no longer challenge you. At the end of six slow reps, the goal is to have maxed-out your ability to do anymore. Not to kill you; but you certainly should know “that was enough.”

Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and a full series of basic exercises is to be done only once a week. We’ll cover another move in a few days.

Off to do some slow-motion squats!

Deidre

(1) Jonathan Bailor, The Calorie Myth

Day 1 of The Plan

 

With a cup of hot mint tea, I greet you!

photo(1)My breakfast was two scrambled eggs with a splash of unsweetened coconut milk, salt, pepper, and Bavarian Seasoning for special flavor. As a side dish, I also sautéed some fresh okra in some ghee. Ghee is clarified butter with the solids removed. The solids are photo(3)usually what cause the upset for those using dairy. Make sure your ghee is made from grass fed cow’s butter for maximum benefit. I used to think that all okra needed to be breaded, Southern style, and deep fried, but no! They are wonderful just sliced and browned in a minimum of oil or fat and are a wonderful side dish to scrambled eggs.

Lunch looks like it will be a green smoothie made with ½ banana, ½ avocado, big handful of baby kale medley, whey protein, sweet spices, and vanilla, along with enough unsweetened coconut milk, to make things blend right. Leftover smoothie will be my after-dinner snacphoto(5)k — I just can’t seem to shake wanting to have something to eat nearer bedtime. I know…people say not to eat for several hours before bed but there you are.

photo(14)Dinner will generate lots of left-overs so tomorrow’s cooking will be easier—just a re-heat. Tonight, I will sauté some shrimp in pesto, add some cut up rotisserie chicken meat, olives, artichoke hearts, lightly sautéed asparagus, and serve over zoodles cooked in pesto! Might throw in some farmer’s market fresh tomato chunks just for added color and taste! If that isn’t enough, there’s a green salad with my name on it! I won’t leave hungry! The combination of protein and veggies works equally well thrown into a salad rather than on zoodles, too, if you would rather do it that way.

Today, I would like to share with you how to crisp nuts. Raw nuts need to be sort of…  I hate to say … processed … in order to be more agreeable to our digestive tracts. See, animals protect themselves from prey by running. What do fruits, vegetables, and nuts do to protect themselves from being eaten? They have outer coverings that are disagreeable to those eating Food-talk-4-u-nuts-2jpegthem. The coverings of nuts and grains are made of phytic acid (phytates). These phytates are the storage form of phosphorus and they actually bind to the minerals we ingest making them un-absorbable by our digestive tract; meaning, we will not absorb zinc, calcium, magnesium or the like.

Nuts and seeds apparently have enzyme inhibitors that prevent pre-mature sprouting. These enzyme inhibitors are also difficult for us to digest. This can be the reason we often have unhappy bellies or even bowels after eating unprocessed or not neutralized nuts. (1)

Neutralizing the phytates is the goal because we humans lack the enzyme necessary to do it on our own. How to do that? Soak in a brine, sprout, and/or ferment nuts and seeds and then dehydrate them.

Here’s how:

Dissolve 2-3 tablespoons of sea salt in a bowl with enough water to keep nuts covered.

Soak raw almonds, pecans, walnuts, or hazelnuts for 8-12 hours.

Soak raw cashews 3-6 hours.

Food-Talk-4-U-nutsDrain and rinse nuts. I spread my soaked nuts out on a bath towel dedicated for this purpose. Nuts may stain the towel; which, by the way, is also my zoodle-drying towel. Roll them up for a bit, and put them on their drying trays in a single layer.

For a dehydrator, set the temperature at 105 degrees and dehydrate for 12-14 hours.

Using an oven, set oven at lowest temperature possible, (varies by make/model), and dehydrate for several hours, stirring and testing for doneness every hour.

The results will amaze you! Crispy and light! So much easier on the digestive system! A nut that will work with your body and not against it!

food-talk-4-you-happyCongratulations and best wishes on giving your body a break from gluten, dairy, sugar, and caffeine!

Tomorrow, I will start sharing what I’ve learned about how to get more out of less exercise! How cool is that? Exercise is my personal weakness in terms of consistency, so the benefit of “The Move” portion of this self-improvement will definitely start right here with me, too!

Let’s do this together! Leave a comment on how you are doing and join our community by subscribing.

Stay cool –

Deidre

(1) Realfoodforager.com

At the Starting Gate!

Getting so ready for The Plan that I’ve practically started it already! food-talk-4-u-mint-waterI almost reached for a beverage tonight that would only have added sugar to my blood stream, so I grabbed the big pitcher full of mint water instead! That was a major victory for me!

So, what’s for breakfast tomorrow?

There are two approaches:

Something with eggs or a smoothie.

Food-Talk-4-U-eggsMy personal favorite is a Big Scramble: Two eggs whipped up with salt, pepper, and a splash of unsweetened coconut milk, (So Delicious is the brand I use) poured into the pan in which I have already re-heated some left-over zoodles or cooked some minimally-processed sausage, along with some sautéed mushrooms. Basically, any non-starchy vegetable will Food-Talk-4-U-salmondo. That’s where variety comes in. Sometimes I will reheat some left-over salmon along with some leafy greens before adding the egg mixture. Other times, I will pan fry some okra first as a side dish to the eggs. As long as there is a veggie in there somewhere. Spices also create variety. Penzy’s spices has a Bavarian Seasoning that I just love to add to eggs. Sometimes it’s their Mural of Flavor seasoning. Any way you cut it, that’s a nutrient-dense meal that will last for hours and not cause blood sugar spikes.

Food-Talk-4-U-beet-smoothieSmoothies are perfect for breakfast or lunch. My previous article on smoothies will give you a start. If you are blessed with the mother-of-all-blenders: the Vita-Mix (oooo-ahhhh), then the sky is the limit! My daughter has access to one and she is whipping up smoothies with beets and carrots; but a good quality, general kind of blender (like mine……) will probably do best with ½ cup of fruit, a couple handfuls of greens, whey protein, some fluid, ice, and sweet spices.

Note to self: Ask Santa for a Vita-Mix!

What’s for lunch?

Smoothies are transportable in wide-mouth mason jars which can be taken to work, kept in the refrigerator, shaken up, and enjoyed at any time.

Food-Talk-4-U-salad-carrots-gingerLunch can also be a giant salad. My favorite greens actually come from Sam’s and are Taylor Farms Organic Power Greens Kale Medley of baby spinach, kale, chard, and carrots. Cooked, served raw in a salad, or blended in a smoothie, these greens really do the job! So tasty!

What goes into the salad needs to be nutrient-dense and hage-avocado-vrijstnon-starchy. We are not talking pasta salad here! Good fats are essential for a better balance of omega 3s to omega 6s. (We generally get way too many omega 6s in the Standard American Diet.) Avocado is stellar in that department along with olives, olive oil, and crunchy nuts.

Food-talk-4-u-tunaSo what else? We need some protein! I usually grab whatever left-over meat I have and add that sliced or chopped to my salad, or use some canned tuna. After that, you can add salt, pepper, and avocado oil to call it done, or you can expand with carrots, mushrooms, bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, and perhaps a small handful of berries…. Go for the colors; the more, the better! The dressing can be as simple as avocado oil only, or balsamic vinegar only, or olive oil and vinegar. Just none of that creamy stuff from a bottle made from who-knows-what and has a highly processed “Frankenoil” at its heart.

The basic rule?

full-bellyEat until you are full! Personally, two eggs are fine for me at breakfast, but some people need more. Do not leave a meal hungry. When I make a smoothie, I usually have leftovers that will be my go-to snack later in the day. Eat enough protein and non-starchy veggies at dinner to fill you up!

What’s for dinner?

Protein, non-starchy veggies, and good fat. Nothing is breaded—we will learn about gluten-free breading later. Just wonderful meat, poultry, fish, or seafood. Grill something; so easy to do this time of year!

Stir up some zoodles with pesto, steam some broccoli. How about some Food-talk-4-u-sesame-oilbaby greens in olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil?  Sauté some Brussels sprouts in olive or avocado oil, season, then finish cooking by steaming on low with a lid on the pan. For a special treat, finish your veggies with some toasted sesame oil! Yum…I could drink that stuff!

chinese-herbal-teaSpeaking of which, what’s to drink?

During the initial ten-day detox phase of The Plan: Anything with no caffeine, alcohol, or added sugar. That’s why the post on flavored water the other day. Herbal teas make delightful hot or cold beverages, as well.

Snacks?

Is it possible to be hungry between these meals? Well, once in a while I am, so here are some options that work for me:

– Left-over smoothie
– Hard-boiled egg
– Small handful of crunchy nuts
– Sliced avocado with lemon pepper
– Spoonful of almond butter

After the 10-day detox period, a piece of 70% or greater dark chocolate! Oh, yeah!

Tomorrow, I will describe how to turn an average nut into something that is easier to digest and allows for better absorption of nutrients: Crunchy Nuts.

Here’s to giving our bodies a rest from the constant assault of artificial ingredients. A time to re-set our metabolism and digestion. A time to heal from inflammation-causing foods.

Talk to you tomorrow!

Deidre

The Countdown Continues – Need Another Reason to Eat Cleaner?

With the kick-off start date to “The Plan” fast approaching (Monday, July 7th), let’s hope we do not get any major delays due to any ill Food-talk-4-u-hateffects of Hurricane Arthur swinging by our coast. May all be safe, and as the Governor said yesterday, “Don’t wear a stupid hat!” Ocean waves may beckon but the undertow and rip currents are stronger than all of us! When approaching a flooded intersection: “Turn around, don’t drown!”

Food-talk-4-u-pulpDid you catch the story featured on MSN News this week? It appears there is yet another reason to going paperless when paying our bills and in receiving various statements, than just in saving the trees and our environment from the pollution it makes to create paper. Trees need to be saved for something else!Food-talk-4-u-hamburger

There’s tree pulp in a great deal of the fast food we are consuming. Yup! Oh, it’s not called a pine bark burger or a maple tree smoothie, but the tree pulp is there!

How? It sneaks in under various guises: cellulose gum, cellulose powder, powdered cellulose, but it is wood pulp all the same. This non-absorbable fiber provides anti-caking properties (aka: anti-caking agent), acts as an emulsion-stabilizing agent, and improves cling (how creamy stuff stays together).

Food-talk-4-u-disgustingWhat this is to the fast food industry is cheap filler that enables them to increase profits by decreasing the real/costly ingredients such as chicken and cream. Are you saying “yuck” yet?

The article cited studies that suggest adverse effects on cholesterol. Who knows what will follow?

It turns out McDonalds is the biggest offender with 14 menu items Food-talk-4-u-treecontaining this wood pulp, followed by: Burger King at 13, Wendy’s at 10, Taco Bell at 9, and Hardees coming in at 6 menu items.

So those special, re-invented buns we’re seeing, creamy cheeses and sauces, cakes, smooth shakes, fries (that do not stick together), meats….just about anything… have been made, err formulated in a chemistry lab, to what?…Taste better?…Seriously?….Be more healthy?…Come on! To be more PROFITABLE for THEM!

 

Listen up America! Save a tree! Eat REAL food! Save YOURSELF!
Deidre

Counting Down to “The Plan” – With Oodles of Zoodles!

food-talk-4-u-hand-peeler-r
Hand Grater

Eating well does not require all kinds of gadgetry so don’t let a limited supply of “things” hold you back from enjoying the wonders of non-packaged foods.

I will be frequently referring to “zoodles”—my “go-to” for non-starchy noodles, and they can be created many ways. Please see my previous post here to learn more about using zoodles. With farmer’s markets brimming at the seams with all kinds of summer squash, what better time to make zoodles?

A simple hand grater will not give you luscious long strands of zoodles but most people have one in their kitchen supplies and will give them some semblance of a short noodle.

food-talk-4-u-hand-peeler-r-2
Micro Planer

Using a micro-planer will result in zoodles; but using one really scares me even with using the vegetable gripper provided—which is lost somewhere in my kitchen.

 

food-talk-4-u-hand-julianne-peeler-r
Julienne Peeler

A safer approach is the julienne peeler which is easy to use and makes nice zoodles. It is one piece and easy to clean up.

 

food-talk-4-u-hand-curly-squash-r
Spiral Peeler

 

 

My favorite tool, however, is my spiral cutter which results in fun-to-make, fabulous zoodles. Get the kids involved and you’ll be sure to have little zoodle eaters who won’t even mind eating veggies!

 

 

So, figure out how to make “zoodles” for there will be many opportunities to do so in The Plan!

Deidre