Tag Archives: fruit

Can You Hear Me Now?

Your body knows best.  Are you listening?

Many of us have bodies that are screaming at us; but we aren’t listening. Instead, we grab another Tylenol and hope for different results. Right?

How’s that working for you? Doing the same things and hoping for different result.

Come on, folks!

Case in point is my Great Oatmeal Experiment.

For many years, I have followed the anti-inflammatory style of eating as described in my book, Toolkit for Wellness. The part I was particularly careful about was no gluten-containing grains; no wheat, barley, or rye grains. But other grains such as corn, rice, oats, and others could be problematic because of their lectin and phytate components.

Lectins can mess with the hormone that tells us we are full and satisfied. Phytates can make the minerals we eat bio-unavailable for proper absorption and use by our body.

Each of us has different levels of tolerance.  We won’t know what our tolerance levels are unless we LISTEN.

Listen to what?

Our body talking to us! Do we feel energized? How are those muscles and joints feeling? Headaches again? Unhappy belly? More bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea?

Once your body is “cleansed” for a while by removing inflammatory foods, reintroducing potential offenders has to be handled very carefully.

Just like introducing one new food at a time, not unlike that of a baby learning to eat foods, we have to be careful to reintroduce only one new previously eliminated food at a time, to identify something that is going to cause a bad reaction.

I have corn-based food every once in a while. When corn-on-the-cob “comes in” during the summer, I do indulge. Corn tortillas for tacos? Sure.

Still steering away from gluten.

Enter “Gluten Free Oatmeal.”

I needed to shake up my husband’s breakfast menu a bit; provide more fiber – you know – good for you oatmeal?

I even posted on Foodtalk4you’s Facebook feed about how I had ramped up oatmeal’s “goodness” factor by adding chia seeds and coconut oil. I created another oatmeal recipe by adding collagen hydrolysate and coconut oil. Ramped-up protein and brain healthy fat! What could be better?

I was pleased as punch in making double recipe “vats” of this so I could easily nuke a bowl of goodness for EACH of us in the morning.

Or so I thought.

There are so many factors affecting how we feel. Sometimes it’s hard to tease out the one offending element.

I was still sitting way too much at home while I spent time in my husband’s room (he is confined to a hospital bed at home). On top of that, I am currently writing another book, “Caregiver’s Handbook for Caring for the Bedridden,” which requires more sitting at the computer. Efforts to go to the gym once or twice a week are being met, along with home stretches to break up sitting sessions, and almost daily planks.

But something was WRONG.

Everything from my waist down hurt. Heels first. Then hips. Then legs. Is it possible to get that old so fast? Is this my life forever?

Didn’t seem natural. Certainly, I am living under unusual and stressful circumstances – but, I was falling apart. Grabbing two Ibuprofen, for heaven’s sakes.

We are “Designed for Health”. That’s my mantra. Geez! That’s the name of the classes I teach!

“Can you hear me, now?”

Could it be my “super-healthy-ramped-up-gluten-free-oatmeal?

Only one way to find out.

Stop the oatmeal.

Well, I did.

After just seven days with no more oatmeal, I can get up and start walking with feet and hips that are not screaming.

I listened, and I did something about it.

Yes, I miss my hot, steaming bowl of healthy comfort food, but I LOVE not hurting.

Goodbye oatmeal. Hello happy body!

It’s a choice.

Are you listening? Your body will love you for it.

In health-

Deidre

 

 

Staying Balanced

Are you feeling like you need to come up for air? Gasping and gulping in fresh air before taking another dive? That’s me, too! Taking vacations can definitely help, but we need to “breathe” more often than that.

I am already seeing some leaves changing color. Yesterday, a couple yellow leaves skittered across the still verdant and rapidly growing lawn. A quick look around at some sassafras saplings showed speckles of orange leaves.

Where’s the ‘pause’ button? Summer’s half over and there are already signs of fall in mid-July! Yikes!

One thing I’ve gleaned from our daughter’s successful completion of residency in family medicine – is how to survive and thrive. She had, very carefully, selected a residency program that ensured plenty of coping skills with all of its residents including:

  • Weekly group, how-are-you-doing, sessions of sharing the good/bad/ugly happenings, which became spring boards for processing their intense experiences.
  • Every-other-week meditative sessions with the entire group of residents took mental processing into the physical and spiritual realm.
  • Naturally, there was regular exercise emphasizing outdoor experiences … often in groups.
  • Frequent and spontaneous group meals, featuring nutritious whole food.
  • Their group was ever-vigilant to ‘pick up a brother’ when they fell into difficult times.
  • Lots of hugs. The real ones that last for at least three breaths. The healing kind.

What’s the ‘take away’ from all of this?

We cope and heal on so many levels, that a multifaceted approach is best.

In my case as a 24/7 caregiver, just getting away several times a week has helped – but only so much. Solo trips to the gym or walks around the waterfront answered only a part of my needs.

A quiet lunch with a friend or two is helpful; but sharing a meal with several friends meets needs you might not know were there.

What is the dynamic of a larger group?

Perhaps it’s because the conversation is not just about us.

We pour our hearts out to a friend — and that has its place.  Usually in group conversation, however, the talk bounces around; others throw thoughts into the mix, and more diverse news is shared.

There is so much more inner balance to be experienced when we participate in groups of 5-6 or more. Our perspective broadens and, quite frankly, it is so refreshing to have the focus on someone else for a bit. Additionally, we may be just who someone else needs to provide a different thought or a helping hand.

I am seeing that the scope of my ‘balancing needs’ is much broader than I had thought.

  • Improved nutrition- check
  • Time away from responsibilities- check
  • Gym 2-3 times a week-check
  • Meals with a friend or two- check
  • Personal meditation and prayer- check
  • Small group activities — need to do this more

Life is like a multifaceted gem. We need to move it around to let the light shine into all of its angles in order to appreciate its full brilliance.

Coping and balancing are the same. Are you shining light into all of your facets to achieve that inner balance?

I’m still learning … and that’s the best part!

Always learning.

Deidre

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lessons From a Gardener’s Promise

If by recent post we have inspired you to take in the “pulse of life” at a local nursery, maybe you are wondering how so many people are gushing with optimism and hopefulness? How can holding a little six-pack of plants instill such anticipation and confidence? Are there bigger lessons for us to absorb and to apply in other aspects of our lives?

How does the gardener approach … well, gardening?

Soil prep. This step is essential for a plant to thrive. Can’t grow in rocks. Think about it. Are we expecting our bodies to thrive while we ‘plant’ them in rocky soil filled with added sugars, unpronounceable chemicals, or ingredients that are incompatible with digestion?

Plant selection. What’s the goal for the plant? Beauty, crop yield, or an attractiveness to butterflies, bees, or hummingbirds? What are our goals? What is the effect of our actions today? Are we being true to ourselves? Are we adding beauty, yield, and attractiveness to the world around us?

Care. This is where the “Gardener’s Promise” comes in. The gardener knows, by doing the right things consistently, the results will come … in time. Water. Pull a few weeds. Prune as needed. Fertilize regularly. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Will the desired results come in a day… a week … or even a month? Often not! Why do we expect instant results for ourselves?

One kind word to an unfriendly acquaintance will not yield a bosom buddy. Relationships are built over time. Generally, a consistent effort to reach out in friendship will break down barriers.

Launching any self-improvement program will need careful and patient tending as well.

Case in point. I wanted to build upon my at-home exercise efforts which always include 2 minutes of daily planks and Super Brain Yoga with Power Poses. I started going to a gym in January that features a 30-minute circuit, along with its other activities. Twice a week. Like clockwork. Hadn’t gotten a swimsuit look; but if I skipped, I could tell a difference.

I wanted more. More results. Is it possible to really have a tighter tummy? I’ve seen videos about grannies who have turned things around. Why not me?

Time to apply the “Gardener’s Promise.” More sunshine (more effort and a wider variety of exercises), fewer weeds (sugar and carbs), better fertilizer (fortified protein shake for lunch), and patience. If you are doing the right things, keep at it day-by-day, and the results will come.

My morning plank routine is now twice a day. I have added 15 minutes of cardio before hitting the machines and doing other exercises. Still not ready for that swimsuit quite yet.

But I am standing taller. I am stronger. When my abs hurt a bit the next day, I know that I am making a difference. Some recently acquired winter bulges are disappearing.

I am remembering the “Gardener’s Promise.”

Happy “gardening”-

Deidre

PS- Cardio exercise today will be 5 minutes longer. Smoothie already enjoyed for lunch. (Primal Protein, frozen cantaloupe, frozen banana, ground flax seed, collagen hydrolysate).

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Cranberry Commotion!

Are you like me? I simply crave seasonal offerings, and right now… it’s ALL things CRANBERRY!

Long-time readers of this blog know I am a strong believer in seasonal fruits and vegetables. Sure, we can get most every fruit and vegetable year round, but it’s “fresh” from the opposite side of the world. certainly not “fresh” from our area – and NOT meeting our unique cyclic nutritional needs of the season.

My visions are not of sugar plums, but of cranberries. Their tartness compliments turkey, chicken, and pork based protein dishes, as well as a green vegetable that’s oven roasted in the second recipe below.

As we weigh each food choice with the question, “Will this do my body good?” Cranberries are a seasonal choice that sing the reply, “Yes! This will do my body good!”

Remember the mantra frequently heard: “Go for the color!” Rather than lists of “eat this and not that,” just heading for the seasonal colorful fruits and vegetables, will ultimately steer us on a path of exceptional nutrition.

With holiday meals abound, cranberries will add, not only a divine color, but also an abundance of great nutrition and health benefits.

Long touted for ingredients that prevent urinary tract infections, cranberry PILLS are best suited for medicinal levels of such ingredients rather than just cranberry juice.

But the nutritional profile of EDIBLE cranberries WILL deliver powerful levels of:

  • Vitamin C
  • Fiber
  • Vitamin E
  • Antioxidants
  • Phytonutrients

Consult your health care provider if you take warfarin (blood thinner) or have a history of kidney stones, as cranberries may aggravate your condition or alter the effects of your medication.

So let’s dive into two of my favorite cranberry recipes.

CRANBERRY SAUCE

This is not your normal Ocean Spray cranberry sauce which uses a full cup of sugar. This uses half that and yet maintains sweetness levels through the addition of other healthy fruits.

I actually recommend doubling this recipe – trust me, you’ll want to – in which case, in addition to doubling most ingredients, still use just the one orange but use the rind from half of it.

Ingredients

12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries, rinsed and culled of soft berries

½ cup unsweetened applesauce (or one whole cup if not using grated fresh apple)

½ apple, peeled, grated

1 orange – cut rind off top and bottom, quarter, and peel three of the sections and slice cross ways; thinly slice the remaining section with the peel remaining (see photo)

 

Secret ingredient: 1 cup of raspberries or 2-3 Tbs. of Penzey’s Spices Raspberry Enlightenment

½ cup sugar

½ cup water

Whole cloves – about 10 buds removed from cloves

1 cinnamon stick

Dash of nutmeg

Method

I actually precooked my raspberries using half of the sugar and then pressed them through a sieve to yield a perfect seedless raspberry essence! Ummm!

 

Using a large sauce or soup pot, add all ingredients and cook over medium heat. As the berries heat up, they will pop. Stir occasionally. As things heat up, you can lower the temperature a bit and “smush” the berries against the pan to assist in “popping.” Continue to cook until ingredients meld into a thick sauce.

Transfer into a serving or storage dish, remove cinnamon stick, and cool. The resulting sauce more closely resembles a jam.

In addition to being offered as a colorful relish to accompany turkey, chicken, or pork, this sauce/jam can be spread on top of nut butters (almond is my favorite) as a twist on PB and J.

_________________________

Next, I pair cranberries with Brussels sprouts. If you are one of those who is not “in love” with this awesome mini cabbage unless it’s hidden in a vat of melted Velveeta (a nonfood for sure), try this!

If there ever was a vegetable “candy” this recipe is it, and it “will do my body good!”

Take a quick check on the benefits of Brussels sprouts and you will be inundated by page after page of information about phytonutrients, anti-inflammatory factors, antioxidant support, detox support, anti-cancer factors, heart health, digestive health – you name it.

Definitely worth a second look to those who have been leery of these little jewels.

ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH CRANBERRIES AND PECANS

INGREDIENTS

1 lb. fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise

Optional: 1-2 cups broccoli florets

1 cup pecans, roughly chopped (see the recipe chapter of my book Toolkit for Wellness to learn how to make all nuts more digestible and better for you)

½ – 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped or cut in half

 

4 Tbs. olive oil (use more if also adding broccoli florets to the recipe)

1-2 shallots, thinly sliced

3-5 cloves of garlic, minced or put through a garlic press

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

METHOD

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Using a large baking pan or baking sheet, toss all ingredients until mixed, evenly distributed, and are covered with oil. Turn the Brussels sprouts cut side down. Roast for 25 minutes or until edges of sprouts start to turn golden and crispy. Serve.

Wishing all of my readers the happiest of holidays, the merriest of Christmases, and the happiest and healthiest of New Years!

We can celebrate and STILL have food that will, “Do my body good!”

‘Til next year-

Deidre

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Toolkit for Wellness” Free Today and Tomorrow! Hurry!!

This is a birth announcement! Toolkit for Wellness, Master Your Health ToolkitforWellnessBolder(1)and Stress Response for Life, is now on Amazon for FREE in its eBook version! Weighing in at 237 pages, it’s already at the top of 2-3 growth charts – depending on which ones Amazon displays! Loyal readers, please help me spread the word to others that improved health is just one easy breath, one anti-inflammatory meal, and one movement away. Help yourself and others know what tiny, daily steps can be taken, which are easily repeatable, and will pave the way to a healthier life.

How to help? Download your FREE copy today or tomorrow and share this opportunity with your friends. You do not even have to own a Kindle; there is a button to push that will enable you to download your copy of Toolkit for Wellness to ANY device!

If you miss the FREE days, don’t worry, Toolkit for Wellness eBook will be just $0.99 until Christmas!

To make sure you take advantage of this exclusive offer, CLICK HERE!

I know most of you want a paper copy as well. The soft cover version will be released VERY soon. There will be plenty of time to get your copies before Christmas. What could be a greater gift for someone than a ‘toolkit’ they can easily, naturally, and successfully use every day for their life-long health!

There will be a book signing in New Bern, North Carolina.   Date, time, and location to be announced!

Thanks for everyone’s support in this huge project!

Humbly yours-DEIDRE 1

Deidre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peaches Gone Wild!!

Tired of swooning over the covers of Southern Living and other karen-tran-soolip-wedding-pink-crystal-brooch-centerpiecemagazines just wishing you could join the rest of the world in cool summertime deliciousness?  Except, you have wisely chosen to no longer eat gluten; and since giving up sugar, you really do not want to get that addiction started again.  So, you stand in the line at the checkout counter at the grocery store and you salivate at the magazine covers looking pitiful and deprived.  It could be embarrassing:

“Clean up at register 5; customer weeping buckets and drooling on the floor!”

I regularly prepare what I like to call “Fruit with Benefits” which is a concoction of already healthful berries, sometimes an apple or a pear, and varying amounts of Great Lakes gelatin and ground flax seed.  This gives me all the goodies of the berries PLUS protein, PLUS more fiber, PLUS Omega-3 fatty acids!  A small scoop of this satisfying dessert and you are a happy camper.

Fruit-SaladSince developing my “Fruit with Benefits” skills, I am always looking for ways to squeeze in some more nutrition.  Therefore, when presented with this mouth-watering spread in the magazine about icebox pies, I began to wonder…and as the imaginative and creative juices flowed, an idea formed… Well, I think I’ve done it!

There is a bit of sugar, just over ½ cup total, for the entire pie but that’s compared to way over 1 cup of sugar in the original recipe that uses store bought peach preserves which have who knows how much sugar?!

The original recipe called for folding gobs of whipped cream in the filling, but I chose to not even convert that by using more whipped coconut cream.  Enough is enough.

I have tried lots of gluten free pie crust recipes, but this one is the best.  One of the things I especially liked were the occasional whole flax seeds that had escaped the food processor blade; it not only tasted great, but it looked great, too!

So, do not despair my lovelies, this will be a great treat, not sweet enough to initiate binge carb fests, but smooth and creamy and peachy enough to make you smile!

This recipe has plenty of bone and joint health benefits of gelatin and boosts in protein from not only the gelatin and eggs but from the flax seed that also gives omega-3 fatty acids! Win! Win! Win!

Prepare the crust first so it can completely cool before adding the contents.Pie-dough

Put the following ingredients into a food processor and pulse until well-combined:

1/2 cup whole flax seeds

1 cup almond flour

1/4 cup sugarpastured-cow

1 tsp. Kosher salt

6 Tbsp. butter from pastured cows, melted- (I use the Kerrygold brand)

Pat dough into a smooth ball and press into a 9-inch, lightly- greased pie plate. Evenly distribute the dough, pressing it up the sides.

Create an edge.  I just pressed a fork into mine.Food-Talk-4-u-finished-pie-crust

Bake 6-10 minutes at 325 degrees until golden. Remove from oven and cool.

Food-Talk-4-U-Jam-PrepPrepare fresh “jam” by putting the following ingredients into a sauté pan and cook on medium until it comes to a boil, check for sweetness, and take off heat:

1 Tbs. coconut oil

2 peeled and finely-diced peachesCooking-Jam

1 Tbs. lemon juice

1 Tbs. sugar

1 Tbs. gelatin that is wisked together with 1/4 cup boiling water: NO lumps!

Prepare the filling as follows:

Pie-filling-before-preservesFill a 3 1/2 quart sauce pan with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium to keep at a simmer.

Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the following together in a 2 1/2 quart glass bowl:

3 large eggs

1/3 cup sugar

Place bowl over simmering water and cook while whisPie-filling-after-preservesking constantly five to six minutes or until mixture becomes slightly thick and sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and the simmering water.

Place 4 tsp. gelatin in a small bowl and pour 1/4 cup boiling water over it, whisking constantly until gelatin is completely dissolved.

Using the handheld electric mixer, whisk the egg mixture on high speed for 8-10 minutes until ribbons form on surface of mixture when beater is lifted.

Food-Talk-4-u-assembled-pieAdd gelatin mixture and continue whisking one more minute.

Fold in the peach “jam” and a pinch of kosher salt.

Spoon filling into cooled pie crust and arrange thin sliFood-Talk-4-u-Pie-bite-with-forkces of 2 medium peeled peaches over the filling. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze 2 hours.

Serve slices of pie with a dollop of whipped coconut cream sweetened with a pinch of sugar and a splash of vanilla!

Going, going, gone!

Just peachy!!

Deidre

 

 

Just One (Good) Thing After Another!

My absolute favorite morning routine sets me up for greeting the food-talk-4-u-2new day with renewed and centered energies. Whenever possible, this is what sets me on a great path. I call this a “Series of Good Things.” We started talking about this in the fall series of Designed for Health classes, and with my deeper understanding of habits and habit formation, it is all coming together for me with positive results.
Let me share:

Rise and shine at the same time each day! In doing so, I am waking naturally a few minutes before my gentle phone alarm announces itself. With more consistent bedtimes, waking up is not so problematic. Sleeping in has robbed me of too many retirement mornings, and I regret it when I do. No. Getting up at a consistent time is my first good thing.

food-talk-4-u-3Drinking that first full cup of cold water right after swishing out the “cob webs” from my mouth is good thing number two. Start the day with the best “hydrater” of all: water.

If my husband is up, I will make the bed on my way to the closet to dress. Good thing number three. The bedroom is neat and I am already on a roll!

Moving into the kitchen, I pass the refrigerator first, so I grab my food-talk-4-u-4cold Bragg’s apple cider vinegar from the door, pour a tablespoon-full into a glass, add about 6 ounces of water, and chug. This is a personal experiment; many in my spring Designed for Health class are doing it for cholesterol benefits. My research has netted a zero on scientifically proven health benefits except for well-documented benefit of improved blood sugars. I am doing it to add acid to my stomach in hopes to improve some reflux issues. While we refer to acid reflux, often it can be a result of not enough acid in the stomach. We will see. No harm for sure, and – hey- that’s more water! Good thing number four.

Then, I have to start my day feeding my menagerie of birds and squirrels! Watching their antics off the back porch is our major amusement and delight. That’s number five.

food-talk-4-u-5Taking a few deep, mindful, meditative breaths while pausing to sit on the porch swing helps me calmly set myself up for a new day. “Thank you, God, for this new day; thank you, Lord, in every way for your blessings great and small; make me a blessing to others this day. Amen.” Six.

Then, while the coffee or tea is brewing, number seven is my favorite to check off because, not only do I enjoy doing this, but getting to it can be hard for me. Plank time! Starting with a child’s pose to stretch my lower back, I move forward to do my two minutes of planks: full body plank followed by a “restful” half-plank from the knees.

The rest of coffee brewing time is dedicated to slow motion squats, Plank_modified_opkitchen-counter slow motion push-ups, palms up arm circles, ballet-bar style toe points to the front, side, and back: very good for balance. That is number eight!

Bing, bing, bing! Coffee’s ready! That’s number nine!

So – exercise minimums are met, bed is made, water is drunk, nature is fed; well… it’s a series of good things!

food-talk-4-u-sugar-8To keep that good vibe, I make sure half of my breakfast plate is veggies! Leftovers work great as a side to my two eggs or they can be scrambled together as a frittata. If all else fails, after frying the bacon and before cooking the eggs, I will grab a giant handful of greens to sauté with a bit of good oil (coconut, avocado, or olive). That’s number ten!

I hope that you, too, have a “series of good things” you are doing for yourself each day. Please share them with me!

To summarize some good things we have covered here and in class about improving our over-all wellness:

1. Mindful breathingBeautiful girl breathing and smiling on the beach with the sea and blue sky in the background

2. Gratitude each day

3. Drink some extra water

4. Taper-off and eliminate added sugars

5. Eat real food. Eat food without labels!

6. Half of your plate each meal should be (mostly green) veggies

7. Use good fats- butter and ghee from pastured cows, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil

8. Supplements should include Vitamin-D, omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, and magnesium with your calcium

9. Toss the grains- they cause inflammation seen and unseen, and work against vitamin and mineral absorption

10. You may also want to toss the legumes: dried beans and peanuts- because they can have an adverse effect on digestion, can block absorption of vitamins and minerals, and can be inflammatory

11. Keep a regular bedtime and get enough sleep

12. Move and stretch your body every day. I have just started weekly Yin Yoga classes and am just loving it! More restful sleep; greater inner awareness and calm; and a more balanced feeling.

13. Set tiny, repeatable “tweaks” to move yourself toward better wellness.

14. Simplify, simplify, simplify!

15. Rather than getting more “stuff,” gather experiences in your life!

16. Smile!food-talk-4-u-7

As I concentrate on finalizing my book, preparing single day seminars, and simplifying my own possessions by cleaning and tossing out, I will be taking a bit of a blogging sabbatical. There may be the occasional summer recipe or thought, but I am going to practice what I preach by simplifying and daily application of things that make our ultimate goals come true!

Have a great summer!

In health and wellness-

Deidre

Fruit – With Benefits

What do I mean? Isn’t fruit full of goodness all by itself? You bet! I am not even going to try to enumerate all of the nutrient rich benefits there are in different berries, apples, and such, lest I leave something out!

Fruit 1But what if we could stir something up that expanded on the nutrient-richness of fruit? How about a truckload of omega 3 fatty acids? How about some collagen joint care? How about protein? Well, I’ve done it! All without added sugar of any kind if you don’t want; and if you do, a small dab of honey.

This warm fruit compote will delight your senses, build strong bones, provide satisfying protein, and increase your omega 3 fatty acid intake. Wow! Let’s get to it!

Warm Fruit Compote

Ingredients:

1-3 Tbs. coconut oil depending upon amount of fruit. I used 3 Tbs

Fruit sprinkled with cinnamon
Fruit sprinkled with cinnamon

. for this quantity pictured

1 gala apple, peeled, cored, and chopped into fairly small pieces

1 Bartlett pear, peeled, cored, and chopped into fairly small pieces

Assortment of frozen berries- today I used probably over 2 cups plus

a few slices of frozen peach

Pinch of salt

Cinnamon to taste- a “sweet spice” that can enhance fruit without the need for sugar. Cinnamon also helps control blood sugar levels

Powdered grass-fed gelatin

Ground flax seed

Optional- only if your fruit is sour- a spoonful of honey stirred in at the end

Simmering fruit mixture
Simmering fruit mixture

Method:

Melt the coconut oil in an enamel non-stick sauté pan and add all of the prepared fruit over medium heat. Generously sprinkle the cinnamon, gelatin, and ground flax seed over the top of the fruit. Add a pinch of salt.

As the mixture warms and begins to get juicy, gently stir.

Both the gelatin and the flax will thicken this mixture as the fruit releases its bounteous moisture. If your fruit compote is too runny, just sprinkle on more gelatin and/or more flax. Lower heat a bit to continue cooking without bubbling.

This refrigerates well and can be eaten warm, cold, or at room temperature. This is my go-to evening snack. So satisfying, Fruit 5filling, good for you and not sugary!

Hope you enjoy this fruit…with benefits!

Deidre

The Best Ever Salmon Patty Recipe!

Hungry as a bear for salmon?  Try this terrific recipe from Deidre's recipe book!
Hungry as a bear for salmon? Try this terrific recipe from Deidre’s recipe book!

There are just some things we always need to keep around and canned salmon is very high on my list! Ever had one of those days when you just wanted to pull something together really quick with little fuss?

Well, this could be the answer for you!

But what to call them? Maybe they are just humble patties. You know, like a hamburger patty; plop them on a grill or throw them into a pan….few minutes on each side…dinner is served. Last year, I may have briefly described my creation without benefit of a recipe as a “fritter.” Sounded more colorful; a little regional, perhaps. Countrified. Then, this month’s Southern Living magazine had a recipe for “Salmon Croquettes” which really looked like MY patties… or…fritters!

A Salmon fish!
A fishy Salmon!

Goggling the moniker dilemma just sort of muddied things up. Both croquettes and fritters, apparently, are deep fried. Nay! Nay! Even Southern Living did not deep fry its croquettes! They are both also dipped in egg and breaded before frying.

Please, so much messy work!

So, I am left with my humble patties. “Croquettes” just sounds like a restaurant raising their price on patties by calling them something elite. “Fritters” just sounds….I don’t know, maybe deep fried in a converted gas station come greasy spoon restaurant.

2 to 4 beaten eggs
2 to 4 beaten eggs

I did not have the Greek yogurt Southern Living mentioned to fix up as a dipping sauce which I have done in the past; fortunately, these patties remained quite moist and did not demand a sauce. I will give you some ideas for the sauce, though. Cool thing is, this recipe can be adapted to a variety of ingredients at hand and measuring is not a must at all.

Southern Living’s recipe called for 2 – 14.75 oz. cans of salmon; I used just one. They called for 4 eggs which I actually used between 2 to 4, but I compensated by adding ¼ cup of coconut flour!

Celery
Celery

Unfortunately, I did not take pictures of this actual process and all the evidence is eaten, but I did have a couple file photos of a similar recipe to share. So here it goes from my memory for the Best Ever Salmon Patties!

Best Ever Salmon Patties

Ingredients:

  • 1 (14.75 oz.) can salmon, drained
  • 1 large celery stalk, finely chopped
  •  3-4 green onions, chopped with green stalks
  •  3 mini multi-colored bell peppers, finely chopped
  •  ½ small can water chestnuts, finely chopped
  •  2 – 4 eggs, beaten
  •  1 tsp. kosher salt
  •  1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  •  1 tsp. dill weed
  •  Approx. ¼ cup coconut flour, as needed. to make the patties “stick” together

Method

Coconut flour
Coconut flour

Beat eggs in a large bowl.

Add the remaining ingredients, except the coconut flour, and mix well to combine. I do this with my hands while wearing latex free gloves.

Add the coconut flour if the mixture is too moist and needs some ‘glue’ to stick together.

Using your gloved hands, form mixture into approximately 1/2 cup patties, pressing firmly to mold.

Pan fry the patties on medium heat using about 2 Tbs. good oil of choice: olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil. When the edges start looking a little crispy, flip patties over. Cooking time should be 2-3 minutes on each side.

Ingredient ideas for dipping sauces:

Mix Greek yogurt, lemon, Dijon mustard
Mix Greek yogurt, lemon, Dijon mustard

Using a base of plain Greek yogurt add:

  • Dijon mustard, dill weed, lemon zest, lemon juice, pinch of ground red pepper

Or in a blender or food processor combine the following with the yogurt:

  • English cucumber, dill, salt, pepper for a Greek flair
The delicious end product - Best Ever Salmon Patties!
The delicious end product – Best Ever Salmon Patties!

Ingredients are easily substituted and swiped out. When there is fresh parsley around, I always add it for added spunk and flakes of greenness. No water chestnuts? Leave them out! I just happened to have a few green onions that needed to be used up; any kind of onion could be used.

Just keep a few cans of salmon around to “save the day.”

Enjoy-

Deidre

Remember to subscribe to this blog so you can be alerted via email when a new post is up. Just give us your email address!

2014 – The Whole Bloggin’ Year in Review

Since April of last year when this blog was officially “born,” many topics have been touched upon about moving to a more harmonious relationship with our bodies by eating foods that naturally promote health.

With the idea that we were designed for health and not disease, food-talk-4-u-child-cherriesthere must be a way to live, eat, move, and think that boosts health. The world-wide trend toward obesity, heart disease, and autoimmune diseases as western fast-food eating styles that are embraced can be reversed through eating what we were originally designed to eat.

These thumbprint summaries of last year’s material are hopefully a good way to see the bigger picture as we approach our health choices this year. Where we’ve been serves as a launch pad for where we are going, so to speak.

food-talk-4-u-brain-fog1. It starts in the mind. How we relate to our bodies, health, and the world around us all starts in our mind. The first class session of The Designed for Health series I teach in New Bern, North Carolina, always starts with a sort of “rededication” exercise whereby we reconnect with our body in appreciation for how we are so wonderfully made, and how we want to be in greater harmony with our body by actively listening to how it responds to what we feed it and how we treat it. We are accepting the responsibility for its care rather than just mentally going along for the ride.

2. Something “do-able”: a Keystone Habit. No matter how we want to improve our lives, whether we want to write the great American novel or we want to eat healthier, we have to concentrate on the steps, the repeatable steps, we must take each day to get there. Surely, we are not going to write that novel in one day, but writing for a short, set amount of time each and every day will eventually get food-talk-4-u-review-2us the first chapter. Similarly, we are not going to turn our health status around in one day, but making a single, seemingly ridiculously small and easy-to-repeat tweak to what we eat or drink each and every day will eventually lead to a collection of changes easily incorporated into a new eating and living style that will definitely impact our health. Hence our motto: gradual and consistent.

Food-talk-4-u-beach3. 80/20. Unless there are health dangers such as severe food allergies, becoming totally obsessed about “healthy eating” could ruin the day for you and those around you. Trying to squeeze out that last 20% of perfection each day can actually take some of the fun out of things. So while we gain an understanding what is good or bad for us, striving for perfection can, literally, spoil the party. Aim for the “good stuff” to keep up your promise to yourself, but once in a while a dab of this or that, in the absence of food allergies, can keep the fun in holidays, vacations, and life in general. Once you have converted to better choices, the standard temptations actually will hold less appeal and may not feel “right” when consumed, but- lighten up! 80/20 is good. Having said that, making exceptions back-to-back can be the start of a slippery downward slope!

4. Create an environment for success. Clean up what’s available to eat in the kitchen based on how you want to eat. No more chips and ice cream in the kitchen means you won’t be looking at chips and ice cream praying for the strength to turn away. Enlist the help and support of family and friends. Share what you are learning so you can be a part of a team. Reward your milestone successes frequently with appropriately healthy treats; maybe a walk around the waterfront instead of in the neighborhood.

5. Understand “macro-nutrients.” Understanding how our bodies naturally respond to Vegetablesproteins, fats, and carbohydrates really puts us in the driver’s seat for health! Want to stabilize blood sugar? Dedicate carbohydrate intake to veggies instead of grains and eat good protein and healthy fats which have higher satiety levels than starchy carbs and will not upset blood sugar levels.

Paleo Spices6. Enhance your flavor palate. Looking for a sense of sweetness without the added sugar? Try spices and flavorings that remind you of sweetness by using cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and extracts such as vanilla or almond. These “sweet spices” are a great way to enhance the flavor of smoothies without added sugar. Explore various herbs and oils to add endless variety to veggies and salads. Simple asparagus is different each time when lightly sautéed in a choice of olive oil, ghee, grass-fed butter, avocado oil, coconut oil, or toasted sesame oil. Whenever I get a little tired of any cooked veggie, I usually turn to a finishing drizzle of toasted sesame oil to liven things up. Pesto can easily combine with shrimp, gluten free pasta, quinoa, veggies, or scrambled eggs to make a brand new eating experience.food-talk-4-u-review-127. Keep this plate in mind. Strive for a plate balanced with these proportions.   Imagine your plate is half non-starchy veggies. The other half is two-thirds protein and one third good fats and/or fruit. That’s pretty much it!

8. Inflammation is a key and common evil. Food choices can actually ramp up the inflammatory process which is bad because inflammation is at the root of every disease process. Sugar anFood-talk-4-u-wheat-fieldd grains are the biggest culprits; read: wheat, barley, rye for the inflammatory gluten and corn for the phytates.

9. Strive for nutrient dense foods. Nutrient density relates to higher concentrations of vitamins, minerals, and the essential fatty acids and essential amino acids which we have to get from our diet because our bodies can’t make them. Currently on a fat- free diet? Forget it! You’d be missing out on vital fatty acids that your body demands for proper functioning and certain vitamins must have fat in the diet for their absorption. Proper fat ingestion is vital. The good fats contain a better fat profile than we get from the Standard American Diet. Good fats have more omega-3 fatty acids and can be found in avocados, avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, nuts and seeds. Protein ingestion is vital. Strive for clean protein sources that are minimally processed, grass fed if possible, and fresh seafood. There are NO essential carbohydrates; none. So carbohydrate consumption will best serve your body if coming from non-starchy veggies that are packed with nutrients and will not disturb your blood sugar levels.

Planking
Planking

10. Less exercise can be more! One of my Keystone Habits is doing a bit of exercise during coffee brewing time, and I have learned from many sources that slow-motion exercises can yield a better effect than those done at regular speed, and that fewer repetitions are needed. Works for me! Counter top push-ups and squats are infinitely more effective when done in an 8-8-8 fashion. For a squat: 8 counts down to the squat, 8 counts holding the squat, 8 counts up. You’ll know when to stop, believe me. A few will do! If that becomes easy, just add a small weight which will increase the workload of the muscles; that’s the key: workload, not repetitions.

11. Other possible Keystone Habits. Consider slipping in a daily Food-talk-4-u-waterboost to hydration by drinking a glass or two of water before leaving the bathroom first thing each morning. Try converting other hydration fluids from juices, colas, or coffees to green tea. Green tea contains poly-phenols that help prevent a host of diseases and conditions and also work with the body to burn fat! Try a more concentrated green tea brew to ramp-up consumption of those helpful components. Some experts aim for 10 bags of green tea a day which would necessitate concentration, indeed!

12. Non-starchy green vegetables. I have dedicated a lot of “blog time” Food-talk-4-u-dinnernon-starchy green vegetables and colorful vegetables. Eating non-processed foods necessitates cooking, but I have tried to show that becoming a master chef is not required. Basically doing a light sauté or stir fry in a healthy fat is all that is needed for most vegetables, possibly followed by a light steaming on lower heat with minimal or no added water. Cooking veggies without added water is vital because a good portion of the nutrients leech out into the water, never to be consumed. I still read recipes from those who should know better that call for boiling asparagus, for example. No! No! Just roll those babies around on low to medium heat in some good oil until desired doneness… not mush, but still a little crisp…sort of Al dente! Certainly, sneaking baby spinach or kale into a smoothie is a super easy way to add nutrient-dense goodness in a snap!

Food-talk-4-u-confusion-2
2014 is over??

Well, that’s foodtalk4you from 2014 in a condensed form. Next, my editor, Sheree, and I will be working on a free e-booklet of last year’s recipes for easy access. Such a feat will require some diligent work on both our parts…just part of my New Year’s goal to be more useful to you, my dear readers!

Please share this site with a friend or two, so we can reach more people with the message that improved health is within reach without reaching for another pill!

We were Designed for Health!

Claim it and act upon it!

Thanks,
Deidre