Tag Archives: green tea

Welcome All! Let Our Journey Begin!

Welcome to the growing family of foodtalk4you.com readers! By signing up either here, on our site, or as the result of talking with me at a recent book signing, you will never miss a new post full of ideas on how to improve your health one bite, one breath, or one movement at a time.

Whether it’s a new recipe featuring nutrient-dense foods, a reminder about how to survive the flu season, or some thoughts about finding your “word of the year” to guide your life intentions, there’s always something valuable to read and apply to your life.

We are always growing and changing.  A good “stretch” in our comfort zones never fails to strengthen our souls.

At a recent luncheon sponsored by the local chapter of the American Association of University Women, I was honored to be one of their ten featured authors. In addition to the book signing venue, we were treated to a great lunch and then were given the opportunity to give our “story” in five minutes to the 100 in attendance. What we said might inspire those listening to take a look at our book and buy it.

No pressure.

Do you know that the number one thing people fear – even more than death – is public speaking?

It was interesting how each of us ten author’s responded. If ever there was an opportunity for self- growth and “stretching” this was it.

To the best of my recollection, every one of us had notes. Leaving nothing to chance, we authors wanted to put our best foot forward.

What was so interesting to me was the vast array of public speaking skills that were presented. Clearly many had done this before, myself included, but those less skilled at speaking to groups were still effective in telling their story.

One author used breathing techniques to help himself. He blew through his lips after each page he read, as if he were saying, “Whew, that’s over!” It was beautiful watching him grow and stretch! After a while, he looked up more at the crowd as he described the passion behind his story.

That’s what we need to do. Find our passion and share it. It may require some stretching. If we aren’t pushing our comfort zones just a little bit, we are stuck in a rut.

Learn. Grow. Stretch.

Explore your passions and include a stronger relationship with your body. We expect our bodies to always be on duty for us, doing what we expect of them, expecting perfection.Are we doing our part? It’s a two-way relationship. What are you feeding your mind, body, spirit? Is it good food?

Ask yourself every day if what you are doing, eating, or thinking going to do your body good.

In health-

Deidre

Author, Toolkit For Wellness

 

 

 

 

It’s Not Your Normal (Fattening) Dessert – It’s Chi-Chi-Chi-Chia!

Dessert? I want!

But wait. That’s not good for me. RIGHT?

 

 

 

You’re not going to give me a stick of celery and call it dessert are you?

No way!  Instead, I’m going to share some options with you that revolve around some pretty amazing seeds.

If you’ll permit me to review a short segment from my book, Toolkit for Wellness, I’d like to reintroduce you to:

Chia Seed Secrets

Chia seeds. Possibly the 8th wonder of the world!

Consider this nutritional profile for 2 tablespoons of chia seeds:

  • Protein keeps you full and decreases appetite, two times the protein of other grains or seeds
  • Calcium, calming and beneficial to bones, 5 times the calcium of milk with 18% of the RDA
  • Omega-3 fatty acids, very anti-inflammatory and beneficial, 5 grams
  • Fiber, essential for smooth functioning bowels, 11 grams; 40% fiber by weight
  • Net carbohydrates, which we do not want in abundance, 1 gram
  • 30% RDA of manganese, magnesium, and 27% RDA of phosphorus
  • Full of anti-oxidants
  • Slow absorption which keeps you feeling full and satisfied

If you are just starting to “do your body good” with each meal, you may have some sense of a lack of fulfillment – or downright panic -with no added sugars. Dessert seems to be a thing of the past.

You can rest easy!  All you need to do is incorporate a modest amount of chia seeds into your cuisine.

It’s amazing what you can do with just one tablespoonful of chia seeds, one-half cup of near boiling water, a half-cup of unsweetened applesauce, and six minutes! Just watch as I share with you some chia seed magic!!

One tablespoon of chia seeds in bowl-

 

Add one half cup of near boiling water-

 

 

Seeds are swelling a bit at 1 minute 30 seconds –

 

 

It will be thicker at 5 minutes-

 

 

 

Now stir in your favorite unsweetened applesauce-

 

 

Voila! She won’t win a beauty pageant, but she’s good!

In the recipe section of Toolkit for Wellness, I included a few ideas to dress up these seeds into what I call a jam. If you add berries and cook them in on the stove, you can get a bowl of chia goodness (that will be prettier).

I had some unsweetened strawberry applesauce I used the other day, so the color and texture is a nice shade of seedy looking dark pink. And just remember, this has natural sweetener – no added sugar!

What this chia seed, pudding-like mixture is doing for me is providing satiety through its protein and high-fiber content. That little gnawing feeling that can creep into your tummy around eight o’clock at night will go right away with a bowlful of chia seed pudding.

Your constipated bowels will love you. Regular ingestion of chia seeds can be a great part of assisting in normal bowel function.

No guilt! The seeds are flavorless in and of themselves; what you add creates the flavor. A small handful of dried fruit works well, too.

By the way, this can make a great snack any time of day, and has often been my quick breakfast if I was short on time or didn’t want to eat a lot first thing in the morning.

Chia seeds check ALL of the boxes for “doing a body good.”

In health and EMBRACING all of the goodness chia seeds provide-

Deidre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Superbugs – The New Super Villians

Tag. You’re it!

Let’s talk about disease transmission!

Yawning yet?

Better not. Your life could depend on it!

Oh, sure. Hopefully, you have mastered not sneezing into someone’s face…but there’s more!

While this flu season has not been declared and epidemic – yet – the numbers are staggering, and not only are the seniors succumbing to the flu, but healthy young children – and even young athletic adults are DYING! I can’t wipe the faces of the recent healthy victims from my mind.

It’s so sad when I think about it.

At this point, it’s important to share this challenging flu season is expected to last another 13 weeks! It is NOT too late to get your flu shot. While this year’s vaccine is reported to be approximately 30% effective, it can still be helpful in reducing your symptoms if you fall victim to a flu strain not specifically targeted by the shot. It does take two weeks to achieve full protection from the shot, so time is of the essence.

Additionally, many of my friends are actually experiencing more than one infection – simultaneously! Running to the bathroom with a Norovirus and thinking it’s the flu, then going to the ER only to find out they also have double pneumonia – with no symptoms!

Contrary to what you might think, a virus or a bacteria’s sole mission in life is NOT to kill you. Think about it. You are the host – their home – and they don’t want to burn down their home. What they want to do is MULTIPLY – pure and simple. Keep their species viable; alive and well. As long as you are alive, they are pretty happy feeding off of you.

If you can assist them in spreading their whereabouts, all the better! Go ahead. Sneeze. Cough. Touch a doorknob a sick person touched. Put your contaminated hand to your nose, eyes, or mouth and… Tag! You’re it!

These micro-organisms do all kinds of crazy things to stay alive. When conditions become unfavorable for their survival, for instance, some form spores. Spores are like time capsules full of DNA instructions and materials that – some day or century – when conditions once again become favorable to grow, multiply, and flourish, they will spring back to life. Presto!

What to do?

Citizens in Asia understand the importance of wearing paper face masks. While both my husband and I are healthy, I am going to buy a box of face masks on my next trip out to the store, just in case. I’ll wear one to prevent spreading disease to my husband – sure. Out in public? Well… Maybe we can start a trend in America. It’s only a matter of time before we wise up in the face of an epidemic.

What we need to do is wear dog cone collars to stop us from touching our eyes, nose, or mouth! As ridiculous as that seems, hold that vision in your mind for a minute.

Just count the number of times you touch your face. Better yet, count the number of times someone else touches his/her face. I don’t know what it is; but just why do we do it? Making sure we haven’t lost our face?

It’s a terrible habit. Our faces contain the three most important portals into our bodies: our eyes, nose, and mouth.

Door knobs, elevator buttons, table tops, electronic devices, gym equipment…the list goes on. Anything we touch can be the temporary residing place for the micro-organisms someone else put there through their touch, cough, or sneeze. We touch that contaminated surface and what is it we do all the time with our hands? Touch our faces. Eyes. Nose. Mouth.

Tag. You’re it.

The norovirus that attacks digestive systems, is particularly determined to find a fresh host. Even though you have stopped throwing up or having diarrhea (or both) and you think you are out of the woods – think again.

You are like a walking Typhoid Annie.

You are CONTAGIOUS for at least TWO WEEKS. These little noroviruses are still living inside your intestines and colon even when you feel “better.”

You may have been extra careful washing your hands after hanging over the commode, puking your guts out, but now? How about after a round of diarrhea? Of course  you scrubbed your hands! But now that you are well?

There is no other way to say this: our poop is STILL contaminated after we get well! If the “stomach flu” is racing through your family or through your child’s classroom, it’s because of germ-filled poopy hands touching things. Those things get touched by those who, not wearing a human version of a doggy cone collar, are touching their faces. It’s what people tend to do.

Stop it!

SCRUB your hands after visiting the restroom EVEN when you are well, and stop touching your face!

Well, how are we supposed to wash our hands you ask? I was waiting for that question. Let me cut and paste a segment from my up-coming book about tips for home caregivers of loved ones:

We all think we know how to wash our hands. In a caregiving environment, extra attention needs to be given to hand washing techniques.

Here are the steps:

  • Turn the water on to a comfortably warm temperature and wet your hands
  • Apply a squirt of hand soap onto your wet hands
  • Start humming the “Happy Birthday“ song at a normal tempo two times through during the washing phase; that should translate to 20 seconds which is how long you are supposed to be rubbing those soapy hands
  • Rubbing the palms together, create a good lather
  • Continue rubbing, moving to the back side of the hands, around the wrist, and between your fingers
  • Scrape your fingertips along the palm of the opposite hand, driving the suds under your nails. Repeat for the other hand.
  • You have finished humming “Happy Birthday” twice by now
  • Rinse hands under the running water while continuing to rub all areas of the hands, wrist, fingers
  • Dry with a clean paper towel.
  • Turn off the faucet with a dry paper towel to prevent contamination of your clean hands”

So there you have it. Preventing the spread of disease is up to each of us. Scouring the house with Clorox wipes is helpful, but proper hand washing and not touching our faces will go a long ways in avoiding not becoming the next victim and in not spreading the bad news around to others.

I just made another vat of Chicken-Ginger-Garlic-Lemon soup and some more Ginger-Honey-Lemon Tea today. Yum!

Deidre and Virgil Edwards

 A great discovery from using the leftovers from the last vat was the addition of a can of minced clams! Oh, my goodness! That was so good! The lemon and dill perfectly complemented the clam addition! Make sure to check out last week’s post to grab the original recipes!

In health-

Deidre

PS:  For some reason, I’m going to wash my hands again!

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Power Up and Prepare For Liftoff!!

Each day, it seems, we are in the cockpit of life preparing for a takeoff. What switches are we supposed to flip in order to “power up” our engines? There are so many on our dashboard. Can we realistically try to flip them all every day; or are there a critical few that will give us the lift and acceleration we need for a good takeoff and flight?

After spending hours every week researching, reading, and experimenting with activities that will, “do our bodies good,” one meal, one breath, one movement at a time, I’m left thinking “Ack!” How can I share idea after idea with my readers without over-whelming them, too?

There must be 50 “good” things I should be doing all of the time just to start my day off right.

Wait a minute.

The goal is not to feel like a failed, spineless weakling if we are not doing these things. The idea is to lead a natural, comfortable life that uses nature’s laws to optimize health – and – to accept the responsibility of intention.

Do we intend to “do our body good”?

We want – no, demand – that our bodies keep us going every day; but are we helping our bodies to do that?

Are we a friend or a foe to our body?

I sure want my body at its best 100% of the time so I strive to “power up” each day as best I can to give my mind-body-spirit the “food” it needs to do that.

Granted, smooth uninterrupted daily routines probably exist only in fairy tales.

Nearing the 10th month of being a full-time caregiver for my sweet husband who is confined to bed, I know full well how easily “me time” can disappear. Keeping myself on an even keel, though, is vital to being at my best for him – and me. Those who juggle kids, family, and jobs find free morning time at a premium as well. I hear you.

So, what are the essential few things I do to power up? You’ve seen many of these before. I will explain any new ideas in more detail.

POWERING UP

  1. ALWAYS: Super Brain Yoga and Power Poses as explained in the last post HERE. If there is time for only one thing, this is it. In addition to reinforcing inner balance and focus, I am filled with thoughts of gratitude – thanks for being equipped for strength and victory. I am open to receive that strength; and feel confident to move forward, no matter what may come my way.

Gratitude increases levels of that “feel good” hormone serotonin; who couldn’t use more of that each day? Be ‘intentional’  by boosting yours.

  1. ALMOST DAILY: Drinking lemon juice in warm water while coffee is brewing. Did your grandmother do this? Mine did. She swore by it and lived to be over 100. Today, we know that a simple drink of lemon juice in warm water is a marvelous detoxifier, helps regulate bowels, and actually helps de-acidify the digestive system! Start by using the juice of ½ of a lemon in one cup of warm water. Swish your mouth out to eliminate remaining juice from reacting with tooth enamel.

Once lemon juice is inside your stomach, the digestive process will cause an alkaline environment that will improve reflux. I refuse to resort to OTC or prescription meds for reflux. Lemon juice in warm water absolutely nails this problem for me. If I skip a couple of days, the reflux returns.

  1. ALWAYS when I am home: Power Coffee often with 2 Breakfast Cookies- plain coffee just doesn’t do it for me anymore. Learn about this amazing drink HERE and these guiltless cookies HERE. After this dynamic duo, I am good for hours!
  1. ALMOST DAILY: Oil pulling for at least 5 minutes, preferably up to 20. Now, this is a new topic for Foodtalk4you, but oil pulling is thousands of years old and is considered medicinal for the whole body.

One of the best articles I have read about the benefits and history of oil pulling is found HERE.  In case you do not have the time, let me summarize this article and why I do this almost every day.

  1. Oil pulling is simply swishing coconut, olive, or sesame oil in the mouth for the purpose of cleansing the oral cavity, refreshing breath, and removing toxins.
  1. It’s easy to work into my daily schedule. Oil pulling can be done first thing during the morning shower; or I often do it after breakfast (Power Coffee and Breakfast Cookies!) while I tidy up the kitchen. This is habit stacking at its best! No extra time needed!
  1. Oil pulling is a safe and effective way to detoxify not just the mouth but the entire body because toxins are absorbed into the oil which is spit out. Coconut oil is highly absorbent so its benefits of moisturizing skin, raising healthy blood cholesterol, increasing energy, and killing toxins are easily accessed by oil pulling.
  1. I see and feel a difference right away. Imagine: fresh mouth with NO CHEMICALS!

How to do oil pulling:

  1. Use 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Just scoop it up with a spoon and put into your mouth and chew on it until it is a swish-able liquid. Hint: You may want to start with a smaller amount just to help yourself warm up to the experience.
  1. Swish the oil around your mouth, flushing the fluid around and between teeth. Take your time and do not be so vigorous that you tire your muscles!
  1. Swish for 5-20 minutes; the longer, the better. Remember, the oil is picking up toxins and needs adequate time to really ‘clean house.’
  1. Spit out the oil which has become white (full of yuck) into the trash. Do NOT spit the toxin-laden coconut oil down the drain as it will clog plumbing. Coconut oil is solid at cooler temperatures, remember.
  1. That’s it! Enjoy natural cleanness and fresh breath. A gentle tooth brushing, and you’re good to go!
  1. TWICE A WEEK: Weight training exercises. I am still a proponent of home-based exercises, (See the exercise chapter in my book Toolkit for Wellness), but I just was longing for the targeted benefits of weight training machines. Give me a good thirty-minute circuit workout, and my body just smiles a great big, “Thank you!”

Since joining the local $10-a-month Planet Fitness Gym, I have maintained my twice weekly visits (or more) since January 1st! By not doing the sweat-inducing cardio machines, I can easily dip in to the gym between errands, change back into my street clothes and carry on.

Twice recently, I did do some cardio, and may keep that as my last stop, one extra day a week, but my main focus right now is the no-sweat 30 minute weight training circuit. Now you can work up a sweat, but my weights are high enough that 10 reps will do just fine, thank you!

So if you are not getting up an hour early each day for the ‘perfect start,’ then just know there are a few things that you can do in your normal, real-life routine that will definitely perk up your body and your day.

A routine that is not forced.

A natural routine.

Something intentional to “do your mind-spirit-body good!”

In health-

Deidre

 

 

 

 

It’s Day One – Beautiful!

How many times have you had to start over? Losing weight? starting-overExercising every day? Writing that book? Learning how to play the guitar? Liberate yourself from the weight of backsliding or inaction by facing forward and declaring, “Today is a beautiful day to be ‘Day One’!”

That’s what I did recently.

Before the focus of our household became defined by my husband’s hospice care, I was already trying to lose those “last five pounds.” I had been actively engrossed in expanding my exercise repertoHospiceire to include pull-ups – sort of semi-pull-ups – real push-ups, and using a heavier kettlebell. Success was within my grasp! Just keep at it a little bit every day.

After the March 21st trip to the ER, everything changed. Survival mode ruled the day. Stress threatened to overwhelm. The coping techniques I wrote about in Toolkit for Wellness became my best friends.

Stress does a number on how our bodies function. Well, I knew that; but, wow! The pull for carbs – even gluten-free ones – is insidious. I felt I deserved the carb-y treats just for surviving the day.

A good day? Carbs to celebrate!

Exercise? Yeah, right.

WalkingGo for a walk? Can’t leave home without a sitter.

Planks? Push-ups? Have to be later, busy with my husband’s needs.

Gradually over the course of almost four months, I became out of shape and fifteen pounds over where I want to be.

But I am keeping my spirits buoyed by wonderful moments with my husband, the encouragement and frequent contacts with family, friends, helpers, and the wise use of free time at home to enjoy looking at the birds and squirrels, and by coloring.

I placed no pressure on myself for any additional requirements except to eat lots of the veggies I loved.girl-exercising

But it was time to take control.

I think you reach a point when you no longer want to be a ‘victim’ or just someone always in a reactionary mode. I want to call the shots.

So do it! Enter “Day One”!

CoffeeBack to exercises done during coffee brewing time. We drink the stuff every day. That time is already allotted. Piggy back habits by exercising during brew time.

I had to start slowly again. Backsliding does that. Who cares? Who’s looking? Only me. Start over. No big deal. That’s how it works – a little bit every day.

My full-body plank had shrunk to 20 seconds. Fine. Day One is 20 wall-squatseconds. Day Two is thirty seconds.

I find there are ample opportunities to do more movements in the kitchen – exercise central for me. Waiting for a pan to heat up? Squats right in front of the stove. Nuking something for a minute? Kitchen counter push-ups. Waiting to stir the veggies sautéing in the pan? Time for arm circles.

The following is a list of exercises I am currently doing during brew time and at other cooking times. These are fully explained in my book, Toolkit for Wellness, staplank-girlrting on page 237:

PLANKS- These are always first because they are the hardest. Full body plank followed by half-plank. My goal is to do a two-minute full body plank.

SQUATS- These are so easily done any time, especially while waiting for a pan to heat up.

STEPS IN PLACE- Starting with very high and slow steps gradually getting faster and shorter, then returning to high steps. This is my favorite for getting pumped up.push up

PUSH-UPS- These right now are done at the kitchen counter but will eventually follow planks.

KETTLEBELL LIFTS and SWINGS- Returning to my lower weight kettlebell, I do single arm lifts, double arm lifts, around-the-world swings, and standard kettlebell swing through.

BALLET POINTS- From a “first position stance,” I point my toe/leg to the front, side, and back, ten times each for both legs

FLY LIKE AN EAGLEarmsPalms up with arms to the side, lower outstretched arms 1/3rd of the way down to your leg and back up 8 times. Repeat 2/3rds of the way down 8 times. Repeat all the way down 8 times. Continue to do arm circles, palms up both forward and back 8 times. Continue with pumping arms back 8 times. Whew!

TODAY is a beautiful day to be “Day One”! What are YOU working on?

Deidre

 

 

 

 

 

Paradigm Shift

Hello readers! As most of you may have realized, (and by the amount keep-calm-this-requires-a-paradigm-shift-1of email I’ve gotten, you have), I have been absent for a short while. This is an attempt to explain my absence. In the same way people can tell a train is headed their way by putting an ear to the rails of the tracks to listen for the vibrations created even miles away, I knew our family focus was moving in this direction. It was just a matter of time. Unfortunately, that time has come.

I felt compelled to publish and market my book, Toolkit for Wellness, over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season just because those rail “vibrations” were getting stronger.  “Hurry up!” it said.

Not knowing what my life would look like, I still mapped out a creative pattern for future foodtalk4you postings; and to introduce the concept of a virtual Book Fair that I hoped would become a popular and regular thing. Those plans are still ongoing, just a little slower than expected.

In February and early March, I hesitated to book speaking or book signing dates because “the train” was getting closer. Fortunately, I was able to do a few of those things before everything changed.

Deidre and Virgil Edwards
Deidre and Virgil Edwards

On March 21st, I had to summon the Rescue Squad to transport my dear husband of 39 years to the emergency department of our local hospital because he couldn’t breathe – even while on oxygen. An 11-day hospitalization ensued, and we prepared for his return home to a bedroom now equipped with a hospital bed. Twelve days later he was put under hospice care where he remains today.

paradigm-shiftThe “train” is definitely traveling through our lives right now. We don’t know how long this train is, we only know that we will be walking through each train car in succession until it passes completely by.

There are so many helping us through this journey. Your thoughts, prayers, visits, and hugs are evidence of God’s sustaining love. Hospice and home-help aides are making our struggles and burdens lighter.

We have learned not to fret about decisions anymore because each decision that troubled us in advance was answered by the gradual unfolding of events.

In so doing, we are seeing everything happening in its natural order. 463483-beautiful-flowers-spring-flowers-bloomingUnfortunate and sad, to be sure, but I am comforted by keeping the image of a beautiful flower as it gradually opens up, petal by petal, revealing a glorious creation in full bloom.

As the declines come, my beloved is being supported by the sunshine and fresh air of love, gentleness, and kind, compassionate care.

Strangely enough, I have been able to share the message of foodtalk4you and Toolkit for Wellness to many of the health care providers who have come our way. Even my tax accountant was glad to hear of a gluten free/anti-inflammatory diet that would help eliminate his psoriasis like it has done for another friend of mine.

8165cabcada4018b0ee1cf450f214791Thank you, readers, for your patience and understanding. I am so grateful I have family and friends who are helping us through this difficult time of transition and grief.  As you can see, all priorities have shifted, so things will remain quieter from my little corner of the world. Hopefully, we will continue to post new articles that you will find helpful and interesting.  We are  lining up a few guest writers who have some very good information for you. Our plan, at this point, is to carry on as well as we can. Thank you so much for your understanding.

As with any new post, if you are signed up as a subscriber, (Put your dogemail address in the box on our front page-left side,) you will get an alert telling you we have a new post, just like before. As I’ve said in the past, we NEVER sell or even let anyone see your email address except Sheree or myself. So please don’t worry you’ll be spammed. You can also cancel at any time, whenever you wish. We can still be friends!

God bless all of you who seek out better standards for yourselves and a healthier lifestyle. We’re gonna get through this!

“To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.”

Deidre

 

Food That Says, “I Love You”

Times have changed in some respects; and in others, not at all. I IMG_1791remember reading aloud the Laura Ingalls Wilder series of Little House on the Prairie to our children every night as we all learned of Laura and Almanzo’s adventures. Today, our grandchildren listen to The Adventures of Harry Potter. I don’t know what the children eat at the Hogwarts School, but Almanzo’s favorite repast had to include fried apples ‘n’ onions.

Being more of a city girl transplanted to small town North Carolina, this notion of apples ‘n’ onions did not beckon to my palate or culinary desires. Too bad.

First of all, they aren’t fried- as in deep fried. I don’t deep fry anything. In country jarIMG_1790gon, frying apples implies sauteing and browning until tender and even possibly cooked down to a mush.

But apples ‘n’ onions? Really?

Well, this is the month of love. If you fix apples ‘n’ onions you will LOVE the flavor of this impossibly delicious side dish that happily occupies its spot in the perfect plate fruit/fat component and part of the veggie area. Pair this side with any kind of dark-green lea fy veggie, along with lean chicken or pork protein, and you will have a meal that says, “I love you”!

With just three ingredients, this is a cinch to do, and quantities vary according to what’s on hand.

Apples ‘n’ Onions Recipe

Apples – 3-4 apples

Onion (I used a Vidalia onion) – one medium-sized onion

Coconut oil- 1-2 Tbs. of coconut oil to coat the pan wellIMG_1779

Method:

In order to activate the beneficial anti-inflammatory enzyme, allicin, slice up the onion first so it has 10 minutes to rest before heating.
Peel, slice, and core the apples into desired shape. I use an old-fashioned hand crank apple peeler/slicer/corer and just cut the slices into sI love foodmaller pieces.

Melt 1-2 Tbs. coconut oil into large sauté pan on medium heat and add prepared apple and onion slices. You may want to add a pinch of salt.

Stir occasionally and gently cook until browned and tender. Serve warm.

Recipe number two involves an oft’ forgotten little green nugget that used to be buried under an avalanche of melted Velveeta. Boy, once you stop eating “food-like substances,” as found in dairy “products” such as Velveeta, the very thought of returning to them sends chills down the spine. Ick!

IMG_1853-1
Raw Brussels sprouts and cranberries

So, what to do with that bag of Brussels sprouts? This latest recipe supersedes any I have tried thus far! My book contains a great pan-cooked version of Brussels sprouts that’s really fine and has similar ingredients, but these roasted sprouts are the BEST!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Fresh Cranberries and Pecans

1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half8

1 cup activated pecans*, coarsely chopped

½ cup fresh or frozen cranberries, (not dried and sweetened), coarsely chopped

1 Tbs. olive oil

1 Tbs. finely chopped shallots

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

IMG_1862-1
Roasting!

1 tsp. Kosher or sea salt

½ tsp. ground pepper

Optional: 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar to toss in after roasting

Method:

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Using a large baking pan, toss all ingredients together except balsamic vinegar. When all ingredients are mixed and coated with oil, arrange Brussels sprouts so the cut side faces down in baking dish. Roast for 25 minutes or untiToolkitforWellnessBolder(1)l golden brown on the edges.

Optional: Toss with balsamic vinegar when roasting is complete. These smelled so good and tasted so good right out of the oven; I forgot the vinegar and never missed it.

*Activated Pecans: Soak raw pecans in salted water 24 hours; drain; dehydrate 105 degrees in dehydrator 14 hours or bake at lowest oven temperature until crispy. This process is explained in my book, Toolkit for Wellness, and makes the nuts way more digestible and yummy.

So, there youKeep-Calm-Valentines have it! Healthy anti-inflammatory eating at its very best. Some old-school goodness from the past and some modern farm-to-table style of today!

Say, “I love you” with some good eatin’!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

-Deidre

 

 

 

 

Ginger Tea – Oh So Goodness!

I used to call it the “creeping crud.” You know, the variants as sinusitis, person-with-coldbronchitis, laryngitis, coughing, sore throat and the like? Those of us who sing, teach, coach, or otherwise strain our vocal cords on a regular basis, need some relief and prevention.

Enter – Ginger tea!

A fellow singer keyed me into this years ago as a preventative, as well as a therapy. I’d see her going from one rehearsal to another, always clutching her ginger tea. After picking up her habit, I can vouch for the effectiveness of ginger tea; both, as a preventer of illness, and as an aide to healing when the “creeping crud” arrives despite every effort.

FullSizeRender(1)The recipe is simple enough:

Green tea

Fresh ginger

Fresh lemon juice

Honey

For two cups of tea, I boiled water, added about an inch of fresh ginger peeled and sliced, juice from ½ lemon, a teaspoon of local honey, and three green tea bags.

Let’s take a look at the healing and health-promoting properties of each ingredient:

Green tea: loaded with antioxidants with many medicinal properties, benefits-of-ginger-tea-for-good-healthhas properties that improve brain function, increases metabolism and increases fat burning, properties in tea called catechins, can positively impact oral hygiene and reduce infection risks, may help the body process blood sugar, has been shown to be heart healthy, and can decrease the risk of cancer.

Ginger: ancient Chinese source for digestive issues such as nausea, loss of appetite, motion sickness, morning sickness, and cold-bugchemotherapy-induced nausea. Its pain-reducing capabilities can help with pain and inflammation seen with arthritis, headaches, and menstrual cramps. It has been shown to inhibit the virus that causes colds.

Lemon: antiseptic properties, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and pectin fiber. Functions as an anti-inflammatory. The list goes on.
Honey: anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties among others.

Now you can see why drinking this is like putting the power of Superman into a cup. Antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents, and antiseptic properties in every sip!

Wow!

Daily green teas:

Some people brew a super-strong cup of tea using 8 bags of Bigelow Green Tea. It’s their morning “shot” of goodness. I have found Bigelow brand to be the most authentic tasting tea in tea bags.

IMG_1849I have also discovered the joys of loose leaf green tea available on-line from Ten Ren Tea. The Oolong variety has a wonderful aroma and taste. A bag of loose leaf Oolong is expensive, but it lasts a long time. A little bit less than 1 tablespoon of tea leaves yields two of these small pots full of fragrant green tea which will fill my mug twice. Just enough to start the day off right, and my beverage of choice on Sunday morning before singing in choir or before going to special morning choir practices.

A couple cups of Ginger TeFullSizeRender(2)a or regular green tea will soothe the mind, tummy, and go a long way to boosting our wellness!

Enjoy a cup while you go through your Affirmations!

In health-

Deidre

 

 

The Pumpkin Patch is Open!

Do you do a happy dance when all things pumpkin-flavored reappear PumpkinSpiceLattein the fall? It’s a short season, so I look for every way imaginable to ramp up pumpkin goodness. I have two pumpkin delights to share with you today. First, a pumpkin version of Bulletproof Coffee, and a pumpkin spice version of my Breakfast Cookie recipe.

My early morning solo-brew is either loose leaf green tea or Bulletproof Coffee. It’s a part of my Series of Good Things that starts most days:

Large glass of water after swishing out the cobwebs first thing each morning.

Water on face to open eyes – a real must to enjoy what follows.

Open all the curtains.

Plank_modified_opHead for my mat in the guest room to do full and half planks, full and half push-ups, and a slant. (All exercises are explained in my Toolkit for Wellness which is finished, but still needs formatting, subtitle, and a NEW book cover- more on that in a bit).

Make my way into the kitchen to preheat tea pot/French press pot and start heating water.

Do my step-to-jog-to-run-in-place exercise while the water is heating.

Brew either the coffee or the tea for 5 minutes.

Do squats and lifts with a kettle bell or arm exercises during brew time.

Pour and enjoy.

Bulletproof Coffee is special coffee made from mold-free coffee Pumpkin-3-Rbeans. I learned from Dave Asprey, who writes the Paleohacks newsletter and sell it, that most all coffees are polluted with mycotoxins that can adversely affect people. Think sinus congestion, headaches, and other ailments. Enter mold-free Bulletproof Coffee.

After the coffee is brewed, I add the healthy fat of 1-2 teaspoons of organic ghee and blitz it in my Vitamix. Ah-mazing!

Being it is pumpkin season, I have been adding a couple tablespoons of pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and -yes- a half teaspoon of sugar! This is truly a sensory delight! My own pumpkin spice latte right at home! Even GOOD for me!

What would go great with a Pumkin-spicepumpkin latte, but Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies? Below is the annotated recipe I have published before on this blog and am putting into my new book, Toolkit for Wellness. We are not interspersing pictures this time so you can see it all together.
Breakfast Cookies freeze well and are a staple to have around for a light meal (2 cookies) or a light snack (1 cookie).

This is like a sneak preview of what is in the recipe chapter of the book!

Breakfast Cookies

Adapted from a recipe by Danielle Walker

This is a large recipe that makes about 27 cookies using two large parchment covered cookie sheets. I use an 11-cup food processor to mix most of this, followed by a final stirring using a large bowl to incorporate the two batches of ingredients.

In a food processor, place the following ingredients and pulse 2-3 times for 15 seconds each. Pulse until dates are in very small pieces and bananas are smooth:

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

3 large, ripe bananas broken into chunksplenty-of-pumpkin`

7 medium-sized dates /or/ 5 large Medjool dates, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes and drained

2 Tbsp. ghee /or/ palm shortening

1 cup unsweetened applesauce /OR/ replace with pumpkin puree

Pour the majority of this mixture into a large bowl. Scraping is not needed. Then place the following ingredients into the processor bowl and pulse for 5-6 bursts until incorporated:

1 cup of hazelnut /or/ almond flour* – This time, I used 2/3 cup almond and 1/3 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup ground flax seed

1/4 cup hemp seed hearts

1/4 cup Great Pumpkin-Patties-RLakes gelatin

3 tsp. cinnamon /OR/ replace with pumpkin pie spice

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 tsp. baking soda

Add the following to the nut flour mixture and pulse 3-4 bursts until incorporated:

1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1/2 cup dried fruit of choice usually a berry /OR/ golden raisins

Add contents of food processor to those in the large bowl and hand mix using a large wooden spoon or spatula until well-combined. The batter is a bit wet, but should hold its shape well. If it seems too wet, add some more nut flour.

Using a golf ball-sized cookie scoop, form dough and place onto parchment paper-covered cookie sheets.

Using damp fingers, gently press each on down a bit.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. I used a convection oven, which automatically lowers the temp to 325 degrees. A regular oven may take a little less time at the higher setting. Cookies will still be a little bit soft but not mushy when done. Place cookies on a cooling rack where they will firm up.

A couple of these make an awesome breakfast, especially when Pumpkin-2-Rspread with almond butter alone or almond butter mixed with a tad of Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter. Justin’s version of Nutella has organic cane sugar as the third ingredient after hazelnuts and almonds and contains only 8 grams of sugar compared to the others 21 grams of sugar as the first ingredient!

* I have used various combinations of flours depending upon what I had in stock. Coconut flour will dry dough, so the amount of moistness will change depending on how much coconut flour you use.

Click this link for a printable recipe of FoodTalk4U-Breakfast Cookies

NEWS from Toolkit for Wellness!

5181280_origThe book cover currently posted on our Facebook site is NOT the one I’ll be going with! I know everyone just loved the “blue cover” but deep down inside, I just knew it was not representing the larger message. A member of a Facebook Community I am in, not only gave me some pointers as an author, but also shared with me a concept cover based on what he had gotten from my book. Well, folks, he was spot on! So, off to a graphic artist I went and I am waiting to see how this turns out!

A new cover means a delay, but if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right! I look forward to sharing the new look with you as soon as possible.Pumpkin-patch-find

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Here’s to pumpkin!

Deidre