Tag Archives: iron deficiency

Embrace Your Word!

And the award for the Word of the Year goes to…”

No, it’s not that kind of thing, even though this is awards season.

Have you ever been directed in a yoga class to think of your intention for that session? I have; and it really helped me color what I was releasing with an exhale, and what I was absorbing when I was inhaling.

Sometimes my mind would drift to calm – worthy – flow … or other concepts that reflected my needs at the moment. We never shared our intentions … It was just something that helped us enrich our yoga experience, and something to carry with us as we walked out the door of the studio and back into the world.

Recently, I stumbled upon a book that promised to guide the reader through the process of selecting their own “Word for the Year.” The author’s website extolled the benefits of doing this, and how they were going to lead the reader through a process of questions and reflections in order to find that perfect word. Testimonies of readers praised the author and her process; they had been doing this for years and had experienced personal growth and achievement.

Okay. With my yoga experience as my own personal testimony, I could hang my hat on this idea. But in spite of being a self-help author myself, I just did not want to spend $14.99 to find my word … and I did not want to go through pages and pages of exercises to get one.

I just filed all this information away in my brain and heart.

Then, after ten days of being home bound due to snow and ice and a lack of caregivers for my husband, I was gratefully out and about once again, sitting at a favorite breakfast spot, sipping coffee.

Embrace.”

The word just came to me out of nowhere. Well, I know where due to my personal faith.

Embrace is my word for the year. My personal intention for my inner self.

  • Embrace the day, this moment, and give to it my best.
  • Embrace myself, accepting myself as I am – warts and all.
  • Embrace others with good intentions and actions.
  • Embrace my gifts and use them.
  • Embrace my weaknesses and find a way to improve them or get help to do so.
  • Embrace even the hard situations in life; lean into them, and learn from them.
  • Embrace the beauty of the world and absorb it into my very being.

Every day I am finding new ways to embrace. I have been somewhat energized with this experience. It is improving my outlook and my take on each day’s activities, and I’m excited to share this concept with you, too.

Maybe you can ponder on this idea of creating your own Word of the Year.

If your life seems to be stuck, maybe you need a word such as reach, or grow, or discover.

If you are starting a long stretch of schooling, maybe words such as steps or empowered, or learning, would meet your needs.

Sorry, but I can’t offer a questionnaire nor probing exercise to plow through to get to your word. This is something you must find by your own journey!

Just ponder on it, and it will come.”

Embracing my day-

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!

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Celiac Awareness Month – Let’s Talk About Your Guts

It’s Celiac Awareness Month.

Have you been asking yourself questions like these:

  • Is this gluten stuff all a hoax?
  • Is it just a “trendy diagnosis” – as our daughter’s pediatrician once offered?
  • What’s at stake if we don’t, at least, investigate the possibilities?
  • Is going gluten-free worth the effort?
  • Do you have to get tested?
  • What if your test is negative for Celiac Disease but you are still symptomatic?

I have, once again, dove into some of the latest news on Celiac Disease, (CD), and all things gluten for this post. Let me tell you, it was hard to tear myself away from the research, as one article linked to another and another.

While one person out of a hundred is diagnosed worldwide with CD, that number is expected to double every fifteen years. Why? Many people are currently undiagnosed, and the causative factors of pro-inflammatory diets are spreading.

Starting my fact-finding internet tour at Celiac.org, I found that, in fact, a Colorado study found a 3% incidence rate of Celiac Disease for youngsters by the age of 15! Yikes!

In case you are not up-to-speed with the term Celiac Disease, let me recap. CD is a genetic autoimmune disorder in which consumption of gluten (found in wheat, barley, and rye grains) results in damage to the small intestine, causing a host of symptoms (See lists below).

So, who should be tested for CD?

It was recommended that anyone suffering from an unexplained, stubborn illness for several months should be tested for CD.

HOWEVER – there are also two more categories of sensitivity:

NCGS– Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity- whereby a person is not severely reacting to the gluten found in wheat, barley, and rye grains, but are reacting on some level, which can be problematic.

NCWS- Non-Celiac Wheat Sensitivity- whereby a person is reactive only to wheat.

How do you know if you might be reactive to gluten on any level? Check out this abbreviated list of possible signs and symptoms. I’ve seen lists that link scores and scores of common conditions to some level of gluten sensitivity because the resulting inflammatory response to each person is unique. This could be you:

Signs and Symptoms for Adults:

  • Unexplained iron-deficiency anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Bone and joint pain
  • Arthritic conditions
  • Osteoporosis
  • Liver and biliary tract disorders
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Seizures
  • Migraines
  • Foggy brain
  • Dermatitis herpetiforme (itchy skin rash)
  • Infertility
  • Missed periods
  • Canker sores
  • Signs and Symptoms for Children:
  • Abdominal bloating and pain
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Pale, foul smelling fatty stools
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability and behavioral issues
  • Delayed growth
  • Delayed puberty
  • Dental enamel defects
  • Short stature
  • Failure to thrive
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Check? Check? Check?

Let’s talk about infertility, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, (PCOS), and gluten. There’s a lot. Google those three terms together and you’ll be busy reading for a long time.

According to Nutritionist and Health Educator Melissa Diane Smith, “85% of her PCOS clients test positive for sensitivity to gluten. When these women remove gluten from their diets, they often see a marked improvement in their PCOS symptoms.”

The May/June edition of the Journal of Reproductive Health in 2011 reported a prevalence of silent CD (undiagnosed CD) in female infertility in Middle East and European studies.

An American study of 188 infertile women showed a 5.9% increase of silent undiagnosed CD. Many who also suffered from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) were found to have CD.

Dr. David Perlmutter, MD, writes that 5-10% of women 18-44 years of age have PCOS. He tracks links in his patients with PCOS to high blood sugar and diabetes. He cites the role of insulin is intrinsically linked to PCOS.

How do you know if you have PCOS?

Some of the symptoms of PCOS are:

  • Irregular or no periods
  • Heavy periods
  • Acne
  • Increased facial hair
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Metabolic issues related to insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation

Have some ideas popped off the page for you?

Are you seeing yourself or someone you know?

Increasingly, we have to be our own patient advocates. Doctors moan when their “internet-trained” patients slam them with all sorts of “internet-acquired diagnoses,” but you can ask to have certain issues looked at … especially if they have not been able to find any help for you.

You can ask for blood tests associated with Celiac Disease, or any level of gluten or wheat sensitivity. If blood tests for CD are positive, a biopsy of the small intestine may be offered to check for damage. You have to be actively consuming gluten for the blood tests to be valid.

Don’t want blood tests? Simply eliminate all forms of gluten for three months. Celiac.org has sample 7-day gluten free meal plans for adults and for kids on their website that will give you a start. My book, Toolkit for Wellness, will show you ways to not only avoid gluten, but other foods as well that create an inflammatory response within our bodies.

Gluten sensitivities are serious things that contribute to very real illness, disease, and general un-wellness. One doesn’t simply “cut back” on gluten. It’s all or none. A single gluten infraction can sometimes take those who are extremely sensitive as long as three months to get over!

This is serious business.

It’s our choice.

In good health –

Deidre

 

 

 

 

“Super Brain Yoga” is a No Brainer!

Did you say “Super Brain”? Get a Super Brain? Count me in!

But Super Brain Yoga sounds like a whole routine… Maybe there’s a DVD or a book to buy? No. And no.

In fact, what I’m going to share with you for FREE could have cost you as much as $352.07!

Granted, there are less expensive versions, but it all boils down to doing one simple thing. That information might justify $2.07. The rest of it must be $350.00 worth of history.

The effect of doing this one thing, however, may be priceless!

In fact, doing “Super Brain Yoga” melds right into a power pose that I wrote about last year for the online magazine, Excellence; so, for me, the benefits are doubled.

We’ll look at Super Brain Yoga first; then I’ll explain how this can morph into a power pose that will also set you up for a day of balance, positive self-worth, and forward motion.

Super Brain Yoga and Power Pose may just be the trick for your whole family to do together each morning.

If I were still teaching in the classroom, this is how we would start each day! There are TV news articles about teachers doing Super Brain Yoga daily with amazing results for better attention and performance by the students. Can I get an “Amen!”?

As always, we need to turn to a bit of anatomy and physiology first to help understand why this Super Brain Yoga technique has value. Our brain is divided into two hemispheres. The right brain controls the left side of the body, and the left brain controls the right side of the body. There are also acupressure points in the ear lobe that when gently squeezed activate brain pathways.

In everything we do, signals are being ‘pinged’ back and forth between the two hemispheres through special nerve pathways between them. This simple technique helps balance the two hemispheres’ activities (as revealed through before and after MRIs), and strengthens mental focus and clarity.

In a moment, you can see our FIRST EVER video which will demonstrate the simple steps for Super Brain Yoga as follows

    • Stand with feet shoulder width apart facing north if you are a ‘senior’; or facing east for ‘non-seniors.’
    • Keep the tip of your tongue touching the roof of your mouth.
    • Gently squeeze your RIGHT ear lobe using the thumb and index finger of your LEFT hand. The index finger goes on back of the ear lobe and the thumb goes on the front.
    • Gently squeeze your LEFT ear lobe using the thumb and index finger of your RIGHT hand. The index finger goes on the back of the ear lobe and the thumb goes on the front.
    • Gradually bend your knees into a squat position while inhaling.
    • Gradually straighten your knees to come out of the squat while exhaling.
    • Repeat at least 14 more times

That’s it!

Practicing this simple move each day helps to connect and re-energize the nerve pathways between the two brain hemispheres. Don’t worry about doing deep squats, this is more of a brain thing than a physical exercise. Increasing the number of repetitions over time until you are doing this a few minutes, will definitely, “Do your body good!”

What have I noticed doing this each day?

I feel more physically balanced. I am measuring this by the ease in which I stand on one foot while brushing my teeth. As mentioned in the exercise chapter of my book, Toolkit for Wellness, I do a painless “habit-stacking” balance exercise each time I brush my teeth. I divide the 2 minutes of tooth brushing into two 1-minute segments in which I alternate between standing/balancing on one foot, then the other. Since doing Super Brain Yoga, my “wobble-factor” has vanished.

 

Am I ready to sign up for that genius quiz show? Not yet, but when combined with the Power Poses I will describe next, AND my daily cup of Power Coffee, (see last week’s post), I am most definitely:

 

  • balanced in mind, body, and spirit
  • ready to meet the day with confidence and resolve, and
  • feel energized yet calm

So, what are Power Poses? Let me explain by introducing you to Amy Cuddy.

Amy Cuddy’s book, Presence, puts science into what I’ve known all along.  While we have long been stoked in the ‘mind-over-matter’ dogma – which is certainly well-documented – and I know can work miracles. Cuddy’s proven approach, however, shows that the body can LEAD the mind.

Her tale of personal transformation is also beautifully told in her *TED talk, which is the 2nd most viewed TED talk and can be found here:  TED

In her book, Cuddy shares studies she and others have conducted, as she gently peels away each application of how we view ourselves, present ourselves, and how others perceive us as a result of our ‘presence.’

As she methodically builds her case for the ‘body over mind’ path to a stronger, more positive personal presence, she shares the famous quote of William James (1842-1910), who was a renowned psychologist at Harvard: “I don’t sing because I am happy. I am happy because I sing.”

The very act of smiling and standing with confidence redirects the body’s chemistry to a positive flow. Why not boost your confidence by holding a power pose for 2 minutes at the start of the day?

The studies Cuddy shares demonstrate that body positions of strength (i.e. Wonder Woman, Superman) – that have a more expansive sitting position with arms away from the body and legs not intertwined – result not only in a mindset of strength, but actually produce positive brain chemistry changes.

The ‘victory stance’ is genetically ingrained. People around the world, across cultures, and even the blind, who have never seen a ‘victory stance’ naturally, assume that pose after great personal accomplishments. Feet apart, chin slightly elevated, hands thrown up in the air outstretched.

It’s universal!

Looking forward to a challenging day? In private, assume your Victory Stance and hold it for two minutes. Claiming that victory – in advance – helps assure a more positive approach on your part and sets up those you are working with or influencing to see you as a person of strength.

Victory Stance pre-event poses do not supplant being prepared for a speech, proposal, or interview. Being well-prepared for life’s challenges is still a must. In fact, as you prepare to put yourself in front of others, precede even your preparations with a Victory Stance each time you practice.

Do note, however, that showing up in front of others looking like Superman may be off putting. This do in private before the presentation.

No speeches to give? We carry our ‘presence’ everywhere we go. It colors how we look at the day, and how the world views and receives us.

Practice unfolding those self-hugging arms, stooped shoulders, and minimalist postures trying to make yourself disappear. Practice in private to be ‘bigger’ to take more space. Hold that chin up, open up your chest, and thrust your arms skyward.

Create a more positive and balanced YOU before you start the day by doing Super Brain Yoga followed by a couple of Victory Power Poses!

Let’s roll the video, Sheree! Watch below as I demonstrate the proper procedure for Super Brain Yoga and for the natural unfolding to two Victory Power Poses:

Wow! That was our FIRST online video for foodtalk4you! Hurray!

A big part of personal satisfaction is stretching and growing beyond our comfort zones.

Online video?  Check!

All of my mornings start this way. Super Brain Yoga, Power Poses, and Power Coffee!

2017 is looking up!

Please leave a comment about how foodtalk4you is helping you or if you have any questions. Share this article with a friend.

Subscribe to this blog so you won’t miss any posts; an email will alert you each time a new one is up. As always, we NEVER share your email address with anyone.

 

 

(*)  TED is a nonprofit devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading.” It was conceived in 1984 as a conference devoted to bringing people together from the three worlds of Technology, Entertainment and Design.

In health,

Deidre

 

 

 

 

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.

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Santa’s Waist Trimmer – “Taking Off the Cookies” – Cookies

Here are 3 important rules to remember: Eat like a king at breakfast, a prince at lunch, and a pauper at dinner. Sure, right? But sometimes, I just want a little something to go along with my coffee, you know? Not a big meal, but something that will tide me over until my first meal. Too many thoughts of “dunkable” donuts, delectable Danishes, or any variety of “healthy” whole-grain, pop-up toaster tarts come to mind.

Yuck. I want to “do my body good.”

Behold, the Breakfast Cookie!

I never want to be without a stash of these. So, every month or so, I’ll “whomp” up a double batch of these babies to freeze. Exactly 11 of these little miracles stack up perfectly along the bottom of a one-gallon Zip-lock bag, which can conveniently be wrapped around the “tube” of cookies and placed in the freezer for future reference.

The Breakfast Cookie recipe is featured in my book, Toolkit for Wellness.  After having made many, many batches of these (meaning: a LOT), I have honed this recipe to just a couple of steps – so to speak – and have streamlined the work, taking any of the guess work out of the nut flour proportions.

So, here we go!

I’ve simplified the prep into ‘wet’ and ‘dry.’  I also assemble ALL ingredients before starting, which is especially important if you are making a double batch. I will, literally, surround each bowl of dry ingredients with smaller bowls of wet ingredients and the requisite three bananas, each before starting.

BREAKFAST COOKIES

Preheat oven to 350, or 325 if using convection. Both of my large baking sheets fit nicely into my oven which will accommodate the twenty-nine cookies this recipe makes with just one baking cycle.

In a food processor, (Mine has a 11-cup capacity which works perfectly), place the following ingredients and pulse 2-3 times for 15 seconds each, until the dates are in very small pieces and the bananas are smooth:

1 Tbsp. lemon juice or juice from ½ lemon

3 large, ripe bananas broken into chunks

7 medium-sized pitted 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 (two of those individual serving applesauce cups)

Pour this mixture into a mixing bowl containing the following ingredients that have been whisked together:

½ cup hazelnut flour

½ cup almond flour

¼ cup coconut flour

¼ cup ground flax seed

¼ cup hemp seed hearts

¼ cup Great Lakes gelatin

3 tsp. Ceylon cinnamon

2 tsp baking soda

1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

½ cup dried fruit of choice (I use blueberries)

Add 2 tsp. of vanilla to mixture as you combine the wet and dry ingredients with a spoon or stirring spatula. The resulting dough should be soft but not sticky. If it seems too soft, add more coconut flour at 1 Tbsp. at a time, stirring after each addition.

Using a golf ball-sized cookie scoop – mine measures just a bit less than 2 inches in diameter – scoop out dough and place cookies onto parchment paper-covered baking sheets.

Breakfast Cookies

Dampen your first two fingers in water and gently press each cookie down a bit. Cookies do not spread out much.

Bake in preheated oven (350; 325 if convection) for 20-25 minutes. My convection oven usually takes 23 minutes. 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 with your favorite breakfast brew will do the trick. Just warm them up a bit in a toaster oven while your coffee or tea brews.

File this recipe under –

Paleo

Gluten-free

Dairy-free

Sugar-free

Soy-free

High-fiber

Excellent sources of protein

Anti-inflammatory

Bone and joint health

Great tasting!

Mornings never tasted so good!

Santa’s Waist Trimmer – Taking Off the Cookies Cookies

 

‘Til next time-

Deidre

 

 

PS: Consumer update! If you own a Cuisinart food processor with a blade constructed with four rivets, please go to recall.cuisinart.com to check if your blade is one of the 8 MILLION being recalled. Mine was! No deaths have been reported, but injuries have as a result of metal shards coming off in the food! Check out the metal fatigue breaks occurring around the rivets on mine:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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