Tag Archives: muscle and joint pain

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).

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

“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!

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(*)  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

 

 

 

 

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:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chilly November Night’s Butternut Squash Soup!

If you buy a butternut squash every year thinking you’ll dbutternut-squash1o something creative with it but don’t…. If that lowly butternut squash just sits on your counter promising to be nothing more than an object you might want to grab in self-defense during a home invasion… Then stay tuned for some great news!

Good. Better. Best. Never let it rest until good is better, and better is best!

Plain butternut squash soup is… good.

Add caramelized onions and garlic to get something… better.

79583a8c-8bb5-44cd-bde5-718df55d33d2Add anti-inflammatory spices, creamy good-fat from coconut milk, and bone building gelatin, and you’ll have the best steamy bowlful of butternut squash goodness you’ve ever had! It’s the BEST!

Let’s get right to the recipe. This is so easy to do and was a lot less of a mess to do using my immersion blender! Wow! First time using it for creamed soups – no more transfers to the blender and then to another soup pot.

Easy-peasy!

The day before, I sliced a butternut squash lengthwise, scooped out 2e42de54-6751-414e-a47c-443a8c118e3cthe seeds, and put the cut sides down on to a rack in a baking dish with about ½ inch of water in the bottom. I baked the two halves at 350 degrees until tender enough to easily poke with a cooking fork into the thicker neck section of the squash – about 50 minutes. When cooled enough to handle, I scooped out the flesh and stored it in a container overnight.

Armed with plenty of cooked squash, putting this soup together the next day was a smooth process. Pun intended.

Simply follow the recipe below:

GOOD – BETTER – BEST BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

Into a large soup pot on medium heat add:

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped*
  • ½ BULB of garlic (that’s about 5-6 cloves), peeled, smashed, and chopped*47f1a1b0-bda5-4000-ae72-43b90f36c9b0
  • Extra Virgin olive oil to cover the bottom of a soup pot
  • A dollop of grass fed butter for an extra yummy factor (about a Tablespoon or so)

Slowly sauté veggies until clear. Reduce heat and add a tablespoon or two of water to continue cooking to caramelize veggies. This may take 7-10 minutes.

43591fc8-2c67-4df6-9879-d93d40dc9a12(*) Make sure to let these prepared allium family vegetables rest at least ten minutes before cooking. See my book, Toolkit for Wellness, page 162, to learn why.

Add the following seasonings and ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons of curry
  • 1 tablespoon of turmeric
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • ½ can full fat coconut milk (if the cream is solid, scoop out about half to use and pour about half of the clear fluid into soup pot)
  • ¼ cup of Great Lakes unflavored gelatin, evenly sprinkled over the top of the ingredients
  • 1 – 8 ounce free range chicken broth with about ½ cup of water to rinse out containerimg_3024
  • Flesh of one baked butternut squash

This is where the fun started for me. Using my trusty immersion blender, I simply blitzed the cooked soup ingredients into creamy wonderfulness. No more using a dripping ladle to fill a blender in small hot batches to blitz, then pour into ANOTHER soup pot to finish. Yay! I can’t recommend my immersion blender enough!

Once the soup was piping hot there was nothing left to do but enjoy!

Deidre

I’ve worked up my 649df344-82a1-49a0-a863-ccbe511e85ceappetite for some healing soup and will be pulling out some of this Good – Better – Best Butternut Squash Soup from the freezer for dinner tonight!

Please let me know how you like this.

Editor’s note: Please CLICK HERE for a printer-friendly “Best Butternut Squash Soup” recipe!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nothing Spooky With This Smoothie!

woman-scaredOne of my Designed for Health students, Steve Lambert, still jokes me about my heavy duty green smoothies that were – in retrospect- admittedly a challenge to drink. Apologies to all!

It is not necessary to add EVERY great and healthful ingredient to one single smoothie. Our daughter, Serena Ann, inspired me to create something healthy AND tasty!

With the basis of frozen fruit, yogurt, protein, and a handful of greens, I am committed to having an ENJOYABLE SMOOTHIE every morning this week!

Today’s concoction included:

  • A generous handful of frozen cantaloupe
  • A modest handful of baby kale
  • A half cup of coconut milk
  • A tablespoon of chia seeds
  • At least a half cup of vanilla yogurt
  • A scoop of protein powder
  • A half cup of water

Tomorrow I may change out the protein for a handful of almonds. This is very drinkable and I am being rewarded with good fats, fiber, probiotics, and a serving of powerfully beneficial greens!

Happy Halloween! May there be NO spooks in your smoothie!

witch-pumpkins

 

Deidre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Incredible, Edible Egg Can Do That?

Calm a burn, of course!

Knowing that you can’t believe everything you read in Facebook, I just filed away a bit of information I read a couple years ago about a seemingly ‘magic’ treatment for burns.

Until recently, I had been getting relief from minor cooking and baking burns to the hands by grabbing a freshly cut onion and rubbing on the onion juice. Worked for me … sort of … until last time or two when … dang! The fire was still in my burn … and there was a scar to show for it later on.kettle on stove

Enter the amazing EGG WHITE MIRACLE ‘CURE’! First time I used egg white on a burn, I gladly sacrificed a whole egg to get to the white; but then I managed to find what I needed by rummaging through the shells from the eggs I had just used for breakfast. There is ALWAYS egg white left in the broken shells! See photo.

14463272_1762295754009120_3026853588516095306_nThe small amount left in the shell was just enough to drip onto my burned knuckle to get immediate relief. Just let the egg white dry for a while, approximately 15 minutes, and gently rinse off with cool water. Voila! No more burn and no scar!

The original article I had seen touted someone with major burns being initially treated on site with egg white and was spared from burns-4all the usual horrors of burn treatments and scarring. However, I cannot promote this “homemade remedy” without telling you, this information is given only to share what happened to me. By no means is this an expert’s method of treating a burn. As always, see your doctor for professional advice!

Just wanted to throw this ‘out there’ as my own personal testimony. With more baking and cooking going on in the approaching months, I’m sure someone might appreciate this tip.

-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