Tag Archives: polyphenols

A Little Bit of T.L.C. To Calm The Winter Storm

Have you noticed?

Can you hear that?

People whimpering… Aches, pains, and just feeling bad are all around.

After maintaining stable health and immune systems through the fall and early winter, folks are dropping like flies to bronchitis, strep, sinus infections, colds that travel through the entire family and even to the pets, (a Chihuahua sneezing is a sad state of affairs), flu, and pneumonia. I have friends on Facebook with tender bodies who even complain their hair hurts.

That’s bad.

Forget the New Year’s party hats. Where’s the chicken soup?

If you or your loved one fall into the category of the “whimpering needy,” then some serious TLC is headed your way! With minimal energy, you can fix these soothing, nutrient-enriched recipes in a jiff! With a few basic ingredients, you can go a long way to body-friendly comfort measures.

One is a healing and strengthening tea, and the other is soup. While others are dashing to the store for peanut butter, bread, milk, and eggs in the face of winter storm advisories, make sure you grab: lemons, fresh ginger, fresh garlic, honey, chicken, quality broth, and green tea.

Background information:

Fresh ginger, lemon, and honey tea is a tried-and-true standard for throat therapy and protection.

Ginger is often referred to as a universal medicine and dates back to ancient Chinese and Ayurveda traditions. Ginger tea contains high levels of vitamin C, amino acids, and trace minerals. As an anti-inflammatory, ginger calms down unhappy tummies and helps to open airways.

Lemon is also a good source of vitamin C and has long been touted as a benefit to daily detox, get-your-body-started-for-the-day, and a help for regularity. My spry grandmother was a firm believer in daily lemon water; she lived a healthy 100 years. So, there you go!

Honey is not only a good source of energy, but packs a powerful load of antioxidant, has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, and is a natural cough suppressant.

Hot or cold, ginger-lemon-honey tea can be just what the doctor ordered. Given the current freezing temperatures, hot is preferable.

Here’s what you’ll need to do for a quick healing brew:

GINGER LEMON HONEY TEA

In a saucepan, assemble:

About 1 to 1 1/2 inch of peeled, sliced fresh ginger

Juice of 1 lemon – And a few extra slices of lemon to float around, if desired

Honey to taste

5-6 bags of green tea

6 cups of water

Heat all ingredients on medium heat and let steep awhile.

Strain and serve. Refrigerate leftovers to reheat.

This can be a bit tangy thanks to the ginger and lemon; vary the amount of honey to balance the sweet-to-tangy ratio.
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That wasn’t too hard to do! Now you have something helpful to sip on while you prepare this gentle, healing, and easy-to-prepare meal.

Background information:

Garlic is rich in allicin, which has powerful antioxidant properties and is beneficial to blood pressure and blood sugar regulation (See my book, Toolkit for Wellness for more information about garlic and other allicin-containing foods.)

Chicken soup – aromatic and therapeutic – just ask Grandma. It works!
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GARLIC LEMON HERB CHICKEN

Any cut of chicken will do. Today I used a chicken breast, semi-frozen and chopped into small pieces. Other times, I have used thighs with bones in to stew a long time. Whatever cut of chicken you have around will do.

About 5-6 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped (do this at least 10 minutes prior to cooking to release the good things – allicin – that make garlic good for you)

About 1 inch to 1 1/2 inches of peeled, sliced fresh ginger

One lemon, rind ends removed, sliced and seeded

Some onion, chopped (Do this 10 minutes before cooking, as well)

Salt

Pepper

Dill weed – The dill weed pairs very well with the lemon

Chicken Broth – free range, if possible

Optional, rice-based, gluten-free noodles

Sauté the onions, garlic, ginger, and lemon slices in butter and olive oil until onions are translucent.

Add chicken. If cubed, stir until all sides lose their pinkness. If whole pieces, brown on each side.

Add broth and seasonings to taste. Simmer until meat is done and flavors have incorporated.

Optional: Before serving, add some Thai, thin rice noodles if your tummy will allow. These cook in a couple minutes.
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The good thing about this soup is you can eat it in stages as your constitution allows:

Savory broth first.

Broth and a few noodles next.

There is nothing like Mama’s TLC and chicken soup, to be sure, but this comes in at a close second- especially if you are the source of your own TLC!

Cuddles to my friends in need. Sorry you have whatever version of the “crud” you have. Nurse yourself back to health with this healing tea and soup. Don’t try to get back onto your feet too fast or your body will let you know who is boss for sure. Relapses are usually worse that the first round!

Be safe!

In health-

Deidre …  Healing from a sty that has made me feel like I had a cold.

Now, where’s my tea?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Three – Two – One …….. Blast Off!!

Happy 2017!

If we’ve learned anything from 2016, it has to be that life can often seem very short. While long-term goals are necessary for keeping your life moving forward and staying on track, remember,  today is a beautiful day to be day one!

So if you are on your 100th consecutive day of doing something good for yourself; or, if it’s day one again – today is all we have anyway. Right?

So let’s blast off each day with a little something that is yummy, delicious, and easy to do. This is also excellent for your energy levels, clarity, and focus – AND – is full of anti-oxidants and anti-inflammation elements which will soothe your insides.

What am I talking about? Power coffee you make yourself with a few basic ingredients!

It even looks like a latte! What could be better?

I tried something similar last year, but stopped because I was using a blender which cooled off my coffee and because…well…I could do without it.

This week, however, I came across a better idea for energizing coffee. Switching out my big blender with my immersion blender has enabled me to keep my coffee hot, blitz any leftovers quite easily, and make clean-up a cinch.

After experimenting the first time with a single cup of this amazing blend, I assembled enough ingredients for a week. The following is the basic recipe for one serving. To make ahead, simply multiply the recipe’s dry ingredients, mix, store in a jar, and add a spoonful to coffee along with the teaspoon of coconut oil for each day.

POWER COFFEE

Into your morning cup of coffee add:

1 tsp coconut oil

¼ tsp. turmeric

Trace amount of cayenne pepper

¼ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp raw cacao

½ tsp collagen

¼ tsp nutmeg

A sprinkle of cardamom

½-1 tsp coconut sugar

Blitz this in a blender or use an immersion blender.

ALERT: Immersion blenders do create a bit of a splash. Do NOT use your coffee cup as a blending bowl. Red face…been there, done that…cleaned it up. What I have discovered is to blend it in the coffee pot IF it is half full. K-cup folks can just use a standard blender; just preheat the blender jar with a bit of hot water first.

What I have discovered about Power Coffee is that I am not ‘charged up’ in a jittery way. I am focused. There is no need to ‘dig deep’ to get out of my chair to start the day’s activities. I am experiencing very stable energy levels and my ‘drive’ lasts and lasts. This is all on coffee that is 50% decaf.

Three days in and I am so pleased! There are calories in this, so I either delay breakfast or decrease the amount I eat. Because I am being well-nourished with this long-lasting drink, my eating has automatically decreased.

Will this do my body good? Yes!

Here is a little information on some of the ingredients:

Coconut oil is special in the category of saturated fats. In addition to being a superb source of energy, coconut oil consists of medium-chain fatty acids which have been shown to be anti-inflammatory and protective to the immune system. Coconut oil is linked to being protective from degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. The bacteria-killing property of coconut is well established. The breakdown of coconut oil in the body also leads to more efficient metabolism.

Turmeric, also known as curcumin, is an ancient healing ingredient with amazing anti-inflammatory properties. Studies show, turmeric is protective against forming the precursors of Alzheimer’s. Its anti-inflammatory properties are shown to relieve symptoms of arthritis, and it is protective against cancer.

Cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar, is loaded with anti-oxidants, calms inflammation, and is linked to brain health.

Raw cacao powder is NOT cocoa powder. Cocoa powder has milk, sugar, and other additives. Raw cacao is simply dried and ground cacao beans.

Cacao beans

Raw cacao beans were called ‘food for the gods’ in ancient cultures due to their great benefits. Cacao beans are a rich source of anti-oxidants, fiber – both soluble and insoluble, carbohydrates, protein, monounsaturated fatty acids that are not harmful to cholesterol levels, some amounts of caffeine and theobromine that are stimulants and anti-depressants, and a host of minerals and vitamins.

Raw cacao powder is made without heating the cacao beans above 116 degrees. Then they are cold pressed to make a paste. The paste is cold ground to yield a raw cacao powder. Thanks to the cold processing, the anti-oxidants and other nutrients are not destroyed.

Collagen is essential for hair, skin, nail, joint, and bone health and is a source of protein. Got creaky joints? Got wrinkles? Get collagen!

I wish you a happy “blast off” as you greet each day with Power Coffee.

“Do your body good” and start the New Year off feeling calm, yet energized, and let me know how your body likes Power Coffee by leaving a comment.

Hello 2017! I’m ready and raring to get started!

Deidre

PS- As a special thank you to my loyal readers,  my Editor, Sheree Alderman, and I have created a PDF of every recipe from last year for your printing pleasure! You can access that collection here: FOODTALK4YOU YEAR END 2016 RECIPES; as well as from the new RECIPE tab on the home page! Click on it to find a drop down menu where you will find a recipe collection, the one from 2016.

You can also access a printer-friendly recipe for this delicious energy-boosting coffee here: POWER COFFEE RECIPE.

Hope this helps! Let us know how you like these improvements!

Til next time-

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 for Thought – The Anti-Inflammation Diet

We’ve all seen the headlines, “Local man loses 22 pounds in three weeks by not eating one kind of thing!”  My chiropractor was almost  giddy as she shared the news with me that one of her patients had lost 22 pounds in just three weeks by following her advice – and mine, too, by the way – by not eating just one kind of food. He wasn’t that interested in losing weight, he just wanted to feel better. Weight loss was just an added bonus. Do you want to “just feel better”?

When my readers do this, they notice improvements in how they feel within the first week. The added bonus? My chiropractor thinks that, in no way, was that fat loss. What was lost was inflammation.

Pus, perhaps? Ewwwww!

Certainly fluid. Inflammation goes hand-in-hand with fluid rushing to the site of the “igluten-free-foodsnjury.” What if that injury is body-wide? No wonder joints are swollen, hurt, and have limited range of motion.

So what did this man and my readers try? They cut out gluten.

I’ll never forget one of my Designed for Health students who pulled me aside to show how she was able to once again put on her rings. She didn’t have to tell me she had lost weight, her slender face and trimmer figure spoke for itself. Her painful, swollen joints were gone. Her Multiple Sclerosis symptoms were far diminished. Life was good!

She felt better!

She cut out gluten. What-is-gluten

The following excerpts from my book, Toolkit for Wellness, should help you understand the mechanics behind going gluten-free and why the benefits can be so far-reaching for you. These excerpts are regarding gluten only; the lectin and phytates parts have been omitted to save space.

Glutens, and Lectins, and Phytates, Oh My!

dark forestTo quote Judy Garland from The Wizard of Oz, “I don’t like this forest—it’s dark and creepy!” “Do you suppose we might meet any wild animals?” To which the Tin Man replies, “Mostly lions and tigers and bears!”

“Lion, and tigers, and bears, oh my!”

When you delve into the forest of so-called whole grain goodness, it’s a clear case of: “Glutens, and lectins, and phytates, oh my!”

While Judy and the gang became fast friends with the bashful lion, we are in no way friends with glutens, lectins, and phytates. Why? What are they anyway? ‘Johnson-Gluten-Graphic-2-1024x680

Well, going back to a better understanding how things work, let’s look at the nature of what we eat.

All living things work very hard to protect their own life. Animals run, jump, fly away, and if caught, claw, squirt toxins, sting, and bite to stay alive.

grainsWhat’s a plant going to do? Clearly not jump out of the ground and run!  Plants protect their precious seeds with coverings that are hard to penetrate, like nuts and their shells. Some fruits have noxious skin such as mangoes. Grains protect their seeds with toxic anti-nutrients: glutens, lectins, and phytates.

Briefly, gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye grains. Gluten, the lectins, and phytates found in other grains, can affect a couple factors in the integrity of the structure and proper functioning of the lining of the small intestine.

Remember Dr. O’Bryan’s analogy of the fuzzy, shag carpet structure of the small intestine lining? The shag carpet structuleakygutcureres need to be maintained for proper absorption of nutrients. They can become damaged, bent, crushed even, which renders them useless in nutrient absorption. To keep his carpet analogy going, in the presence of glutens, we now have Berber carpet.

If that’s not disastrous enough, the integrity of the junctions holding the individual cells of the small intestine lining together is compromised and the intestine becomes “leaky”—also known as intestinal permeability. This is where systemic inflammation and autoimmune issues start.

Inflammatory processes are good if we have cut our finger. Temporary inflammation helps witglutenh healing the cut; but body-wide, chronic inflammation leads to auto-immune issues and disease.

All humans produce a protein called zonulin when gluten is consumed. People with Celiac Disease produce way too much. The excess zonulin causes the junctions between the cells lining the small intestine to open up, allowing toxins, and clumps of gluten molecules to get through which are then absorbed into the blood stream.

Imagine molecules of protein escaping from being absorbed for use sickerand instead, are floating around and being seen as foreign invaders. Our bodies will naturally mount an immune response which is what starts the inflammatory process I have outlined previously. Where ever this immune response happens is where trouble happens, pick an organ, any organ; pick a body system, any body system.

Researchers are saying more and more, the bedrock of most all disease is auto-immune in nature. The gluten found in wheat, barley, and rye (and the lectins and phytates in other grains and nuts) are what serve as a launching pad for auto-immune and inflammatory diseases. This is why the signs and symptoms of any level of gluten sensitivity are so broad.

gluten2To summarize an article of Dr. Tom O’Bryan’s, “The Gut-Disease Connection,” from May 8, 2014, the first step in the development of autoimmune disease is leaky gut. In the event we can reverse the leaky gut, the possibility of shutting off the autoimmune response becomes real.

Is that dark, creepy forest of whole gain goodness looking even creepier yet? Can you connect these dots to the ills we see all around us?

Why are we becoming a nation of people who are obese, diabetic, weak boned, anemic, tired, and head-achy, with ADHD in our children, and victim to mounting auto-immune diseases and Alzheimer’s? Has our DNA broken down?

Science is getting smarter but we are getting sicker! What’s wrong Abstract cells in mitosiswith this picture?

1% of us are allergic to gluten in a drastic way and symptoms of Celiac Disease, as it is called, can manifest fairly early in life. There are Celiacs who have no digestive issues; and there are non-Celiacs who are gluten intolerant with plenty of digestive issues. I have read recent articles stating there are some people on the gluten sensitivity spectrum who are only reactive to wheat. But sometimes it can take decades before the relenting damage reaches the threshold of causing life-altering disability. In fact, I want to share Bob’s story with you right now so you can appreciate what gluten overload, good stress, and bad stress can do to an adult body.

Bob’s Story:

After coming to America at age 17 from Asia, Bob enjoyed a totally American life, immersed in its culture, including the Standard American Diet. Fast forward to Bob at age 70, as he and his wife enjoy a summer trip to Germany and Austria. The good stress of a vacation in Europe is easily off-set by enjoying the cuisine-du-jour, which certainly includes fabulous German and Austrian pastries, breads, and bakery goodies three times a day. Ah! Very exciting times! Maybe not enough sleep, but plenty of pictures and good memories.

 Before they returned home that same month, Bob was experiencing symptoms of a cold, some diarrhea (traveler’s diarrhea?), and decreased appetite. Had Bob picked up some kind of virus? Okay, many travelers pick something up, nothing serious. By July, they were home; but Bob became very, very sick with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea every day. Needless to say this trim man of 125 pounds was rapidly losing weight. The doctors ordered a host of tests, especially for cancer; but they all came back clear. One doctor called this “mysterious” and wondered if he had, indeed, picked up something exotic in Europe.

Add to this mix the stress of moving to another state to be closer to family, leaving behind fabulous friends and a strong church community. Needless to say, Bob got worse. By March the following mysterious illnessyear, Bob and his doctors were convinced he was going to die. He was down to 79 pounds. In a last ditch effort, his test results were forwarded to Massachusetts’ General Hospital for further analysis.

Finally an answer was coming!

Bob had become so allergic to gluten, he was “one notch away” from being a person with full blown Celiac Disease. He had become gluten intolerant. It took eight months to finally get a diagnosis. Eight months of suffering.

 Four months later, still on a gluten-free diet, Bob is now back up to 112 pounds and feeling better each day. It took a couple weeks for him to see any changes for the better, but improvements are happening all along as his body heals.

None of us are immune to the onslaught of forces that create some degree of gluten sensitivity.

Nearly 30% of us are non-Celiac, but test positive for antibodies that indicate the body is at war with itself in some way or the other when gluten is ingested.

In all of my readings, I have never heard of a single person who has not felt better after they stopped eating all forms of gluten. They felt better, they often lost weight, their brains were clearer thinking, their aches and pains lessened, their arthritis improved, their energy levels improved, and their bellies were happy. Truly the list goes on and on.

But your grandma lived to be 102 and she ate bread all of the time? Well, Grandma’s wheat was not the wheat we are eating today. The dwarf wheat grown now is especially high in gluten.

What is one to do? Give gluten-free a real try for 30-60 days; and if  your symptoms improve, great! If you improve somewhat, but still have some level of dis-ease, then expand your eliminations to include all grains (rice, corn, oats, etc.). Once you are normalized, try reintroducing non-wheat grains, one at a time, and note your body’s response. Everyone is unique. Maybe you can eat a bowl of oatmeal or a serving of rice.

Take Away Thoughts:

• Aside from adding to a starchy carbohydrate-laden diet, which causes great swings in blood sugar levels and promotes fat storage, grain consumption presents other problems that contribute to destruction of the small intestine lining and can lead to systemic and chronic inflammation.

Take Away Actions:

• Give healing a chance! For just thirty days, eliminate all gluten and just see how improved you feel. I predict you will start feeling better after just 7 days.

 There you have the low-down on gluten. All of the recipes featured on this website and in my book are gluten-free and non-inflammatory.

Put the bounce back into your step by going gluten-free.

Click on the link here to check out Toolkit for Wellness!

In health-

Deidre

 

 

 

 

February Book Fair!

Welcome to the first Foodtalk4you Book Fair!

Since becoming an author, I haveWriter_banner-630x630 been blessed to discover a vast array of new releases that cover a broad range of topics about health, life, self-improvement, and even business. My reading list is growing each week, and contains books that I want to share with my readers.

So, the idea of a monthly Book Fair just came to me. If you like this, plans are set to do a weekly Book Fair during July so you will have extra titles to peruse while on vacation at the beach or in the mountains!
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My Story of Survival, by Mimi Emmanuel, is an inspiring story that takes my message of anti-inflammatory eating another step. Read my review:

5.0 out of 5 starsStory of My Survival

This is a God-send read for those with mysterious food intolerance.

By Deidre J. Edwards on December 6, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

At the end of your digestive rope? Hang on, you are not alone and I have a friend who can help! This is an honest-to-goodness real story of one woman’s grit and self-determination when faced with an overwhelming medical conundrum as to why her body was on revolt.

You can’t be the master of a sinking ship without becoming a master builder – becoming a student on how to patch and rebuild. Mimi Emmanuel learned how to craft her own survival diet out of just a very few ingredients. While she hopes that none of her readers would ever have to follow her diet, she shares this journey to show that there are answers to be found. There are times when the standard elimination diet is far too broad for those suffering from a fried immune and digestive system.

She shares the Spartan but nourishing diet she had to follow for FIVE years as well as how she has tippy-toed into a more varied Phase 2. I especially like her “useful facts” she places throughout the book to not only make her case as to nutritional needs, but also spark a deeper interest for further study and personal application. I will most definitely recommend this book to those I teach about diet and nutrition.

Now let’s hear from Mimi herself:

“Why did I write this book? I wrote this book because I know that many people suffer because of all kinds of health problems and often these problems are diet related. Obviously, not always. But I wrote this book for those people who suffer from health problems due to diet related issues. My diet may be suitable for anyone who suffers from gut problems, food allergies, food intolerance and chemical sensitivities.

In addition, many conditions such as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, Lupus, Lyme, diverticulitis, and various other health problems and even menopausal symptoms are relieved when all allergens are taken out of the diet or minimized as much as possible.

I hope that my low reactive diet will give my readers the inspiration, in collaboration with their health professionals, to come up with their own variation suited to their situation.”

Here’s the link to Mimi’s book. CLICK
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5.0 out of 5 stars I’m ready to put my spare room up for rent!

Our daughter has happily used Airbnb accommodations for years, so I was interested in the behind-the-scenes story on how someone becomes an Airbnb host.

AirbnbRead my review here:

I’m ready to put my spare room up for rent!

By Deidre J. Edwards on November 3, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Sally takes the reader on the journey she and her husband took–all of the thinking, emotions, planning, and how to avoid any pitfalls in this delightful, easy-to-read guide to all things Airbnb!

So many people are downsized out of a job, or long for a form of self-employment that will actually PAY for something. You can succeed with your dream of adding extra income to the family coffers with this guide by your side! She has already done all of the leg work and research for the reader–she has done all of the heavy lifting–all the reader has to do is follow her lead and profit!

From an exploration of different motivators for Airbnb hosts, to an understanding who the ideal client would be for your location, this guide leaves nothing out from the process. There’s how to communicate with clients, how to prepare the home/room, safety tips, legal issues, problem solving tips, and worthy resources for further study. Rest assured, by reading this book, you will be well-prepared on all aspects of launching your own Airbnb career with your eyes wide open!

Here’s what Sally has to say:

After my daughter was born, I left Corporate America to be a stay-at-home mom. We took a drop in family income. We no longer had a cushion to pay for the “luxuries.” Things like a family vacation, a new car, or home improvements. Saving for retirement was completely off our radar. I also missed the freedom and success that came from earning an income of my own. Yet, I knew I wanted to be a full-time mom to my kids. So I made a decision: I’d be a stay-at-home mom and earn a side income.

Since then, I’ve started a local business, built affiliate websites, created an online course, conducted user testing, sold used items, offered freelance services, and more. All in my “spare” time. Some of these things worked out… and some didn’t. In my book, Make Money On Airbnb, I share one of my most successful ventures. I teach you exactly how we earn $2,500 a month renting out our home on Airbnb.

Here is the link to Sally’s book. CLICK

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I am sharing another medically-related book with you because so many are searching for answers outside of a doctor’s office. Irene’s book underscores and amplifies everything I have written.

Read my review:

How to be your own patient advocate!Power of Ed. Pt.

By Deidre J. Edwards on November 12, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

No one should EVER go into a doctor’s office without some kind of education about health; and especially, how different diseases can be treated by alternative methods. If getting educated about self-care is something new for you, Irene’s book is a great start!

From my own experience with a daughter who was an undiagnosed celiac for a decade, I knew immediately from reading about the author’s daughter what the problem was. Anytime you can learn something new about non-celiac gluten sensitivity, it’s a great thing; and I encourage potential readers to learn from this easy-to-read resource!

Irene follows many different patients as they bounce around the medical system looking for answers when the answers were in plain sight. Just look at the table of contents which covers most of today’s prevalent conditions and buy this book immediately! Really, I just kept nodding my head in agreement as I read case-after-case; and how in each one, a treatment was found – often from outside of the mainstream medical community – and patients’ lives were changed for the better.

If you are dealing with any of the diseases mentioned in this book, please read! As a retired RN, I have seen similar things many times. We as patients MUST come to the doctor’s office with a knowledge base, and you can get that here!

Irene shares her thoughts:

This information-packed reference book offers the wisdom, strategies, and stories of over 20 health experts who started their professional paths after overcoming their own health challenges. Unable to find solutions within the conventional medical system, my storytellers embarked on their own health journeys and discovered alternative healing strategies that allowed them to heal. These people share their proven tactics and fundamental principles that guided them to recovery, they empower us by illuminating the path they took, so we can apply what they learned to our own health and well-being.

This book is designed to educate and empower the reader as a patient.

As an empowered patient we become our own best health advocates!

As our own health advocates – we determine and choose what works best for us from both alternative and conventional medicine, and propel our road to recovery, vibrant health and joyful life!

The book has been endorsed by such gurus in the health and wellness world, as Bernie Siegel (a great surgeon, and NY bestselling author recognized as one of the Top 20 Spiritually Influential Living People on the Planet), Jamie Reno (author, award-winning investigative reporter, global patient advocate, and three-time cancer survivor), Burton Goldberg (publisher, producer, and author of 18 books on alternative health), Kenneth R. Blanchard (an exceptional MD and author), and a number of other outstanding authors and health practitioners.

Here’s the link to Irene’s book. CLICK

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I love children’s books that have built in value and life lessons!

Read my review for Sheree Alderman’s book:

GeorgiChristmas Classic in the making that can be read all year long.

By Deidre J. Edwards on February 28, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Her first book is a new Christmas Classic to be enjoyed all year round! This mindful tale of Georgi, a camel, helps children identify with growing up, lasting friendships, and finding one’s calling. Families should read this aloud every Christmas, right next to, Twas the Night Before Christmas! Discovering one’s destiny, having faith to step forward, and the sweet reward of having done a job well, are but a few of the life lessons Alderman helps children discover. Well written, great story line, and easy to read, with a rich vocabulary to stretch young minds.

Let’s hear from Sheree:

Georgi Who Saw the Angel is not just a holiday story… It is a rainy day… snowy day… grandparent’s day… mom and dad day…stay in bed day…any kind of day… journey where you will meet the most unloved, unwanted, and unimportant little camel named Georgi, and see how he becomes the priceless servant of a very high-ranking king. Georgi is blessed by God to lead the smallest parade of believers to the biggest event in human history.

Here is the link to Sheree’s book. CLICK

Hope you have found our first Foodtalk4you Book Fair to be interesting and that you have found some titles you would like to read or pass along to a friend.

Definitely food for thought and food for action!

-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

 

 

 

 

Free Affirmations Flash Cards!

As a National Board Certified Teacher, I was well acquainted with affirmationsflash cards. The students loved them. A flash card is the only way to learn facts, in my opinion. I have also used them to benefit my meditative time. Positive messages, or affirmations, are also a hot topic for: stress reduction, calming down before bed to get better sleep, mindfully starting the day, and putting your consciousness and faith in the right place.

These flash cards are near and dear to my heart. They came about as a result of reading Dr. Norman Vincent Peale’s book, The Power of Positive Thinking. His up-lifting Bible quotes and affirmations that he penned or quoted from others so moved me that I wrote them down on pretty square sheets of paper.

A medical team performing an operation
A medical team performing an operation

Around the time of my retirement in 2012, I felt a need to shore my spirit up with affirmations that would sustain me through a waiting period before some much needed major surgery. Contrary to what I thought, I was not going to just ‘have my usual care-free summer’ then have my surgery in late August. No. My physical activity ground to a near halt. My spirit wanted me to hustle around walking along the beach, straightening up the house in anticipation of a post-surgical healing period, and tucking away teaching mementos.

Nope.

It seems that patience is a life lesson that I keep having to work on. It’s a recurring personal theme. Anyway, to get myself in the right frame of mind, going through these affirmations waaffirmation2s pure gold. After using these precious squares of wisdom and calm on a daily basis, somehow they got shuffled off into a drawer.

Recently, a friend of mine was facing some major surgery herself, and was a bit tearful about the whole thing. This had been something she had vowed she did not want to do, but do she must. When trying to console her and give her my prayers for peace and a successful outcome, I remembered these gems. How I wished I could have handed them to her!

I had needed my surgery badly, too, and was happily anticipating the day of its arrival. After a recovery period of several months, I was going to be and feel so much better. When waking up from the anesthetic, the first thing I said was, “I’m so happy!” I was so happy for the waiting to be over and so happy to start my recovery, but still in need of my affirmations! Recovery can be maddeningly slow.

There is that lesson in patience, again. Without these little gems, I would have gone out of my mind before and/or after my surgery.
We do not need to be getting ready for surgery, though, to benefit from daily affirmations. They are a great way to start, finish, or revive during the day.

These affirmatioCosmetic-Surgery-recoveryns would be best printed by you on some pretty paper. Choose your favorite color or find a great floral print or gentle pattern that would not take away from the message on them. So, print your set; there are 8 pages. Each page has lines for you to cut them out. I do keep mine in a certain order because the flow of thought works well for me. You’ll notice there are some blanks on page 8 and a full blank page for 9 so you can add your own.

How to use your affirmations:

The whole idea behind putting these on ‘cards’ and not just printing them out as a list is to give us an opportunity to mindfully read and reflect on each one; taking time to consider, ponder, and apply its truth.I-believe

Many of these are Bible quotes that may appear to repeat, but the message is from a different source. Sometime we need repetition. The one about the ‘rough being a state of mind’ is in reference to golfing. When the ball lands in the rough, it is our mindset that controls how “doomed” we feel. It’s not being Pollyanna, it’s being optimistic and embracing a can-do spirit. Mindset is everything.

CLICK BELOW FOR FREE AFFIRMATION FLASH CARDS!!  (.pdf format). You can download and print them off!

Affirmation Flash Cards   

So, let’s continue with the positive flow of the New Year.

Gosh, we have tackled: 1) Stress, 2) Kale, and 3) Water intake already! Now we can continue with positive thoughts each day.

It has been a personal pleasure to share these Affirmation Flash Cards  with you! Please share with me any of your own that I could pass on to others!

In health-

Deidre