Tag Archives: University of Chicago’s Celiac Disease Center

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

 

 

Watermelon-Mint Summer Salad!

Espousing coping skills, and actually using them, are two different things. As my beloved continues to slumber more than 15 hours a day now, it would be easy for me to just ‘spin in place’ as I watch his winding down. The three rounds of planks that energized me on Tuesday, are just not motivating me today. My yoga mat is not calling to me.

Today’s coping skill is in shifting focus away from me and onto sharing something good with YOU my dear readers!

I have clipped out and saved so many nifty-sounding recipes for salad dressings; and yet have used virtually none of them. If you are like me, then I even hesitate to share a recipe. Rather, I am sharing a concept instead.

Necessity being the mother of invention, an idea came to mind this week that answered several needs:

  • Something to moisturize some dry leftover baked chicken that was destined to be chopped up into a salad.
  • Something that would use at least a part of my over-abundant supply of mint. Note to self: plant less mint and more basil.
  • Something that would ‘smile’ at me from the salad bowl and lift my spirits.
  • Something that would use up this watermelon that I am the only one eating now.

Voila!

Watermelon Mint Salad Dressing

Remember, this is a concept, not a ¼-teaspoon-at-a-time recipe!

The first step is to smash-up some watermelon.

For my solo serving, I used half of an inch-slice of watermelon taken from one of those mini bowling ball-sized melons. An old fashioned potato masher does the job and leaves some small chunks.

Add some chopped up fresh mint leaves. I generally use the leaves from a 12-inch stem.

Salt

Pepper

Splash of EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

Splash of white wine vinegar

That’s it! Stir and pour over your salad!

Having made this three times this week, my salad contents have varied with the addition of leftover sautéed okra, avocado, mango, blueberries, steamed broccoli, and of course that chicken.

Salads are a wonderful way to keep soaking up all of that fresh summertime vegetable goodness. Cooking pretty much for one now, I tend to cook more than I need for one meal.

Just convert most leftovers to salads in the summers!

This Watermelon-Mint Summer Salad Recipe concept has revitalized my flagging spirits and has given me fun nutritional meals.

We’ll be needing this added aspect of cooling, as yet another heat wave is in progress!

Thanks for reading-

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).

 

 

 

 

 

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

It’s Celiac Awareness Month.

Have you been asking yourself questions like these:

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

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

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

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

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

So, who should be tested for CD?

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

HOWEVER – there are also two more categories of sensitivity:

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

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

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

Signs and Symptoms for Adults:

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

Check? Check? Check?

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

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

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

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

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

How do you know if you have PCOS?

Some of the symptoms of PCOS are:

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

Have some ideas popped off the page for you?

Are you seeing yourself or someone you know?

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

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

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

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

This is serious business.

It’s our choice.

In good health –

Deidre

 

 

 

 

Spring Sings In Color!

Picture this: vitality and positive energy coupled with a calm satisfaction and sense of well-being. That’s something we can use – right now.

Well, I found it!

It may have something to do with the waterfall effect of negative ions that prevail in the air around waterfalls and other moving bodies of water. It may also be associated with the positive vibrations being emitted from masses of growing plants.

Let me explain.

If you want a snapshot of human kind at its best, spend some time at your local nursery this spring.

Take in who you see. Young couples full of anticipation as they decide how to put their own landscaping and beautifying mark on their home. A business man in white shirt and tie after work, selecting flowers and herbs to plant when he gets home. Seasoned gardeners checking off items on a list. Lots of couples of every age. Neighbors. Children. Single people. Many with pensive looks as they imagine plant combinations. Some who are undecided and who are trying not to buy everything in sight.  Every one of them with a little bit of ‘nature’ in their hands, or lots of ‘nature’ in their crowded carts and dollies.

Take a deep breath. The smell of plants and rich growing medium fill the air. Brush against an herb to release the scents of basil, mint, rosemary, lavender, and more. Smell the damp soil keeping young roots alive.

Listen to the sounds around you. Discussions about the right shade of rosebush. Questions being answered, not only by nursery staff, but by other shoppers willing to share their knowledge. Offers for assistance from everyone around as someone tries to wrestle a bag of mulch or potting soil onto their cart. The sounds of plants being watered.

Feel the neighborly atmosphere all around you. This is like the opposite of the evening news. Calm and order prevail. Then focus on the young growing plants; they are absolutely exuding a positive aura…you can feel it!

Moving water allows us to relax and feel better because of a change in the charge of ions in the atmosphere. Finding peace at the beach? It’s the negative ions. Feeling edgy on a dry, windy day? It’s the positive ions. In the case of atmospheric ions, negative is better.

You can catch that feeling around a waterfall. That’s why even a garden fountain helps us to relax.

I credit the man watering all of the plants at our local Lowe’s nursery – Joe. Not only is he lovingly giving water to all of the seedlings and plants from the sprinkler head nozzle he holds, he is changing the atmosphere! Calming water sounds seem to caress the shoppers as they select the “just right” shade of Impatiens.

Thank you, Joe!

After multiple trips to several local nurseries, I have created my own little “Eden” on the back porch, spruced up the front entrance to our house, and added to our back decorative garden.

“Satisfaction” hardly describes the feeling after planting all of my beauties!

And sitting from the porch swing, I can survey color, life, nature, attractiveness, and a benefit to local humming birds and bees! What could be better?

Feeling renewed-

Deidre

 

 

 

 

Hmmm! Scones That Love You Back

Chef vs. Baker

Which are you? Pinch of “this,” and a dash of “that”?  Or, “one level cup of sifted flour”? Chef or baker?

It’s just that I’m more of the chef type; but sharing recipes requires more refined explanations of measurements for predictable outcomes. Thus, MANY batches of scones have been prepared, photographed, recorded … and eaten. *burp*

Pardon me!

I know, I know. Tough job but somebody has to do it.

Foodtalk4you has been ever so quiet lately due to my caregiving ministrations, which are always a priority. Thank you for your patience and understanding concerning my unpredictability. My dear husband continues to be under hospice care and my care at home. Still confined to bed, his uncomplaining and appreciative attitude is sprinkled with humor, insight, and love.

The kitchen “laboratory” however, has seen a lot of activity as I tried to optimize my favorite scone recipe to give you consistently wonderful results.

With a Valentine’s Day post in mind, I kept making these little darlings in heart shapes. Needless to say, I missed that deadline; but a heart-shaped scone is so precious any time of year! A good way to say, “I love you!” don’t you think?

You can make the typical scone shape which is achieved by rolling the dough into a circle, slicing into wedges, separating the wedges, and baking.

The heart-shaped scones require a bit more effort using a cookie cutter; and can be problematic if the walnuts are not finely chopped. A secret method? I ended up actually filling the heart shape, pressing the dough down to reach the edges and height of the cookie cutter exactly. Consistent results and portion control.

Long time readers of Foodtalk4you and Toolkit for Wellness know that, just because a recipe is gluten-free, does not make it healthy. I am always trying to pack in extra good-for-you ingredients and to dial back added sugars. This recipe for scones that love you back does that with:

Quinoa Flakes- a rare source of plant-based essential amino acids. Those are the amino acids our body does not make by itself, thus we must get them from our diet. Amino acids are the “building blocks” of proteins. Just 1/3 cup of quinoa flakes contains 4 grams of protein.

Collagen Hydrolysate – unlike gelatin, this powder does not congeal. It is a power house of satisfying, satiating, healing protein that is packed with 20 amino acids! Two rounded tablespoons of collagen hydrolysate yields 11 grams of protein.

Walnuts- a great source of plant-based Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and an amino acid l-arginine which is heart healthy. Walnuts have been shown to help with brain function, suppression of tumor growth, weight control through increased satiety, as well as improved blood sugar levels. Experts say that even a quarter of a cup of walnuts a day can positively impact our health.

Regarding all nuts: Please buy raw, organic nuts for maximum benefit. But wait! You’re not done! Remember to soak your raw walnuts overnight in salted water; rinse and drain; then dehydrate at a low temperature (110-118 degrees) until light and crispy. The results are crunchy and much more digestible. As always, refer to your copy of Toolkit for Wellness for the full scoop on the whys and wherefores of sprouting all of your nuts to ease their digestion.

Another plus to this recipe is it requires a minimal number preparation tools and little clean up. Check out my new cool stirring device.

Instead of using a floured surface to roll out the dough, I just use the same parchment paper sheet used for the baking. Easy-peasy clean up!

So, that’s the back ground material on “Scones that love you back.” Let’s get to the recipe.

SCONES THAT LOVE YOU BACK

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 cup Quinoa Flakes (I use Ancient Harvest brand)
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • ¼ cup collagen hydrolysate (I use Great Lakes brand)
  • 3 Tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Rind of one orange, zested
  • ¼ dried cranberries, chopped
  • ¾ cup walnuts, chopped
  • Have on stand-by: 1 or more Tablespoons of ground flax seed if dough is too wet

Wet Ingredients

  • ¼ cup butter, melted (I use Kerrygold brand – from “happy” grass fed Irish cows)
  • 1/3 cup orange juice with pulp
  • 1 egg, beaten

Glaze

  • 1 egg, beaten

Optional

  • Turbinado Raw Cane Sugar Crystals to sprinkle on top before baking

Method

Put all dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir well to combine.

Add wet ingredients, stirring well to combine and create dough. If the dough seems too wet or sticky to a light touch of finger tips, add one tablespoon of ground flax, stirring well. Flax absorbs moisture. Wait a minute to test dough again before adding another tablespoon of it, if needed.

Turn dough out onto a parchment paper covered baking sheet. Form into a smooth ball and press down to a circle with ½ inch thickness.

For traditional scones: cut into 8 wedges using a knife or pizza cutter; separate slices on baking sheet; follow baking instructions.

For heart-shaped scones: use a cookie cutter to press out shapes, reforming scrap dough into another ½ thick layer until all dough is used. OR use my secret method of filling each heart-shaped scone, hand pressing the dough into the shape, and level with the top of the cutter. Separate scones on baking sheet.

Apply egg wash using a brush.

Sprinkle just a dab of Turbinado crystals on top of each scone, if desired. It looks nice but is not intended to become a sugar-bomb coating.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. My heart-shaped 2 ½ inch across scones take 18 minutes. Scones should be golden brown when done.

Cool on wire rack.

Enjoy these healthy scones for a delightful start to your day.

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For a printable recipe, CLICK HERE: SCONES-THAT-LOVE-YOU-BACK-PRINTABLE

In health-

Deidre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Game Pizza – “Hut! Hut! Hike!”

New Bern, NC — Even non-sports fans such as moi, (myself), can enjoy a big game, final tournament, or the Olympics, (YES!), every once in a while. What’s a big game without big game food? Can the words, ‘big game food,’ even be uttered by someone trying to, “Do my body good,” at every turn?

If you have the idea converting everything containing flour, (pretzels, pizza, or brownies), over to a gluten-free substitute will somehow magically make you healthy, think again. Going gluten-free can be one of the biggest rabbit holes we can fall in.

Wonder why that weight is not melting away after holding back on gluten? It’s probably because you have a cupboard full of gluten-free equivalents. In other words, you are still eating pretzels, pizza, brownies, pasta, cakes, and cookies. That’s a lot of carbs, folks.

But what about Friday night pizza? What about the Super Bowl? Isn’t there a better way to do pizza besides just getting the local carry-out’s gluten-free version?

YES!

You’re going to laugh when I share with you how I found this.

Shopping at the grocery store always seems to be done in such a rush, you know? I was hastily scanning the gluten-free frozen foods section when I spied what I thought was frozen thin crusts for pizza. A quick read of the very short ingredient list passed the test for no chemicals or high fructose corn syrup. Okay. Grab it. Done. Out of the store.

Upon closer inspection, these were VERY THIN crust objects. Heck. They were tortillas! Geez.

But maybe I was onto something…

Only 24 grams of carbs and no sugar? Eureka! It’s always been the sauce and toppings that called me like sirens from the deep anyway, so here we go!

Prep the baking pan by smearing some olive oil on where the tortillas go and let them thaw.

Pre-cook any desired meats. I sautéed free-range ground beef and turkey, and some ground Italian sausage. My one nod to chemicals was in the few slices of turkey pepperoni.

Prep an assortment of vegetables. I used purple onion, red and yellow bell peppers, mushrooms, baby spinach leaves, and olives. Use your imagination- colors and textures abound!

Then assemble. If not using homemade pizza sauce, I always turn to Classico Brand Traditional Pizza Sauce because it has just a few ingredients and no HFCS.

Sauce. Meat – if using. Onions. Mushrooms. Olives. Spinach. Cheese.

Bake in a 400 degree preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese bubbles.

Yum!

This pizza may need to be eaten mostly with a fork, but the experience and taste was definitely a pizza experience.

Maybe this paper thin crust pizza will become your go-to big game or Friday night treat. It has for me!

Now, who is playing in the Super Bowl? Ah, yes! Justin Hardy, who graduated from West Craven High School, where I taught!

Falcons Justin Hardy

 

GO JUSTIN!!

I will be rooting for the Falcons!

Just sayin’.

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

 

 

 

 

 

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: