Posts Tagged With: food

Too Much of a Good Thing: whole grains vs refined vs flour

2014

Happy New Year!  2014?!  I can now say “that was 20 years ago” or at least “that was 15 years ago” very easily….it’s strange but fun at the same time.

Quick updates before we get to the topic at hand.  First, I had wonderful holidays; I love my family/friends and it was really nice to get spend time with most of them between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Some are just too darn far away but still felt the love from far away.  We also hosted and attended a lot of super fun parties.  December is one of my favorite months.

In terms of a health update, I am doing pretty well overall.  Emotionally I am getting better about my body image, about how I perceive the food I am eating, why I’m eating it, etc. which is a huge part.  But I do still have the physical damage of UC that I’m trying to heal through food, yoga and love, and not through medication.  It becomes challenging because what I eat often affects those around me…..you know, since they are around me while I’m eating.  I still struggle with keeping the majority of my diet whole, plant-based foods throughout the day, and throughout the entire preparation (i.e. no added sugars, butter, excessive oil, etc).  If I am preparing it, it is obviously much easier to control, but time management issues take us to restaurants more frequently than I’d like to admit.  Plus with the holidays there is a TON of eating out and eating at other people’s houses.  Which is fun, just not as fun for my bloody poop and burny butthole feeling.  :)  This all resulted in a mild but consistent flare during pretty much the whole November/December season.  I had a few blood-free movements but most of them had a least a little bit of blood, some a lot.  It is what it is and as I keep telling myself, it is still WAY better than when I was on medication.  I had a GI appt yesterday morning and he doesn’t see a need to have a colonoscopy this year after all.  He said if I wanted to, he could do a flexible sigmoidoscopy (much more mild procedure) but I think I’m good right now.  I can feel where my body is at and overall I’m happy.  I know what I need to do to stay healthy, it’s about sticking with it!

Onto the topic at hand.  Too much of a good thing.  I was/am very confused about “processed foods.”  Everyone in the current research says they are bad.  I know first hand that if I eat mostly processed foods, then I feel like crap.  Processed foods are hard to process!  Or is it that they are too easy?  There seems to me, two different kinds of processed.  Commercially processed and at-home processed.  Granted, I don’t have time to take whole wheat berries and pound them into flour, but if I did, would it still be “bad” for me?  If I get a smoothie at Jamba Juice, it’s going to be orange juice from concentrate and fruits picked out of season, frozen and shipped across the world, blended with yogurt.  But if I make a smoothie at home, then it’s organic fruit, small amount of fresh fruit juice and vegetables.  Inherently, blending isn’t “bad”, in fact most would agree that blended food is much easier to digest than whole foods (see: baby food vs adult food).  If you follow that logic even more, why would it be bad to take every food, mash it up into tiny little pieces and then eat it?  You are saving your body hours of time!  Some people actually do that, and with fruits and vegetables, maybe it’s not a bad plan.  It also leads to one of the arguments for juicing: your digestive system doesn’t have to work hardly at all, and it is a BOOM! effect of vitamins and minerals.  Ahhh, but then you are taking out the fiber.  Which is where we get into commercially processed foods.

wheatI’m going to be focusing on grains here, because it’s what confuses me the most and is my Achilles’ heel.  I love anything baked in an oven.  Especially sweet things out of an oven.  Bread, muffins, cinnamon rolls, scones, even pretzels (although I tend to crave sweet over salty), oh and did I mention bread?  When I do any cleanses or strict food diets for a long period of time, bread is always the #1 thing that I crave.  Why is that?  The answer is probably an entire blog post on its own, and it probably involves emotional eating, but all of the things I mentioned are flour based products.  How is it we make flour?  We pound down whole grains into powder.  But much more than just pounding is going on here (that’s what she said)….

facts_seed

In whole grains, there are three main parts of the seed that we harvest and eat (these seeds are also known as kernels, groats or berries): bran, germ and endosperm.  By buying whole wheat berries and then grabbing a meat tenderizer and smashing the hell out of them in your kitchen, you are doing more than simply getting a little aggression out (although that could be a good mental health exercise to focus your anger).  You are breaking down the outer layer or bran of the grain.  The fiber is all spread out and pre-broken down on your kitchen counter.  All of the sudden, that grain is magically now digested faster.  The body doesn’t have to worry about breaking down the hard exterior that held the grain together.  It will be processed much faster and more efficiently.  A good thing?  Maybe?  Question mark?

So you continue your demonic demonstration of power and continue to beat those poor wheat berries until there is nothing left but a fine powder or flour.  It’s not that different, right?  The nutrients are still there.  And yet if you were to eat a spoonful of that flour, it would have a radically different digestive journey than a spoonful of the original material.  Although eating a raw spoonful of either substance would be questionable behavior.

Whatever you do with it, if you leave that flour out too long, it will start to decompose, much like any food that is even halfway decent for you.  The oils and fats in the germ oxidize and become rancid.  In the 1800s, humans figured out they could merely take out the parts that would go bad!  Industrial milling started to filter out the germ and bran, leaving the endosperm by itself, sad and lonely.  The endosperm can last on a shelf (or in your freezer) for a loooong time.  Viola!  Crisis averted.

Unfortunately, there are a ton of awesome nutrients in the bran and germ that you lose in the endosperm-only flour.  They try to mechanically add a few of the vitamins back in (hello enriched and fortified products), but I think common sense would tell you that an isolated chemical nutrient isn’t going to be as welcome in the body as the real thing.  Perhaps even more relevant, the ratios are all off and they don’t even bother putting back in most of the vitamins.  It’s like anything (a beautiful piece of music, a great football team, really delicious pesto): the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

And finally, back to fiber.  Fiber makes things metabolize slower, makes you fuller longer and protects against insulin resistance.  Buuuuut, most of the fiber is in the germ and the bran which was just milled out!  Oops.  Without it, metabolism becomes lightning quick, triggers an insulin response and a dramatic drop in glucose…followed of course by a surge of hunger.  Hunger surges crave quick fixes.  Your body is craving the nutrients, not the donuts.  But unfortunately, what’s a quick fix to trick the body into thinking it’s happy?  More refined carbs, more sugar, more distilled and concentrated foods that would be more appropriate for an astronaut.  But we’re not astronauts.  Well most of us anyway.  It becomes too much of a good thing.  We process the flour like juice, it’s instant.  Except with vegetable juice it’s a boost of vitamins and nutrients.  With flour, it’s a boost of starch and basically acts as sugar.  Even the whole-grain flours that purport to have all the germ and bran in there still have the fiber all spread out, just like your now ruined kitchen counter.

At this point, for me, it comes down to preparation.  How do we humans typically prepare whole grains (brown rice, millet, quinoa)?  Boil it in water for awhile, maybe throw some spices or vegetables or even meat in there.  Then we eat it!  How do we humans typically prepare flour?  You’re not going to take flour and sprinkle it over your broccoli.  Flour is gross on its own.  It must be cooked, baked, fried, something.  And usually that “something” is going to be an even harder food to digest.  We combine it with sugar and dairy, oil and eggs.

What’s my bottom line here?  Like seemingly everything else, if you are going to eat flour-based foods, eat them in moderation.  Make those foods the minority on your plate and pair them with a bunch of veggies!  For example, we made pasta last night.  Pasta is obviously, flour based.  But we made it with 6 cups of spinach, a bunch of artichoke hearts and a pistachio-lemon “pesto” (pistachios, lemon juice, olive oil and shallots).  I felt great afterward, no bloating or hunger spikes or weird cravings.  Important to note that I made the meal with my wonderful husband, we played games and took our time through the whole thing.  I have to always keep in mind, to digest peacefully, the ritual of the meal may be just as significant as the meal itself.

Continued happy and peaceful eating to you!

Editor’s Note: I am not an expert on this stuff, but I did learn a ton by writing this post.  Hope you got something out of it too.  I encourage you to do your own research and see what resonates with you!  Please correct me if I said anything wrong on here, I want to be as accurate as possible, as I am still learning myself!  I heavily leaned on the work of the interwebs (yes, even wikipedia), this great write-up, and my awesome new book I got from Deb for Christmas: Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health.  That recipe from last night was our first try from the book and it was amazing!

ALISA’S MUSIC CORNER

I haven’t been into too much new music lately.  JJ Grey & Mofro have fun background funky music that I’ve been throwing on Spotify.  Or for yoga, I’ve been listening to playing a lot of Bonobo in my classes.   Other than that, oldies but goodies!  I am looking forward to the Bruno Mars halftime show at the Super Bowl.  Oh, and we went to a Reel Big Fish show last weekend.  Despite having only one original member left, they brought the house down with their still true-to-roots ska energy.  The number of teenagers there was unbelievable too!  I was a teenager when that stuff was popular.  I think the sole radio hit they had was Sell Out, but we listen to Beer after every softball victory.  Here’s both, dance your heart out!

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Categories: Colitis, Food and Diet | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Your diet confuses me”

confused

I get this a lot.  Or variations on the theme:  “I don’t understand what you’re eating right now.” “Are you allowed to eat that?”  “Can you eat _______?”  Well, in theory, I could eat tinfoil and wash it down with bacon grease.  It’s just not a good idea for me at this point.  I got this “your diet confuses me” from my well-intentioned friend Jeff recently.  To be honest, your diet confuses me, Jeff.  haha.  Not really, yours is very straightforward: rare steak, cheddar cheese, Ritz, ranch dressing, Coke and dark beer.   Done.  Oh and Bombay Sapphire, of course.  :)

I think what confuses most people about my “diet” or what I eat is that it is not entirely consistent.  I change it a lot.  I cheat quite a bit now that I’m healthier and my colon is feeling better.  My food choices depend on the day at this point.  But in the end, my main goal is simply to eat a lot of vegetables.  It’s funny how the old, stereotypical message of “eat your vegetables” turns out to be my basic truth!  I would venture to say that we all need to be eating a stupid amount of vegetables.  And fruits of course.  But the green stuff just is going to help you.  Period.  The slick part is that the more green stuff you’re eating (and I don’t mean the apple flavored sour candy), then the less of the other stuff you’re eating.

I happened upon this article titled, “blah blah blah, recycled information that I’ve read 1000 times on mindbodygreen.com, etc., etc.”  Oh I’m sorry, my mistake, it was called Don’t Overthink Your Diet, Just Eat More Plants.  And here I am, super hypocritical, retyping the same message.  But you absolutely can’t hear it enough.  It’s like in teaching where you will say a concept 100 times and the student is not getting it.  But then a guest speaker comes in and says the exact same thing and the student’s like “hey, I wish someone would have told me that earlier!”  And then the teacher wants to punch themselves in the face…..but they are also happy the the student finally got it.  So I feel like if it gets mentioned enough, then at least one new person will get it every time.

At the hippie place in OB where I buy my tea for my kombucha, I was talking to the tea guy about food and eating this and that, and he gave me an example I definitely relate to.  He said he loves and drinks tea because it’s the opposite of nachos.  My reaction was of course, laughter.  Then: “What?  What does that even mean?” “Well, nachos taste amazing.  Sometimes, you really enjoy eating them.  Then later on?  You feel like absolute crap.  Your stomach hurts, you have to run to the bathroom.  But with tea…maybe it sometimes it’s delicious or sometimes it tastes like crap when you are drinking it.  But my goodness.  You feel amazing later on.”  That’s how I want my food to make me feel.  Like a million bucks.  It’s what I have to keep reminding myself of when I want to reach for that extra piece of bread or the free cheesecake that’s on the dinner table at the fancy event I went to tonight!  Hypothetically speaking.  (I ate the cheesecake, by the way.  And felt like crap later on.)

The other side of confusion is helping those who want to eat better but aren’t exactly sure how.  I am pretty good at knowing my body at this point, what’s going to make it feel good and not.  I call my diet “Food That Doesn’t Make Me Feel Like Crap.”  This handle on what’s good/what’s bad does not mean it’s super easy to stick to, but at least I have a little bit of that awareness.  Many people don’t, which is fine, but the lack of knowledge definitely can make picking out what to eat for meals and snacks a challenge.  Keep it simple, as mentioned before: don’t stress over it and eat more vegetables, as close to how you found them in the ground as possible.  I find that when I’m having a stretch of days like today where I’m feeling….not great….then I take stock of what I’ve been eating and it turns out to be mostly non-vegetable.  It’s a continual practice of bringing those foods back in, again and again.  Staying creative and making it interesting helps a lot.

Here’s to green foods and happy tummies.  Now if I could just kick that craving for dark chocolate….

ALISA’S MUSIC CORNER

This is tough because I’ve been listening to a lot of old stuff recently, nothing too new to report here.  I will say that it is the 30th anniversary of Thriller coming up in December.  I was only….1.83 years old when the video came out, which means I didn’t appreciate it right away, but I love it.  I use it often when I’m teaching College Success courses because it’s around this time of year that they learn about note taking.  I make them practice taking notes with the Thriller video!  I learned today that it was the first real music video ever aired by MTV.  Talk about setting a high standard.  Geez.  That thing is epic.  So basically, I listened to a lot of Michael Jackson today.  Truthfully, this was all set off because John Mayer covered a slow, bluesy version of “Off the Wall” when we saw the show last week.  It was great and that song has been in my head ever since!  Enjoy.

Off_the_wall

Categories: Colitis, Food and Diet, Outside viewpoints | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Frozen Happiness

Frozen kale cubesHello, hello and happy September!  It’s the time of year where a crisp, cool breeze bites through your sleeves and reminds you that autumn is on the way.  Oh wait.  I forgot.  Apparently, it’s just freaking hot.  All the time.  When did September become such a ridiculous heat wave?  Goodness.  (Edited to say that I started this entry a few weeks ago, but I’m sticking with it, even though it’s cooled down and semi-irrelevant now!  Deal with it!)

Football has started again which is pretty exciting.  We’re heading into my 11th season as an NFL watcher (coincidentally when I started dating Jon).  Although for that first season, I think 90% of my football “watching” was really just me sleeping.  Aaaaand not much has changed, really.  I get a LOT of sleep and a LOT of snuggles during football season….which helps explain why I’m so excited that it’s here!  Plus it is fun to watch occasionally as I slip in and out of consciousness, just like the football players!  Of course, the Eagles haven’t been any good the last few years, which means Jon is not always as committed to watching it every Sunday.  We’ll see how this year plays out.  So far it’s been a roller coaster of emotions that usually leaves everyone confused and angry.

But what have I been doing to keep cool?  Well, my air conditioning in my car went out.  After many years of nothing being majorly wrong with my dependable Corolla, on the first day of the heat a few weeks ago, BOOM, there was no cold air rushing through my vents.  So I’ve been embracing the window.  The fun part is that since I was 21 when I bought this car, I had zero money and opted to not get power windows and doors.  For the extra $2,500 I was saving, I figured my friends could roll up their own windows (lazy bums!).  What I did not think about was that in ten years, if I wanted my passenger side window to go down because it was approaching 100 degrees in my non-AC vehicle, that I would have to awkwardly lean over and try to reach the little turny knob thingy across the whole car.  Super classy.  It has since been fixed, but that was an interesting couple weeks.

What I’ve been doing to keep cool through food is a lot of smoothies.  We left for a wedding in Philly two weeks ago and I had a ton of fresh, delicious vegetables and fruits in my fridge (shocker).  But what to do?  They would all go bad in our absence!?!  Typically I would freak out, try to juice or blend them ALL and end up with a big brown disgusting mess that smelled weird.  Of course I would drink half of it out of spite, but by the time we got to the airport, that thing would be trash.

So I’m standing there at my sink, wondering what I should do and I started to put things in the freezer.  At first, it was stuff that made sense and that I froze all the time: bananas, strawberries, raspberries…..but then I started thinking, hey vegetables can be frozen too!  What a concept!  I am obviously a genius for thinking of this very new concept of frozen vegetables.  But they were weird ones for me to freeze, I think.  I chopped up my zucchini, cucumbers and broccoli into smoothies sized pieces and stuck those in the freezer.  But why stop there?  I started freezing the celery, the kale, the spinach, even my romaine lettuce!  I got carried away and ended up freezing tomatoes and oranges…I haven’t tried those yet but I was on a roll!

After the trip, I went to make a green smoothie with all of my delicious frozen weirdness.  It. Was. Awesome.  I couldn’t believe how well everything held up, right down to the last lettuce piece.  I have been a freezing monster ever since.  My smoothies have never been more delicious and I don’t have to feel bad when things start to go bad in the fridge….I just transfer them up to the freezer!

Now for all the hardcore yogis out there, ayurvedically, frozen beverages are not balancing my whacked out vata dosha.  :)  They are kind of feeding it.  But I am justifying it because it’s crazy hot outside.  I am still drinking my warm ayurvedic tea throughout the day, so I’m good right?  Whatever helps me sleep at night, haha.  I’ll switch to warmer, soup-type options as we ease into colder weather, I promise.

I figured I’d include a smoothie recipe to end this off in case you’d like to try it at home.  The problem is that I don’t follow recipes in general.  But if you take these ingredients and play around with amounts, you will find a combination that you like in a few tries, I promise.  Happy blending!

Alisa’s typical green smoothie:

  • green apple….1
  • celery…1.5 stalks
  • kale…..1-2 big pieces
  • juice of one lime
  • spinach…..a big handful
  • green grapes…..a small handful
  • cucumber….a quarter of a whole cucumber
  • zucchini…..a quarter of a whole zucchini (at first I was cutting off the top and bottom, and then I was like, wait a minute, I have a Vitamix!  I can just throw the whole thing in there!)
  • green bell pepper…..only if I have it around, and I use probably an eighth of a pepper or so
  • apple juice…..enough that it can blend pretty easily.  I also add water if it gets too thick.

Pretty much anything that is green in the fridge goes in.  Enjoy!!!

 

ALISA’S MUSIC CORNER

John Legend’s new album came out recently and I love it.  I especially have been obsessed with his Common cover of “The Light” which he has renamed “Open Your Eyes” and put in new lyrics, etc.  I love the original and I may even like the cover better!

John Legend

Categories: Balance, Colitis, Recipes | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Balance

Awhile ago, Jon asked me what this term balance was all about because I’ve been throwing the word around like beads at a Mardi Gras parade (with less flashing).  My hippie friends and I are often saying things like: “My doshas are not in balance” or “I need to work on being more balanced” or “Get that balance out of your pocket!”…..okay the last one doesn’t make sense, but what is this elusive balance that we are trying to achieve?

I’ve come to realize that no matter what you eat, or how you eat it, there are going to be toxins in life that need to be addressed.  Disease cannot be managed by medicine alone.  These toxins come in not just through your food, but through your thought patterns and emotional choices.  Don’t get me wrong, food is wildly important in health.  It clears out the excessive toxins so your body can work on the real crap (pun intended).  Food is my medicine, thank you Hippocrates, and it is much preferred to 9 pills a day or steroids for me.  But it’s not the whole picture.  This pyramid seems a closer for nutritional guidelines:

primary food pyramid3

I think it’s missing a component on sleep and also fun.  I also think vegetables should be a larger section with fewer grains, definitely fewer proteins, and maybe even less fruit.  Veggies are pretty important.  At any rate, what this pyramid does show is that there has to be a balance between ALL of these areas in your life.  Without that balance, you can eat as much organic broccoli as you want….if your outer red circle is toxic crap, you will feel like toxic crap.  And for relationships, this applies hugely to the relationship with yourself as well as others.

I didn’t realize it, but somewhere along the way, I was fighting my inner wisdom and had sort of misaligned my relationship with self.  I was at war with my self-acceptance, my natural beauty, and now I have this “disease” that is literally eating up my colon with its own acids.  Great.  It left me with many feelings of shame, guilt, anger, imbalance, confusion and discouragement.  The strange part is that throughout this whole process, I was and am a super happy person.  I love my life and my family and friends.  But it is so hard for me to allow myself to feel true, unadulterated joy.  I often stop myself from being 100% vulnerable or 100% free.  I get damn close!  But still I stop at 98%.  That’s my move!  I stop short.  Why??  I feel….undeserving for some reason.  I struggle with the concept that I am special and that I have a right to a good life because I don’t want to come off as an entitled jerk.  What makes me different from the person who is outside, right now as I type this, without a home, without someone to take of them, shivering cold and hungry?  I am a human, same as them.  To me, my joy and amazing life is somehow a smack in their face.

I also have never enjoyed the idea that I am not in control.  Of anything.  And everything.  :)  So when situations occur where I am not in control of my body or my surroundings, I become very anxious.  Toxically anxious.  I don’t want to go to a place where I have to surrender everything.  This was a completely foreign concept for me when I was first introduced to it.  Surrender?  Give in?  Never!!??!  I am an amazonian woman warrior and I can do ANYTHING.  Give me something.  I will dominate it.  Giving in felt like giving up and I had not once opened myself up to having an experience where I had to give in and surrender.  I refused to show any weakness.

This may seem like a jump, but I’ll bring it back together.  :)  My therapist had me do an exercise the other day where I had to invite different feelings into my body, including love, guilt and joy.  Inviting love and joy into your body is one thing, that was awesome.  :)  Inviting guilt??!  I have tried for so so long to push guilt out of my body that it was a strange guest.  But it was immensely powerful to do it.  I made a few realizations with the exercise:

1–I am really good at breathing now!  I am very effective at breathing into areas, thoughts….being breathed by them is wonderful as well.  And through yoga and ujjayi breathing, I can bring these emotions in and out of my body relatively easily.  So I have that going for me.  Which is nice.

2–There’s only so many parts of your body and consequently, only so many parts of your body where you can experience emotions.  As luck would have it, love and guilt were both felt for me in my gut.  Shocker.

3–Emotions and feelings can only last so long.  Some longer than others, definitely, but they are not with you forever.  Reminding myself of that and experiencing it physically was very eye-opening.  I tried to hold on to each feeling as long as I could but eventually it just went away, no matter how hard I tried.  I feel empowered by this knowledge and it has helped me in the practice of non-attachment (aparigraha or vairagya in hippie Sanskrit yogi terms).

The fun part is that I am in the middle of this process and that I am living life!  I’m going through this seemingly tough time working my way through an “incurable” illness. (I put incurable in quotes because I refuse to believe it, despite the Mayo clinic’s warning.)  But in the meantime, I am becoming a more whole, assertive, loving version of myself.  I think I’ve been pretty darn excellent in how I treat other people in my life.  I’m trying to allow myself the opportunity to apply that same kindness to me.  I am allowed to be me and to be happy.  I know that my purpose in life is to help others.  I’ve known that for a long time.  What I didn’t fully understand is something I’d heard a million times, I just didn’t absorb and accept it: in order to truly and effectively help others, I have to accept myself.  Which means having moments of pure, unadulterated joy.  Having moments of complete, utter sadness.  Knowing that giving in and giving up are two completely different concepts.  Realizing that I am unique and special, and that is okay.  Just like this poster.

you are unique

None of this makes me “better” than the person who is homeless in the streets, it just makes me different.  (sidenote: I know nothing about this anonymous street person or their journey….why was I feeling bad about them when they could be having a completely normal or even great day?)

That “thing” that seemed out of reach just a few weeks ago when I wrote the post on my patient history is coming into focus and I am happy about that.  I am striving to set myself up for success by being honest with myself and doing what is right so I can function at an optimal level.  It is only from a place of love and acceptance that I can fully help others.  It’s the patience part that is hard now.  :)

Well.  That was a load off.  I’m going to go process now.

ON A LIGHTER NOTE

I was having an urge for baked goods (my kryptonite) so I made some muffins last night that turned out to be delicious!  I did use a 3/4 cup of flour (ahh!) but they were still super clean and tasty.  Not super sweet which was what I was going for, so you can add honey once you are eating them if you want.  Here’s the recipe if you want to try them out:

Carrot-banana-walnut-raisin Muffins adapted from the “Coffee & Quinoa” blog

Ingredients

¾ cup flour of your choice (almond or 100% whole wheat would be my suggestion)
¾ cup ground flaxseed
¾ cup rolled oats
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp clove
2 ripe to overripe bananas
1/3 cup canned pumpkin
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup applesauce
2 medium-sized carrots, grated
½ cup walnuts (I just smashed them with my hands, you don’t want them too small)
some raisins to taste…..I didn’t measure them!

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour, oats, flaxseed meal, baking soda and spices).

In another bowl, mash the bananas (with a fork is fine). Add the pumpkin, maple syrup and applesauce and stir until combined.

Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir to combine. I added in a little bit of water here, not much.  Gently mix in the grated carrots, walnuts and raisins.

Place muffin cups in tin and fill 90% of the way full with batter. Bake for about 25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and serve warm.  Tasty!

Categories: Balance, Colitis, Love, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Food, more food!

I was a little off with my “I’ll post more recipes tonight” comment in my last post.  :)  But here I am with some more food now.

This first recipe is originally from Sisterfriend…she brought me this delicious salad on Mama’s birthday and we ate it in the parking lot of Swallow’s Inn!  haha.  It was soooo good that I’ve made it with friends multiple times since then.  We’ll be enjoying it tonight too!

Sister’s eggplant with hummus and beet salad

1 eggplant sliced to ¼ inch thick pieces
hummus
cherry or grape tomatoes cut in half
slivered or sliced almonds, to taste
1 lemon, most of it for the juice, but cut 8-10 super thin slices, like paper thin
3-4 beets, diced
1 apple, diced
arugula
goat cheese (optional)

Heat the eggplant slices up in a skillet over medium heat until soft. You don’t even need oil, it softens on it’s own, shouldn’t stick. While that’s heating, toss together the arugula, apples, beets, almonds, tomatoes and goat cheese with the lemon juice and lemon slices.  Place one or two eggplant slices on the plate.  Slather hummus generously on each piece.  Top with the salad mixture and enjoy!  Serves about 4.  PS-you can buy the beets at Trader Joe’s already all done and ready to be cut.  Really easy.

Here’s a final recipe before I leave for dinner.  It’s what we had last night and it was great.  Yes, I am still eating fish from time to time because it doesn’t seem to affect my stomach like meat and dairy.

Alisa’s Traditional Salmon Dinner for 2

2 fillets of salmon
1 cup “power rice” (½ cup cooked brown rice and ½ cup cooked quinoa mixed together)
1 white or red onion, sliced into rings
2 veggies of your choice….last night we used broccoli and kale

Heat the oven to 350°.  Bake the salmon with freshly cracked pepper and a tiny bit of sea salt for 35-40 minutes.  During the last 5 minutes, throw a ton of broccoli into the oven with the fish.  Then saute the onion on low with a little bit of water (no oil required, there’s a decent amount of liquid in the onion already).  Once it’s 90% there, throw in a bunch of kale, and cover for the last few minutes.  Distribute the rice on the plates first, top with salmon. Layer the onions and kale half on the salmon, half off (it’s all about presentation).  Broccoli goes on the side!  Voila!  I also used a little bit of ponzu sauce on the kale (ponzu=equal parts lemon juice and soy sauce with diced green onions) but not too much because that is a ton of salt.

Off to the Pirazzinis for dinner!  No Music Corner tonight, just listening to the rain.  :)

Categories: Cleansing, Colitis, Recipes | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

Recipes!

My beautiful cousin requested some recipes for getting a healthier kick to life.  There are SO many different great websites and cookbooks for this sort of thing.  I’ll give you a bunch of resources and then also some good recipes that I’ve been making lately.

First to mention is definitely Kris Carr.  I’ve been slightly obsessed with her story, her book and her recipes lately.  I identify a lot with her and she has a fun writing style, so it’s been good to learn from her.  Here’s a link to her online recipes.

Taking a step back to educating myself about health, a big game changer for me was watching Forks Over Knives….do yourself a favor and watch it right now.  Even just the first half hour.  I’ve seen Food Inc, watched Jamie Olver’s Food Revolution, read Fast Food Nation, and still through all of that, I was a pretty ardent meat and cheese eater.  This movie either came at the right time or it just did a good job at explaining things.  Either way, it seriously shifted how I approach my plate.  I hadn’t been that woken up since Michael Pollan who also shifted me into higher thinking with his books (which I need to re-read, it’s been a few years).  His mind-numbingly simple and profound slogan on In Defense of Food reads: Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants.  Man.  Can’t get more simple than that!!  Make it the caveat of eating REAL food (not overly processed crapola) and you are there!

But back to recipes….two things that I’ve learned are hugely important in trying to balance my insides are my pH levels and the amount of inflammatory food that I’m eating.  Dr. Robert Young wrote the pH Miracle and it makes so much sense.  Keep more alkaline foods in your body and disease doesn’t want to hang out there!  Also, Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory food pyramid makes some sense for my body too.  Although I’m being much more strict than that in my healing phase (ie no meats, dairy or processed sugar at all).

Luckily, my new favorite person Joy Houston wrote out a ton of really good tasting, fast recipes that incorporate a lot of the concepts from all of these ideas.  She has a cookbook too that I’m sure I’ll end up getting at some point.

So there’s some homework for you to start in learning about what will (hopefully) make your body happy!  It’s a process, but with some baby steps and some giant steps, I think it’s all doable.  :)

Well crap, I am out of time and have to run.  Here is one recipe but I will put more up later tonight.  Love to all!

Healthy, Mexi-Salad

I adapted one of Joy’s recipes and made it last night for dinner.  It was quite delicious:

½ head romaine lettuce, chopped
¼ cup cooked brown rice
¼ cup cooked quinoa
½ cup black beans seasoned with cumin, pepper and chili powder
¼ cup diced mango
¼ cup diced white onion
¼ cup diced green onion
some cut up cilantro
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
dash Tapatío
½ diced avocado

In a large glass mixing bowl combine oil, lime juice, Tapatío, salt and pepper.  Taste dressing and adjust as needed.  Toss beans, rice, quinoa, mango, onions, and cilantro in the dressing.  Place a handful of lettuce on each plate, top with bean and rice mixture and some diced avocado.

You can adjust the amount of beans, rice or quinoa you are putting in depending how many peeps you are feeding.  This amount was good for me and Jon.

ALISA’S MUSIC CORNERmusic_notes

Today has been all about Stevie.  They have his entire collection on Spotify which is great.  I started backwards with the Down To Earth album, moved on to For Once In My Life, My Cherie Amour and am now halfway through Signed, Sealed, & DeliveredTalking Book next!  I don’t think I could ever hear these songs enough in my life.

Categories: Cleansing, Colitis, Recipes | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

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