Friday, December 4, 2015

Stepping up my game for healthy changes

Now that December is here, I am reflecting on my health journey over the past year. 2015 started out fairly strong. However, by spring I began noticing more pain throughout my body.

When summer arrived, it was full of fun in the sun......


.....but my inflammation raged out of control, causing joint damage. So, July 5th I reluctantly added the prescription drug Leflunomide to my morning routine with the hope of preventing further joint damage and ending my chronic pain.  Those of you who know me and follow my blog understand what a huge decision this was for me.  I live my life around nutritional healing. "Let food be thy medicine" has become my mantra. I felt like such a failure and wept while taking the first pill.

The first couple of weeks on the medication seemed to go OK, but then I began having horrible stomach pain and other gastrointestinal issues (I will spare you the details).  The pain became increasingly worse as the days went by.  I finally called my RA doc and he advised me to stop the meds immediately.  It has been 4 months since I stopped and am still having issues. Apparently this drug takes quite some time to get out of your system.

After this experience, I am more determined than ever to continue my healing path through nutrition. Obviously, it is time to step up my game so that I am able to enjoy the many adventures left with my best friend, the love of my life.



I have been reading about Paleo, Whole 30, and other gut healing books.  What I am learning from these books is that auto immune disease may begin in an unhealthy gut.  It is time to give that some serious consideration.  I am also noticing an intolerance to gluten since the medication episode.  I have never had problems with gluten before so this has me stumped.  Never the less, I am avoiding gluten at the moment and seem to feel much better.  I really really really miss my breads and pastas. My waistline on the other hand is not missing them at all :)

Since I love to cook and create delicious healthy recipes, eating a Paleo diet has been discouraging creatively and left me feeling blah about mealtime.  Recently, I shared my struggle with a friend of mine and she sent me home with several Paleo cookbooks that inspired me.  I feel excited about cooking again.  I guess Paleo doesn't have to be boring after all.  I am now looking forward to trying fun new dishes that can potentially heal my body as well.

Getting through the holiday's will be challenging with all of the wonderful treats. I would love to hear your favorite Paleo or gluten-free recipes and tips!



Saturday, July 25, 2015

Rhubarb cubes to calm inflammation!

I have this great rhubarb plant in my garden that produces nicely every spring.  My husband and I collected the last of it before summer heat stops it from producing. We harvested a nice big bundle.



Rhubarb is an extremely tart fruit that has some great health benefits. According to a wonderful and informative new book I recently bought, "Healing Foods",  rhubarb assists in lowering cholesterol, protects eye health and helps to strengthen bones. It also calms inflammation.  This is something I really want in my daily smoothie!

I decided to experiment and the experiment was a success!

First I removed the leaves and discarded them. Then I diced each stalk into about 1/2 inch pieces and placed in the strainer.  After washing them well I placed them in a pot and covered them with water. Just enough water to cover them though and no more.



I let them simmer for 30 minutes on medium-low heat stirring occasionally.



Then, I poured them into mini muffin pans but, if I had ice cube trays I would have used those. However, the muffin pans worked just fine.



Now I have wonderful frozen cubes of rhubarb to add to my daily smoothie.  I recommend also adding a sweet fruit into your smoothie with the rhubarb to balance out the tartness if it is too tart for your personal taste.  Mango is a good choice as it is a powerful inflammation fighter and very sweet.

I hope this is something you can use to add more calming foods into your diet! Enjoy :)

*If you are wanting a baked treat  Summer Rhubarb Coffee Cake is fantastic!



Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Almond Parmesan Crusted Cod Experiment!


I realized this morning that I have been waiting for things in my life to calm down so that I can sit and complete this post that I have had saved in my drafts for about a month now.  Ya know what? I am now learning that often times life doesn't just calm down.  Instead I am now living within the chaos of this beautiful amazing life that God has given me.  

So......here we go.  I eat quite a bit of fish since the Omega 3's calm inflammation.  It can get a bit boring and goodness knows I don't like boring when it comes to what's on my plate.  I experimented with crusted cod but, instead of bread crumbs or flour, I used finely ground almonds.  What I came up with was absolutely delicious and added even more anti-inflammatory benefits because of the Omega 3's in the almonds.  It has  become one of my husbands favorite meals!

First, I ground up almonds to a fine consistency in my mini food chopper.



Then, I placed the almonds in one bowl with Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and mixed them together.



Then I beat egg whites with a touch of Dijon in the next bowl, and in the last bowl was more Parmesan cheese.  I dipped the cod in each bowl starting with the almond/Parmesan bowl making sure to coat all sides of the cod.  



Then, placed them in a casserole dish that had been lightly sprayed with olive oil.



I baked them in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes.  Cooking time depends on the size of your fillets.  Insert a meat thermometer to make sure the cod gets to 130-135 degrees Fahrenheit.  



Enjoy :) 


Almond Parmesan Crusted Cod

1 cup almonds
1 cup Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
4 Cod Fillets

Grind almonds in a mini chopper until finely chopped.  Pour into a bowl and mix with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.

In another bowl, beat 2 egg whites together with Dijon mustard.

In a third bowl put the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.

Dip each piece of cod in first the almond/Parmesan mix coating on each side.  Then into the egg white/Dijon mixture, coating on each side.  Then lightly coat each side with the Parmesan in the third bowl.  

Place coated cod in a casserole dish that has been lightly sprayed with olive oil.  Bake uncovered in a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.  Make sure cod reaches an internal temperature of 130-135 degrees by inserting a meat thermometer in the center of the cod.  






Saturday, February 7, 2015

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili to Calm Inflammation



Today while the rain fell and the wind blew I stayed inside where it was warm and cozy.  

 I found several sweet potato and black bean recipes a few weeks ago.  Of course, I didn't find any particular recipe I liked, so I collected ideas and came up with this Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili . Today I decided to fine tune my recipe.  It is reminiscent of a Sweet Potato Chimichanga we enjoy at a one of our favorite local restaurants.  This recipe is really easy, delicious AND...without the added tortilla and carbs.  The sweet potato, onions, garlic, and spices add a large anti-inflammatory boost.  This is really a great meal to eat if you are trying to calm some inflammation in your body. 

First, dice an onion and a sweet potato into chunky pieces.   Add them to a pot and saute in avocado oil until.....


....they began to caramelize (turn brown).


Then add the garlic.


Saute for about 30 seconds more until they began caramelizing.  Try not to saute minced garlic too long because it can cause a bitter flavor. 


Add organic chicken broth and remaining ingredients, except for the yogurt.  Let simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until sweet potatoes are soft.   


Top with a scoop of nonfat Greek yogurt to add the perfect amount of creaminess.  So delicious, easy and did not take long at all.  




Enjoy :) 

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili

1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 small onion, diced
1 medium sweet potato, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce can black beans
1 1/2 cups organic chicken broth or vegetable broth
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon lime juice
Greek yogurt, plain

Saute onions and sweet potatoes in avocado oil, stirring often, until they begin to caramelize.  Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds.  Add remaining ingredients, except for the Greek yogurt.  Let simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are soft.  

Serve in a bowl and garnish with a scoop of Greek yogurt.  





Thursday, November 20, 2014

Surprise visit and a Sweet Potato Frittata


I just love it when the kids stop by.  My youngest son lives in the same town as us so we see him more than we do the others.  He just happened to pop in around breakfast time a couple of weeks ago. Generally when he stops by in the morning for breakfast I will make Dutch Baby, which is a delightful dense Dutch pancake.  It is made with a whole lot of butter and sugar and most definitely causes inflammation.  However, on this particular morning, we broke tradition and chose healthier. We were all so glad we did because this was not only good for us but it was DELICIOUS!  And..... we didn't have that sluggish can't get anything done the rest of the day feeling. You know what I mean :) 

The sweet potatoes, onions and peppers all calm inflammation.  You can enjoy this meal and know that you are fueling your body and fighting harmful inflammation all at the same time.  

First off, peel and cut sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch pieces.  This is not as easy as peeling russets so be prepared for a little extra work.


Drizzle some oil into a pan.  I've been using avocado oil lately.  It holds up to high heat better than olive oil. And.....of course it has those wonderful Omega 3's.


When the oil heats up, place the sweet potatoes in the pan. Saute over medium just until they begin to soften.


Add diced onion and sweet red, yellow or orange peppers.  This is a good time to add a little salt and pepper.  Saute these until they begin to caramelize and and are tender and cooked. 


This is how they should look when cooked.


Whisk eggs and milk together. 
 (When it's just me I use egg whites only to keep inflammatory egg yolk out of the recipe).


Pour egg mixture over the sweet potato mixture in the pan.  Grind a little salt and pepper over the top.


Turn the heat down to medium low and cover.  Let cook until the egg is firmed up and cooked through.  


When done, sprinkle Parmesan or Mozzarella cheese over the top and let melt.  Then dig in and enjoy.



Sweet Potato Frittata

1 large sweet potato, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 small onion, diced
4 small sweet peppers, diced
8 eggs
1/8 cup of milk
Parmesan or Mozzarella cheese
salt
pepper

Drizzle oil in a pan over medium heat.  Add the sweet potatoes and saute for about 15 minutes, stirring often.  Cook until they just begin to soften.  Add onions and peppers.  If you need to, add a little more oil,  Saute all together until they are browned and caramelized. 

Whisk together eggs and milk.  Pour over the sweet potato mixture.  Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the top.  Cover and let cook 5-7 minutes over medium low heat until egg mixture is cooked through.  

Sprinkle the cheese over the top and let melt.  

Serves 4