Lentil Soup

Lisa first introduced this soup while going through her 21 day detox. It really is a great  soup, so I wanted to share it again in case you missed it. You can read more about Lisa’s detox journey by searching earlier posts (from September).

1 1/4 cups lentils

3 Tabs. butter

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 Tabs. sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

1 – 2 carrots, grated

2 stalks celery, chopped

3 quarts chicken broth (use the homemade chicken bone broth)

salt and pepper to taste

Rinse and drain lentils, then set aside.  Heat butter with onion, garlic and celery, cooking 4-5 minutes.  Add the sun-dried tomatoes and cook for 1 minute.  Add carrots, lentils and stock and bring to a boil.  Cook at a rapid simmer for 40 minutes or until the lentils are soft. (Season with salt and pepper during cooking time)

If you like a smooth lentil soup, you can use your immersion blender, food processor or blender and mix your soup until the desired consistency.   You can add chopped cilantro to your bowls just before serving.     Serves 4

 

*** These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Information contained within this blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Slow Cooker White Chili with Chicken

I’ve been making this chili for the last several years. I love it, especially when the weather starts getting cooler! Since it is not tomato based like a typical chili, it may seem less acidic to your palette. If you can’t tolerate jalapenos just leave them out and let everyone add their own when they are garnishing their bowls.- Lisa

1 cup cooked Great Northern beans

1 lb. organic chicken breasts

1 small onion, chopped

3 cups organic chicken broth

1 Tab. jalapeno pepper (to taste)

1 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. oregano

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1 tomato, chopped

4 oz. Monterey jack cheese (if desired for topping, or omit for dairy-free option)

1/4 cup cilantro

sour cream (omit for dairy-free option)

Soak beans overnight.  In morning drain and rinse beans.  Place beans, chicken, onion, chicken broth, jalapeno, cumin, oregano and garlic powder in the crockpot.

Cook on high 4 hours or on low 8 hours. Remove the chicken and shred up.  Add back to your chili.

Serve with sour cream, chopped tomato, cheese and cilantro.

If you like a slightly thicker chili you can always take the lid off the crock pot the last 30 minutes or so and let it thicken up.   Also, it is best to use a block of cheese and grate it yourself.  Bagged grated cheese has several additional ingredients added to help keep the cheese from clumping up.  Block cheese is just cheese. (You could also use a vegetable based cheese alternative for a dairy-free option.)

Many patients undergoing cancer treatment adjust their diets to be dairy free, mainly due to the potential risk of added hormones and preservatives that could be hidden in dairy products.  My niece choose this route and came to enjoy the taste of a vegetable cheese alternative. She also eliminated milk from her diet and replaced it with almond or coconut milk, carrageenan free of course. (In the Bruce house, we use coconut milk for all our smoothies and as a creamer for our coffee.)  Because my niece’s cancer was estrogen and progesterone positive, she still tries to maintain a dairy free, low sugar, organic meat diet. Again, do your research. Talk to a nutritionist that specializes in cancer prevention. There is great information out about the healing effects of nutrition for those with cancer (or those who suffer chronic disease).- Mary

 

*** These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Information contained within this blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

 

Chicken Bone Broth

This week we will feature soups. Soups are a “souper” food! (HaHa!) Many patients going through chemo or radiation have family and friends who start meal trains for them. Soups are the perfect “meal train” meal in so many ways. They are easy to make, easy to transport, and easy to consume with little cleanup afterwards. Soups are also considered a comfort food. Not only for the ones going through treatment, but also for the family. You know grandma’s saying, “Chicken soup is good for the soul.”

We are starting this week with a basic recipe, broth. I use broth as a replacement for water in a lot recipes. Especially, when I’m making a “meatless” meal. Though I may omit the typical meat such as chicken or beef, I add the broth to help add a little protein.

Here’s a few simple steps to make amazing homemade chicken broth:

When you cook an organic chicken save the bones and use them to make bone broth. Bone stock contains 2 amino acids; Proline and Glycine. ( Amino acids are the building blocks of protein.)  Broth also has minerals and collagen.  It’s great for healing and strengthening of the cells structure and it tastes great!

Put your chicken carcass in a crock pot.  Add carrots, celery and onions (the more the better).  Parsley and thyme are a great tasting addition.  Add enough cold water to cover the chicken and vegetables.  (I sometimes add organic chicken broth if I have some on hand.)  Add 2 Tabs. apple cider vinegar.  This helps to draw the nutrients out of the bones.

Cook mixture on low for at least 24 hours.  This long cooking time maximizes the taste and allows the bones to cook up and release more nutrients.  This is a great way to get collagen and gelatin (both great for healing) into our diets.

Add salt and pepper as you taste for seasoning.  You may also want to skim any foam off the top of the soup as it cooks.

After 24 hours, it’s ready to eat.  If you want to save it, let it cool, and then refrigerate.  It will usually last for a week.   If you want to use it at a later date, just stick it in the freezer.

You can use this same basic recipe for beef broth. Be sure to use organic bones (it is important to reduce added hormone exposures). Some people like to roast there bones first. It helps bring out the richness of the beef flavor.  Just roast your beef bones about 25-30 minutes at 375 before you put them in your crock pot.

This is a great soup as is or can be used in any recipes that call for broth. For those going through chemo or radiation, sometimes broth is all there tummies can handle. Make sure to keep plenty on hand!

 

*** These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Information contained within this blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Pumpkin Pie Protein Shake

It’s day 2, and there seems to be a common theme to these first few recipes: pumpkin. It’s fall, ya’ll!  Pumpkin has amazing health benefits. It is a great source of carotenoids, phytosterols, L-tryptophan, Zinc, Magnesium, and Vitamins A & C. Being full of all these immune boosting properties, how could pumpkin be a bad choice? And to think, we most often use them to decorate our porches around Halloween. Here’s a great article to check out about the benefits of pumpkin: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/09/30/pumpkin-seed-benefits.aspx

When my niece was going through chemo last year, she often mentioned that she was just not hungry. I knew it was important for her to eat, but understood that a big meal for her was not practical. So to help keep her strong, we opted for protein shakes since they were quick to prepare and easily digested. We choose to use whey protein for her shakes. There’s so much I could say about whey, but I’ll spare you all the details and tell you that whey helped keep her Hemoglobin levels above average. Studies have shown that maintaining Hemoglobin levels (optimally above 10) are very important for patients going through chemo, and if they drop too low, the patient could potentially need a blood transfusion. I’m not saying that whey alone kept her levels high, but I am saying that her blood tests did not lie. When compared to others around her going through the same treatment, the only difference was the whey and a double dose of Juice Plus. Don’t just take my word for it. Research it for yourself. Make an educated decision for you or your loved one going through chemo.

So now, on to the recipe:

1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling). I opt for organic, it’s only a few cents more. I usually get 4- 1/2 cups from one can.

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/4 cup water

1 – 2 scoops vanilla protein powder (Read your labels to see how many grams of protein each scoop contains. Shoot for 20 grams).

Ice cubes OR 1/2 of a frozen banana (the banana adds extra sweetness)

Add all to blender and blend to your desired consistency.

There are plenty of good protein powders out there but there are also some “bad” ones.  Be sure to watch the sugar grams. Watch out for powders that are sweetened with refined sugars.  Look for natural sweeteners like Stevia, Xylitol, monk fruit, honey etc. Some protein powders are soy based protein, so be sure to read the ingredient list.  If you don’t eat soy, and many cancer patients should not, look for whey protein as mentioned above or a vegetable protein. (There is a lot of research on soy and breast cancer. When researching, be sure to read from reputable sources.)

Happy Blending!

 

*** These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Information contained within this blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Day 1 of 31

WOW! It was really hard to decide which recipe to start this PINK inspired recipe month. But as I watched the weather forecast for North Georgia, it became clear. I love chilly mornings, my favorite coffee cup filled with coffee and homemade pumpkin spice creamer, a cozy blanket, and my chair and ottoman on my screened-in porch. So, I’m sharing a homemade creamer recipe for day 1. This is a recipe that Lisa introduced to me a few years ago. You can add your favorite natural sweetener (honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar), or you can froth this recipe and treat yourself to a nice latte inspired coffee. I’m sure it would also be good in tea, I’m just a coffee kind of girl. Check out all the add-ins and try different combos. The simplicity of the main ingredients of this creamer make it so easy. Not to mention, no preservatives for those fighting the fight.

Thank you for joining us for these 31 days. We look forward to all the days ahead. We hope to have a few special guests join us throughout the month. So here it is:

HEALTHY HOMEMADE CREAMER

Tons of folks love flavored creamers, but we all know that they’re just not good for you. You can easily make your own and alleviate all the chemicals and preservatives in the store bought kind.

Here’s a good basic recipe that can be added to in order to make any flavored creamer that you want.  I use an egg in my creamers, but if you don’t like using raw eggs feel free to leave it out.  (You can buy pasteurized eggs if you want the added protein of the egg but are concerned about the safety of raw eggs. I personally use local, free-range, farm fresh eggs, thanks to my sweet friend Shirley!)

Basic recipe:
1 can unsweetened coconut milk (Do not use lite coconut milk, you need the healthy fat. Organic is always your best bet. Thia Kitchen and Native Forest are great brands. Look for BPA free can.)
1 – 2 Tabs coconut oil

1 egg         

Get out your trusty Immersion blender and mix it all up.  That’s it!!

Add ins:
Vanilla extract
100% maple syrup                                                                                                                                             Honey
Coconut sugar
Peppermint extract
Almond extract
2 Tabs. Unsweetened pureed pumpkin
Pumpkin Pie spice
2 Tabs. Unsweetened cocoa powder
Stevia, Xylitol or other non chemical based sweetener

This recipe will keep in the fridge about 4 to 5 day. I use several large spoonfuls in my coffee because I like a creamy coffee. Just use the amount that suits your taste.

 

Butternut Squash Soup

1 (2-3) lb. butternut squash, peeled and seeded

2 Tab. grass fed butter

1 small onion, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 medium carrot, grated

1 clove garlic, minced

chicken stock

1/2 cup canned coconut milk

salt and pepper

nutmeg (if desired)

I think folks are often “scared” to use Butternut Squash because it is too hard to cut.   A great trick is to cut the squash in half and microwave it cut side down in a glass dish filled with a 1/2 inch or so of water.  Cook until squash becomes a little soft and  you will be able to peel and cut it into 1 inch cubes.  The very easiest way is to buy it in your produce section already peeled and cubed.  I find it this way in most of the grocery stores.

Melt butter in a large pot and add onion, celery, carrot and squash.  Cook until lightly browned.  Pour in enough chicken stock in order to cover all your vegetables.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce your heat to low and cover.  Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg during cooking time.  Cook mixture about 40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Remove pot from heat and add coconut milk.  Taste for correct seasoning.

Use your immersion blender, food processor or blender to mix to desired consistency.

This is yummy, creamy and very satisfying!

It’s Been A Week

… on the Standard Process 21-Day Purification Program and I am still not off caffeine.  But, I’m closer than I was.

Weaning off coffee has been hard!  I really miss my regular caffeinated morning fix!  These past several days I started adding decaf to my brew and making it weaker.  It has kept the headaches at bay but it doesn’t taste as good as the “real thing”.  So it seems to be getting easier to let this “mixture” go.  This morning I was down to 1/4 regular and 3/4 decaf.  I only had one cup.  Hurray!

One of the best results of this detox has been the fact that I have had very little gut discomfort.   I have “dairy issues” but will sometimes still use half and half or eat cheese.  Because I am not eating any diary my stomach has been feeling great.  If  you have gut issues a detox is a great way to find out what your problem is.  (You may have a food sensitivity and have no idea.)   When you finish the diet you begin to reintroduce foods groups one at a time.  If problems arise after you eat that food then you will know what’s causing the sensitivity.

I do want something sweet sometimes, especially at night.  Normally I would eat salted cashews or pistachios.  That’s the way I trick my taste buds.  I don’t know why it works for me but it does.  But, on this detox you can’t eat nuts.  So, I have switched to pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.  Doesn’t do the trick as well.

Here’s the bottom line.  When you are cleaning up your diet you will get hungry for certain foods.   In order to succeed you have to tell yourself NO.  Hopefully you will think the benefits are worth it!

Lisa

 

 

Purifying

That’s a great name for what your body is doing when you chose to do a detox, cleanse, partial fast or any type of food restriction program.  It is allowing your body to get rid of toxins and impurities that inevitably build up in your system from eating processed foods, sugars, glutens etc.  The end result should be less aches and pains, new mental focus, less cravings, clearer skin and all sorts of positive results.

Unfortunately the first several days of not eating some of our favorite foods can be rough.  If we have been a “Sweetaholic”, stopping all sugar and sweetners can seem like coming off heroine.  (that may be a tad bit exaggerated)   But when we have been accustomed to eating anything we want, our bodies are going to rebel when we begin to restrict our food intake.   This can show itself in the form of headaches, short tempers, gas or general fatigue.  These symptoms will go away as your body becomes “cleaner.”

I am on day three of the Standard Process 21-Day Purification Program.  So far so good, except for the no coffee.   As I said in my first post,  I have never done a detox that didn’t allow coffee so I have never tried to “get off” caffeine.  Well, I am still trying!  My first day I had a whopper of a headache.  Around 2:00 in the afternoon I made myself a cup of coffee and I drank it very slowly until the headache subsided.  It took about 1/2 cup.  On day two I made it until noon before my headache started so I had about 3/4 cup before it stopped.  This morning I started off with a cup but had part regular and part decaf.  So… we shall see how long into this detox it takes me to completely stop the coffee.  Hopefully only a few more days.  (Note to self – wean yourself off caffeine BEFORE you start your cleanse)

One other thing, I am a protein junky because in my life before my knee injury I was a Cross Fitter.  When you are doing a lot of strength training and especially when you add in the fact that you are older and a woman, you have to eat protein in order to build and maintain muscle. Therefore,  I am accustomed to eating a gram of protein per pound of my body weight.  This particular detox limits the amount and type of protein you eat during your first 10 days.  When you limit protein and stop eating simple carbs there is usually a certain amount of fatigue that sets in that first week or so.  This is normal.

So, on I go!

Lisa

 

 

 

 

Yikes!

I’ve fallen off the “Healthy Wagon”!   I tore the meniscus in my right knee back in early June.  (even though I didn’t know it was torn.)  In fact I stayed in denial about it for several months.  It hurt when I made any type of twisting motion with my knee, typical of a torn meniscus, and I couldn’t do any kind of lower body exercise.  But, hey, maybe it’s just a sprain?  Well, it never got better so I had it “fixed” a month and 1/2 ago.

Do you know that when you have had surgery on an appendage you can’t make it work no matter how much you “will” it to do what you want it to do?   Realizing that is very humbling to someone like me that puts a lot of emphasis on personal power, strength and performance.   So, let’s just say that little exercise, lack of motivation and drowning my sorrows in potato chips has taken their toll!

Last week I realized that I had to do something.  We started working on the Daniel Plan study through the office.  It’s a great program that incorporates the principals of Focus, Fitness, Faith, Food and Friends.   Hurray, it’s been a great boost for me!

Also, because I do best with a specific plan rather than just “winging it” I have decided to start the Standard Process 21-Day Purification Program.   Standard Process is a well respected whole food supplement company dating back to 1929.   Dr. Bruce stocks these products and he is great to talk to if you have questions about supplements, minerals or you have allergies or gut issues.  Standard Process products address these issues and many more.

Sometimes you just need to hit the “reset button”.  You need to change your attitude, your relationship with food and your exercise routine.  This detox program is going to help me reset my food button.  It is a fairly easy to follow.  The first 10 days you eat mostly fruits and vegetables with several protein shakes and cleansing and fiber type supplements.  The last 11 days you add in animal protein like chicken and fish.   In the pursuit of transparency,  I have done several detox type “diets” in the last two or three years so I know what it means to have no added sugars, dairy, grain, etc.  (This “cold turkey” aspect of a purification program is great for sugar “addicts”.)  But, I have never done one that doesn’t let you have coffee!!!  We will see how that goes.  I am trying to slowly wean myself off before I start my Detox next Monday.   No caffeine is very scarey to me!!!

Well, wish me luck and I’ll keep you posted.   You might decide you want to join me!

(I am not being paid or compensated for this blog by Standard Process.  After my own research I decided to participate in the Purification Program)

Lisa

 

 

 

Let’s Talk About Sugar

What is it about sugar that makes the majority of us weak in the knees? ( I’m talking about myself, of course.)  It just can’t be that it tastes good.  A lot of foods taste good.

If you are at all interested in nutrition then you know by now that sugar is just plain ole bad for you.  Excessive consumption of it causes belly fat, mood swings and elevated blood sugar.  It feeds tumors,  encourages wrinkles, etc. etc. etc.  Not good!

Food companies have perfected ways of hiding it in the ingredient list of processed foods.   Sugar is called maltodextrin, glucose, fructose, ethyl maltol, dextrin, carob syrup, lactose, rice syrup, barley malt and of course high fructose corn syrup.  These are just a few of the many names.  Companies are well versed at using the different names of sugar in the same ingredient list.   When it is listed as the 15th, 16th or 17th ingredient then it doesn’t  sound like the food contains much sugar but when you count up all the different kinds of sugars the amount quickly adds up.  As a result if you aren’t looking at the label and checking the ingredients, sugar grams and portion sizes, then eating processed foods often means eating a lot of hidden sugar.  (Plenty of times the food isn’t even that sweet tasting and it sure doesn’t satisfy a sweet tooth.)

Most nutritionists say your goal should be eating no more than 15 to 35 grams of sugar per day.   When you start counting that isn’t much.

Whatever it is we think about sugar most of us probably need to spend some time considering how much we consume.   We will probably find out we are eating an excessive amount.  You may need to cut out sugar completely for a period of time in order to “reset” your taste buds.  Some can just cut back and learn how to eat it in moderation.

But, the bottom line for the majority of us is,  “Yikes! it tastes great,  it’s how my mom rewarded me when I ate my peas, it’s how I reward myself when I do a good job and it’s how I make myself feel better when I feel sad.”

That’s a lot of power to give one food ingredient.   Let’s take control!

Lisa