Quick & Tasty Arugula Salad

IMG_3812

Several years ago, my daughter and I used to go to a nice little restaurant in Providence (which isn’t there any more, unfortunately), called Grappa’s.  They had the best thin crust pizza I’d ever eaten.  (I think it was even better than Al Forno’s which most people know very well.)  On the menu was an arugula salad with pears.  It was fabulous.  I don’t remember if they put nuts in the salad, or what the dressing was, but the pairing of pears with the arugula was heavenly.  So I recreated my version of the salad and still think the combination is wonderful.

To me, this is a perfect breakfast or lunch.  In case you can’t tell, that’s a hard boiled egg on the side of the plate.  If you don’t care for eggs or you are vegan, you can leave it out, and add some other protein.  While we’ve eliminated most dairy, I still enjoy an egg for breakfast or lunch.  Dr. Gundry highly recommends using EVOO, so that is what I used to dress this salad.  (I suspect a Poppy seed dressing would also be great!)

This is another one of those “No recipe” recipes.  Just put the arugula on your plate, place sliced pears on top in a decorative fashion, sprinkle pecans or walnuts over the top and add your choice of dressing.  (And of course, the hard boiled egg, if desired.  I suspect avocado would be a nice addition as well.)

Enjoy!

 


What’s for Breakfast, Part 2

IMG_3791

While my last blog showed a wonderfully refreshing salad with fruit as an idea for breakfast, I have to admit–having greens morning, noon, and night can get old pretty quickly.  For a change, I told Ed I’d experiment with Dr. Gundry’s muffins.  I made the first batch of muffins, for the most part, according to his recipe and they weren’t bad.  (Unfortunately, there are no pictures.  They disappeared before I could get my camera!)  In Gundry’s book (The Plant Paradox) he also has a unique recipe to make a muffin (for one) in a mug.  Originally, I made it with Vegan eggs, since Ed also wants to avoid eggs.  It didn’t turn out so well, so I went back to the drawing board, as they say.

I decided to try the other recipe in the book that is baked in the oven in regular muffin tins.  That is what this recipe is based on, with several changes, of course.   I intend to make these with lots of variations, so you’ll hear about them again (and again, and again)…. Ed really liked the idea of having something different–especially on the weekends–and he REALLY liked this version!

Banana Nut Muffins

In large bowl, combine:

1/4 c. coconut flour

1/4 c. almond flour

1/2 c. cassava flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. Sweet leaf (stevia) (or more if you want them sweet)

In separate bowl, combine and mix well:

3 eggs (or 6 Tbsp. Vegan eggs mixed with 1 c. water–do this ahead of time)

3/8 c. coconut oil

1/2 c. coconut cream

1 1/2 mashed banana

3/4 c. chopped pecans or walnuts (set aside 10-12 whole pecans for garnish)

Mix together wet and dry ingredients, then scoop batter in 10-12 muffin cups. (~3/4 full)

Bake 350 degrees for 22-24 minutes.  Let cool at least 20 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 


What’s for Breakfast?

IMG_3676

When we first started with the Plant Paradox program, green smoothies were recommended and they were easy to prepare.  The beauty of making them is that you can combine whatever ingredients you have on hand, and there is so much variety to the various greens available.  (We did add a little fruit and compliant sweetener after the 3 day cleanse period, which I think added a lot to the flavor.)  But after a while–well, let’s be honest.  It gets boring to eat the same thing every day.  Especially when you’re just DRINKING … and there’s no real chewing!

When Ed’s weight had fallen more than we were comfortable with, I decided it might not be a bad idea to add a little more fruit than what Dr. Gundry originally recommended.  So I put together the salad you see above.  Simple, yet healthy ingredients.  I used:

Spring mix

strawberries

blueberries

sliced banana

chopped celery

chopped walnuts (optional)

1-2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Great for breakfast, lunch, or a nice light dinner! You can easily add some grilled chicken or shrimp if desired.

Enjoy!


Beyond Whole 30

In a previous blog, I mentioned the health benefits Ed realized from being on the Whole 30 program.  A side effect of that was that he also lost weight.  Fifteen pounds of it.  The funniest part of that is that he really didn’t NEED to lose weight.  (I can hear all you women out there cursing him.  I felt the same way.  He was eating everything I prepared, (and then some), and continued to loose weight.)  I did reintroduce a few foods after the initial 30 days, but he didn’t.  He was feeling so good, he didn’t want to take any chances of any ailments returning.  It’s not like I went crazy in returning to my old eating habits, I guess my downfall was that “occasional” cheat.  I know there are a lot of you out there who can relate.  I think it comes down to the fact that getting healthy is about a lifestyle, NOT a DIET.

My weight did slowly fall, especially when I started to add a few days of weight training and cardio to my routine.  I spoke to a trainer who emphasized that it is necessary to do both–monitor your food intake and exercise–to develop a healthy body inside and out. To date, I’ve lost about 9 pounds, and it feels great.  To get better toned, I need to get more serious about visiting the gym.  (Don’t we all?)

We are now in Phase 3 of the Plant Paradox program, and will be experimenting with adding pressure-cooked legumes and/or beans very gradually.  Since I’ll be taking off for Boston for a couple of days, those new dishes will have to wait for my return.  In the meantime, the wonderful dish in the photo attached makes a great side dish for you to try.

Sautéed Purple Cabbage, Kale, and Carrots (for 2)

2 Tbsp coconut oil

1 red onion, chopped fine

1 Tbsp chopped garlic

1/2 tsp ginger powder (optional)

small head of purple cabbage, shredded

1/2 bunch kale, torn up into bite sized pieces (remove thick stems)

3 carrots, peeled and cut in 1/2 inch circles

salt & pepper to taste

Sauté the onion first in the coconut oil, and as it becomes translucent, add the garlic and ginger.  Stir for a couple of minutes then add the remaining ingredients.  Cook till just tender.  Season with salt & pepper.

Enjoy!

 

 


Sautéed Cabbage and Onion, with Salmon and Avocado

This recipe is an adaptation of Dr. Steven Gundry’s Cabbage-Kale Sauté with Salmon and Avocado.  It is also Whole 30 compliant!

IMG_3682

For 2 People:

1 Tbsp olive oil

6 oz. wild-caught salmon

1 avocado, diced

3 Tbsp lemon juice

salt & pepper to taste

4 Tbsp coconut oil

1 red onion, chopped

1 Tbsp chopped garlic

3 cups shredded cabbage

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brush salmon with the olive oil and bake for 15-20 minutes.

While the salmon is baking, put the avocado in a small bowl, toss with half the lemon juice and a little salt.  Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat 4 Tbsp. of coconut oil and sauté the onion and garlic till onion is translucent. Add the cabbage and sauté till tender.  Season with salt and pepper.

After the salmon is cooked, place  a 3 oz. portion on each plate, squeeze remainder of the lemon juice over each fillet, and top with the reserved avocado.  (You can either place the salmon on top of the cabbage mixture or serve it on the side–Which is what I did in the photo.)

You can also make a small side salad to round out the meal.

Enjoy!

 

 


Out on the Town (in NY)

IMG_3208

Over the weekend, Ed and I went to NY to attend the Affiliate Summit East 2017.  It was an amazing event.  I heard someone mention that there were about 12,000 people in attendance.  Overall it was very educational, and extremely well organized.  Being new to blogging, and it’s potential, we wanted to learn more about affiliate marketing and what it has to offer.

We met a lot of great people blogging their way to blogging heaven.  Many have been blogging for a number of years, and naturally they’ve developed a large following.  We had a chance to listen to John Chow, who interviewed a panel of successful bloggers who make an incredible living blogging. A few suggestions I took away from their talk in particular were:

  1. Build an audience before you try to monetize it.
  2. Send out a reader’s census to find out what people want to read about.
  3. If you want to get a blogger interested in your site–retweet, share, or comment on their blog to show (genuine) interest.
  4. Learn more about the blogger you’re focused on contacting.
  5. The best time to contact a fellow blogger is 5:30 to 6:30 AM.
  6. To capture your audience’s email address, offer an e book regarding info from your content.

There were many great speakers at the Summit.  I will share additional info in the blogs to come, but just wanted to tell a funny story about something that happened while at the event.  It just goes to show that no matter how well you try to plan everything, things don’t always go as planned.

To stay on our eating program (The Plant Paradox), I dehydrated various meats and veggies and packed them in a small lunch bag, along with water and various snacks that were compliant.  As we were checking in, we had to have our photos taken for our badges.  Since I had my handbag, the lunch bag, and the special “event bag” they gave us across my shoulders, I decided to put them down for the photograph.  We had to walk from one booth to another to register, and somewhere along the way, I left the lunch bag behind.  A couple of hours later, we were ready for lunch……  but no lunch bag.

We returned to where we “thought” we left it, and it wasn’t there.  We talked to the people at the hotel where the Summit was being held, and they said if anyone found it, it would be at least 2 hours before they’d have it in the office.  I checked with the event staff at various locations, but nothing could be done for a while.  Instead of going hungry, we sought a local restaurant and requested a simple salad for me (without the items that were not compliant) and a shrimp sandwich (with gluten free bread) for Ed.  No one got sick, so that was good.

Later in the day, I decided to check with the Summit organizers again.  (I was determined to find that bag!)  Before I had a chance to call them, I noticed there was a message on my phone.  Believe it or not, the registration desk called me to say they had my lunch bag!  Needless to say, we were thrilled to have a truly compliant dinner that evening!


What are lectins, anyway???

According to Dr. Gundry, lectins are large proteins found in animals and plants. For plants, it is their way of protecting themselves from being eaten by animals. (And gluten is actually a form of lectin.) Lectins are found in the seeds, grains, skin, rinds, and leaves of most plants. When an animal or insect eats a plant containing lectins, it either dies, or gets sick, which is intended to discourage the insect or animal from eating it again. (This is how the plant and it’s offspring protect themselves in order to survive.)
When humans eat foods that contain lectins, oftentimes they too will feel unwell–some people more than others. (That’s when we tend to reach for stomach relief medications.) Unfortunately, the animals most of us eat are fed the same plants that affect us, and indirectly, their problems become our problems when we eat those animals. So as Dr. Gundry says, “You really are what you eat.”
In addition to the affect of our diet, there are 7 major disruptors which are responsible for changing your gut microbes. According to Dr. Gundry, they are:
1. Broad-spectrum antibiotics.
2. NSAIDs.
3. Stomach-Acid blockers.
4. Artificial sweeteners.
5. Endocrine Disruptors–which are low-dose estrogen-like products people put on their skin, such as cosmetics, preservatives, sunscreen and the use of plastics.
6. GMO foods and Roundup.
7. Exposure to Blue spectrum light.
All of this exposure to lectins and other disruptors, Dr. Gundry believes are what has led to the various problems with our immune systems, including:
Aching joints, heartburn, age spots, skin tags, arthritis, cancer, dementia, fibromyalgia, IBS, skin rashes, and a whole host of other health problems.
Reading this long list is what made me think this eating program was just the thing we needed to try to repair the damage we’ve both experienced over the years.

PS:  The photo above is a Green Smoothie, which has NO LECTINS.  It is made with spring mix, spinach, kale, avocado, mint, and lemon juice with water.  Yummy!!


Why WeGutHealthy

The previous posts explained the progression from where we were to where we are now.  Somewhere along the way, I stumbled upon a YouTube video by Dr. Steven Gundry.  His focus is on gut health.  There has been a lot of buzz regarding gut health, and discoveries are being made everyday.  In my mind, Dr. Gundry seemed to be on to something.  Since the things we had done up to now were helping, Dr. Gundry’s Plant Paradox program seemed worth trying.  (Hence, the moniker, weguthealthy!)

In Phase 1 of the program, you start with a 3-day cleanse.  It seems people everywhere have started drinking “green smoothies!”  In Dr. Gundry’s program, fruit is actually off limits, especially for the first 3 days, except for the fresh squeezed lemon juice in his recipe.  You can also add a few drops of Stevia extract if you like.  Initially, I avoided even a few drops, since I didn’t want to duplicate any “sweet” taste that might make me crave more sweets!  Basically you can add various types of lettuces, greens, avocados, with a bit of fresh mint to a mixture of water and ice.  For a bit of plant protein, I added hemp powder.

Many people use other plant proteins, (such as pea) as well as whey proteins.   Dr. Gundry suggests that if you use them, read your labels carefully, because many whey proteins contain sugars and/or artificial sweeteners.  But in reality, he actually discourages using whey protein because it elevates insulin-like growth factor (IFG) which he says stimulates cancer and aging.  (Neither of which I want to encourage!)

The program recommends you drink a “Green Smoothie” for breakfast for each day of the 3-day cleanse.  Lunch and dinner for the first 3 days consist of a lot of cruciferous vegetables with no more than 4 oz of grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish or pastured chicken.  (There should only be a total of 8 oz. of animal protein a day.)  Vegetables should be organic and locally sourced if possible.  There are vegan and vegetarian substitutions as well.

In the days that follow, I will post photos of some of the meals I’ve made, and explain any modifications I made to the recipes.  If you’ve already heard of the program and have had experiences (or recipes) you’d like to share, I’d be happy to hear about them!   If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.  Although I’m not a licensed nutritionist,  I want to share my experiences with others in the hope I can offer whatever advice and encouragement I can.


Before Whole 30

Two or three years before starting the Whole 30 program, my daughter introduced me to the Paleo way of eating.  Since Ed had been eating gluten free, the Paleo program seemed easy enough to follow.  Giving up sweets was the hard part.  We still indulged various gluten-free crackers, cookies, and the like.  I can’t say we really felt better physically, but we felt better about at least trying to be on a healthier path.

And then came Whole 30.  Wow, I thought it was “Paleo on steroids!”  It took a full year after buying the book before I could wrap my head around giving up dairy, alcohol, and sugar.  Then I decided it was time to do something radical.  We targeting October 1st 2016, but my kitchen wasn’t ready.  We had too many offending products on the shelves to start the program properly.  Being somewhat OCD, it seemed I couldn’t start unless it was the 1st of the month.  So November 1st it was.  I took the next several weeks to box up the offending products and hauled them off to a friend’s house.  (Not that I didn’t care about her health, but I knew she’d welcome the free groceries!)  I allowed myself to cheat a little bit before D-day, but when November 1st rolled around, we were ready, willing, and determined! (Well, actually Ed was scared.)

Black coffee. hmmmm.  My father used to drink his coffee black, and I never understood how he could do it.  Since using coconut or almond milk was allowed, I tried that for a while.  Really did not like almond milk in a cappuccino.  (It didn’t froth well, either.)  I settled for coconut milk in regular coffee.  In my mind, it was better than black.  Then one day, I went to a networking meeting where someone had brought in coffee for the group.  (The only creamer, was that stuff in the little containers which are full of chemicals.)  So I decided to bite the bullet, and drink it black.  Wow, was I surprised.  It wasn’t bad!  (For the record, it was actually the Dunkin Donuts brand.)  Believe it or not, from that day forward, I (almost) only drink it black.  I say it that way because, every now and then, I’ll have a Frappuccino from Starbucks.  (A girl has to cheat some time, right???)

The great thing about the internet is that you can find thousands of recipes for whatever diet program you’re following. So between the Whole 30 book, Whole 30 cookbook, books from the  library, and the internet,–I was preparing a lot of wonderful dishes.  We kept a strict diary of what we ate, and how we felt.  I was surprised that, even though I didn’t have any real health issues, I started to feel better in ways I hadn’t expected.  Ed was definitely noticing less heartburn, and he was thrilled.  (He went from experiencing heartburn almost every day, to hardly ever having heartburn after being on the Whole 30 program a short time.)  After the first 30 days on Whole 30, he refused to reintroduce the offending foods into his diet.  For him there was no going back.  (I would experiment with various foods, just to see how different I’d feel.)

Despite Ed’s feeling better, we decided to continue on our quest for the best health possible.  Ed was on a roll.  Based on recommendations from Dr. Tom O’Bryan’s book (the Autoimmune Fix),  he decided to give up nightshade vegetables.  The results of giving up nightshade vegetable seemed inconclusive.

And then came the Plant Paradox (by Dr. Steven Gundry).


We Gut Healthy

Welcome to my first blog!  This blog will cover various trials and tribulations regarding food, nutrition, health and wellness–based on the experiences I’ve had with my husband, Ed.  I welcome all comments and suggestions from those who have similar stories and may have advice for me and/or others!

Where to begin!!!  After suffering with stomach issues and migraine headaches in the years before I knew him, Ed was finally diagnosed as being Gluten Sensitive.  His headaches and stomach problems improved, but didn’t completely go away.  Since he felt better, he accepted it as an improvement and figured that was the best he could expect.

Fast forward a few years, and I came into the picture.  We’ve gone through a lot of changes in the nearly 8 years we’ve known each other.  It seemed very ironic that I met him just a few months after graduating from Johnson & Wales in Baking & Pastry Arts.  All those wonderful breads, cakes and pastries would be forbidden in our lives together.  Oh, well.  Life goes on.  I experimented with making things Gluten Free.  Some were good, some were disasters!

Then my daughter told me about the Whole 30 program.  Hmmmm, an elimination diet.  For his sake, it sounded like an interesting experiment.  For me, it sounded like the kiss of death! No sugar, no diary, no gluten, no alcohol.  Are you kidding????