Tag Archives: whole food

Strawberry Spinach Salad With Maple Glazed Pecans

Adaptability.  It’s all about adaptability.  Take this sweet, crunchy and showy salad, perfect for any get-together, originally from my mother-in-law’s recipe book.  Awesome salad, but originally quite refined.   Substitute maple syrup for white sugar and olive oil for vegetable oil, and voila!  You’ve thrown refinement to the wind!  And retained good taste and stunning looks.  Lookin’ good, girl.  Lookin’ good.  Love the makeover.

The steps, when written out, look a little long, but I hate to leave anything to chance.  The salad is delicious, always goes over well at potlucks, and isn’t hard to make.

Don’t be afraid to adapt.  Don’t be afraid to adapt recipes.  Eat real.  Eat well.  Live well.

P.S.  Salad shown without the delicious poppy seed dressing.  Can’t remember why.

strawberry pecan salad 3

INGREDIENTS

For the salad:

1 pound of fresh baby spinach or spinach chopped into bite sized pieces

1 cup of celery, diced small

1 quart of fresh strawberries, sliced or quartered

For the glazed pecans:

½ cup maple syrup

1 ½ cup whole pecans

For the poppy seed dressing:

⅔ cup white apple cider vinegar

½ cup maple syrup (you may like a little more than I do)

3-4 green onions (with tops), chopped

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons dry mustard

2 cups olive oil

3 tablespoons poppy seeds

INSTRUCTIONS

First, place the spinach, diced celery, and fresh-sliced strawberries in your prettiest glass serving bowl.  Set aside.  You can even do this the day before for convenience.

Second, glaze the pecans:

  1. Lay out a large sheet of waxed paper, about the size of a cookie sheet, and grease it well with a little coconut oil or olive oil.  Alternatively, you may use a silicone baking mat which will not need greased.
  2. Put the maple syrup and pecans in a large, heavy skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for about 7-8 minutes.  Time will vary, but cook the pecans until the syrup caramelizes and gets sticky and bubbly.  Err on the side of overcooking (but do not burn).
  3. Remove the pecans with a slotted spoon to the greased waxed paper or silicone sheet.
  4. Allow to cool.
  5. Break up into pieces to sprinkle onto the salad.  Set aside.  You may also do this the day before and store separately.

Third, make the poppy seed dressing:

  1. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a food processor or blender. (Do not yet add the olive oil or poppy seeds.)  Blend until smooth.
  2. With the food processor still running, add the 2 cups of oil in a slow, steady stream until smooth and thick. The dressing will be a light green color.
  3. Fold in the poppy seeds.
  4. Chill.  (You may have extra dressing.  The dressing will keep in the refrigerator for about ten days, although it will thicken due to the cold.  Allow it to come to room temperature for a thinner consistency.)

Finally, put the salad all together:

  1. Top the salad mix in the pretty bowl with the glazed pecans.
  2. Drizzle on the poppy seed dressing just before serving, using only as much dressing as you desire.
  3. Toss the salad to mix.  Serve.  (Alternatively, serve the dressing on the side, and any leftovers will keep better.)

Family “gustar” report:  The whole family votes thumbs up for this salad.

I hope you try this recipe and love it as much as we all do!  Please, give real food a try!

Terri

Three Days of Thanksgiving: Green Bean Casserole with Crunchy Onions

A bit of mushroom soup (homemade, of course).  Some green beans (home canned, if you have ’em).  And some hand-cut French fried onions.  (My kids call them onions from heaven.)  And Thanksgiving can proceed.  Right?  No cans needed!

If someone in your family needs to eliminate gluten, dairy, or preservatives, and they are very sad about giving up traditional Thanksgiving foods, then this recipe is for them.  It’s a little extra work, but love always is.  That’s what makes it special.

Take a look…

greenbeancasserole1

Does it look like you remember?

Traditional-Style Green Bean Casserole

Topping:

  • 3 smallish onions, sliced very thinly
  • ½ cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1½ teaspoon salt, divided use
  • 1 ½ cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour
  • Pepper to taste
  • Oil for frying

Casserole:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 1 cup of fresh, finely chopped Portabella mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca or arrowroot powder
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup full-fat coconut milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 4 cups cooked and drained green beans

French fried onion topping:

  1. For the topping, mix together in a medium-sized bowl the coconut milk, apple cider vinegar, and ½ teaspoon salt.  Soak the onions in the mixture for an hour.  Stir occasionally.
  2.  Mix together Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour and remaining 1 teaspoon salt in a large baggie.
  3.  Drain the onions well in a strainer and place in the baggie and shake to coat well.  Try very hard to break up clumps so all the rings are mostly coated.
  4.  Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium-sized saucepan until an onion dropped in sizzles and spatters.  If your oil isn’t hot enough, you’ll have goopy mess.  If it’s too hot, you’ll burn the delectable rings.  Use enough olive oil to come up to 1-2 inches high in the pan.  You may need to periodically add more, always waiting for the oil to return to the proper temperature.
  5. When the oil is hot enough, fry the onions in single-layer batches until they are light golden- brown.  
  6. Use a slotted spoon to remove the onions to a paper-towel lined plate.  Set aside.

For the casserole:

  1. Saute the onion and mushrooms in olive oil over low heat for 15 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle with tapioca starch (or arrowroot) and stir.
  3. Add the chicken stock and stir until it just reaches a boil.  Remove from heat.
  4. Add in the coconut milk, salt, and pepper.  The mixture should be thick like soup.
  5. Place green beans in a large bowl, pour mushroom mixture over, and mix well.
  6. Transfer to a casserole dish and bake at 350 F for 20 minutes.
  7. Cover with French fried onions and bake an additional 10 more minutes.  If using stored French fried onions (see below), you may need to bake longer, until the rings are just crisped up again.

Variations and information:

  • Canned green beans work well here.  No worries!
  • To save time: make the French fried onions ahead of time, storing them in a single-layer in the refrigerator on a paper-towel lined plate until needed for the casserole.
  • Use more green beans if you like your green bean casserole less soupy and less moist.  Eyeball it.  Maybe 5 cups.
  • I haven’t tried, but I’ll bet this will work with other gluten-free flours.  Mix up your own for 100% homemade!
  • Add a little garlic and/or onion powder into the soup mixture if you’d like.
  • Add a little cashew cream to the green bean mixture to make it richer.  (A recipe is in the Molly Green e-cookbook I worked on.)
  • I haven’t tried it, but you could try using the GF flour to thicken the soup rather than arrowroot or tapioca–but no guarantees since I haven’t tried it!

Family “gustar” report:  It scores a 6 out of 6.  Even the baby gets in on the action!  My husband says the fresh mushrooms make it the best.  My kids love the onion rings.  But there’s NEVER green bean casserole left.

There’s more recipes like this in the Molly Green Bite-Sized guide (e-cookbook) I helped put together for Molly Green Magazine.  I’ll be bringing you two more recipes in this little Three Days of Thanksgiving!  Then, I won’t bother your in-box for a while.  I hope you have a great day!

Terri

Money Talks: Part Three (And Final)

Let’s just go to McDonald’s (Maybe our cells won’t know the difference?)

“I know for a lot of people it’s all about the money. I was following some folks around SafeWay the other day as they Save money eating rightpicked up bacon, eggs, muffins, butter and then started adding it up. They tossed everything in the orange juice cooler and said, ‘Let’s just go to McDonalds!'”  (Tim Steele)

What’s wrong with McDonald’s?  Same thing that’s wrong with all processed foods.  Corn oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, high fructose corn syrup, autolyzed yeast extract, and dimethylpolysiloxane to start.  These are not the things that our cells use to function.  For every calcium they pull out to use, they’re having to figure out how to eliminate the dimethylpolysiloxane.  For every magnesium you ingest, they have to put out the fire (almost literally) from the corn oil and hydrogenated soybean oil being incorporated into your cells.  Years of this mistreatment, and the body finally succumbs to chronic diseases:  diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression, arthritis, and autoimmune disorders.  The body just is not getting enough of what it needs and the trash from what it doesn’t need is accumulating, causing disease.  Your doctor can’t change it.  Your husband can’t change it.  Only you can change it.

And if you have young children who can’t go to the grocery yet themselves, you can largely control the outcome of their health story.  Buying them good, whole, real foods.  Educating them.  Setting examples for them.  Staying the course, just for them.

Today is the last post on ways to try to make eating whole, real food a reasonable price.  Part I is here.  Part II is here.  And today is Part III.  Thanks for reading.

The Final Tips on How to Make Eating Right Affordable

If your family doesn’t eat leftovers well, then freeze them that night and label them to pull out later!  Then, next time you thaw and reheat them, serve them up attractively on plates so they don’t know they’re eating leftovers.

If you see veggies and fruits going spare in nature, ask!  We live in town, but people here still have apple trees and gardens.  It’s so sad to see tomatoes and apples rot in the October frost.  So if it’s getting to the end of the season, go ask if you can pick the apples, pears, and tomatoes going to waste!  Free is cheap.

Shop from a list to prevent any impulsive buys suggested by your own brain or kids.  My kids always ask for juice.  Is it on the list?  Is that what we came here for?  Uh.  No.  No juice.  It’s not really good for you anyhow.  Impulsive buys are usually expensive buys.  Make your list and stick to it to save money.

Shop around.  This is where time plays a role and makes budgeting a challenge.  But to trim costs, you really must shop around.

Fish.  No.  Not buy seafood.  That can be expensive.  But go fishing!  Go hunting!  Not your thing?  Bum food off of people who do!  Wild-caught food that you catch on your own saves money.

Eat only whole, real foods for health.  What?  I’m supposed to be telling you how to SAVE money!  How to make eating this way sustainable–not just repeat my by-line…BUT this one probably saves us the most money.  By eating this way, we dropped an average of probably 2.5 prescriptions per family member (We had terrible allergic rhinitis, all of us.).  Co-pays were running us about 10-20 dollars per prescription.  Let’s shoot low.  We were spending at least $125 per month on prescriptions.  At least.  I didn’t tally in over-the-counter stuff, antibiotics, and doctor’s visits.  Eating whole, real foods saves money by shedding prescriptions and doctor’s appointments.

Avert diabetes and high cholesterol.  For most of us, statistics clearly show we will be obese.  We will have diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and/or high cholesterol—these diseases travel in packs.  (That’s a bare minimum of three prescriptions.)  These are foods of chronic poor food choices in most all cases.  Choose real, whole foods which, yes, take effort to prepare.  I am NOT hearing it loud enough for my tastes yet.  You do not have to have these diseases.  It will take what today’s society considers drastic food changes, but they are not drastic when measured against what we’ve been eating for thousands and thousands of years.  Eating whole, real foods prepared with your own hands can reverse and prevent these chronic diseases.  You tally up the cost.  (Tip:  Look around you.  It’s exorbitant.)

Your Success

That’s all I have time for today.  I want you to succeed.  Your success opens up opportunities for other people.  When you feel good, you can give to the world in the way only you can.  I sincerely believe that.  I hope you have a great weekend.  I hope you have a great life.  McDonald’s and grain flours may be a bit cheaper and a lot less effort in the short run, but it’s ruining the function of your tissues and cells.

If you have any questions about how to get started on this journey which will require much more effort than money, ask away.  Your health depends on it.

And experienced passers-by and friends, leave your tips for others to learn from!  Thanks for prior tips and comments.  You’re the best!

 

~~Terri

Money Talks: Part Two

The garden

You can use money as an excuse to choose cheap, processed foods, but when you’re really ready to dive in I want you to know, it is simply an excuse.  Clear heads, energy, regular bowels, and pain-free joints–they do not come from a box.  I know I have lurkers who wonder if they can do this.  They wonder if they can commit.  Their spouse wants to know, “Can we do it on the same budget?”

You can.  You won’t break the bank.  Read on for more ways to make eating fresh, real food more economical.  Read yesterday’s post for more.  And tomorrow’s post for even more.  NO excuses.  Effort?  Yes.  Excuses?  That’s what they are:  excuses that enable bad eating.

Learn to cook

Let’s face it.  Four years ago, I was just a crummy cook who knew how to boil pasta and mix white flour, butter, and sugar.  Since then, I’ve learned how to use most all vegetables and spices.  My fear of fish and lamb are gone.  My fear of the grill is gone.  I’ve learned how to combine what’s left in my kitchen to something my family loves.  By learning to cook, you can buy sale items with confidence.  You can use cheaper cuts of meat and spices and transform a table to gourmet, although it costs less than steak and chicken breasts.  You’ll be able to eye a recipe quickly to decide if it’s a good fit for your family or not.  Find a friend and don’t be embarrassed to ask them to help you learn how to cook.  It will save you from ill-health and save you money.

Make homemade broth

Never spend money on packaged broth again!  Homemade broth just requires leftover scraps of meat, bones, and water (or leftover scraps of vegetables for you vegetarians).  Recycling at its finest!  You’re making something awesome out of food you’d normally just throw in the trash.  How’s that for saving money AND being quite the cook?  Make broth to add nutrition, flavor, and save money.

Count the cost of what you don’t buy:  soda pop, junk food, breakfast cereal, and meals out

Spend the next two months adding up the price of all the drinks, processed/packaged food, cereals, and meals you eat out.  Count it all up.  Every stinking penny of it.  Every quick run through the drive-through for a latte or Diet Coke.  What you tally up may surprise you!  Marketers want your money.  They’re probably getting it.  Especially if you use coupons.  Don’t see many coupons for kale.  Poor kale farmer.  Save money by not buying processed foods and meals out.

Start using the fat skimmed off of meat in place of oil:  bacon, lard, tallow

I used to drain all the fat and set it aside to trash when it cooled.  Now, I’m much more likely to save it in the pan to sauté some onions and broccoli in or store it in the fridge to use to sauté chicken in later.  The fats that we can save from cooking our meats, those are the fats that allow us to better absorb vitamin D and other “fat-soluble” vitamins that we need and are known to be deficient in.  I avoid vegetable oil, corn oil, Crisco, and margarine because they incorporate into our cells in “broken” forms which need fixed.  Using left-over drippings saves money, saves waste, and avoids use of rancid (spoiled) vegetable-derived oils.

Learn to can.  Do it with friends. 

It’s fun and creates good memories.  I have tons of memories of my mom, Aunt, and Grandma canning together.  Happy memories.  I have good memories of canning with good friends too.  Canning vegetables and fruits picked at peak nutrition saves money and creates lasting bonds with friends and families.

Buy lots of fruit in season. 

Then can it.  Cook it.  Freeze it.  Just get it when it’s cheap.  99 cents per pound.

Use co-ops and CSA baskets

Sometimes it takes a knowing a person to get you the information, but most communities now have co-ops and produce baskets where you get fresh-from-the-farm produce at a good price.  Amazingly, instead of complaining, most people I know love it when they get something they haven’t had before because they like to “figure it out.”  So if you’re willing to learn and experiment, these are great!  Ask around, getting fresh produce from a co-op or CSA basket saves significantly.

Drive to the farm

Straight from the source saves money.  And many like to chat.  I’ve learned so much from our 83 year-old farm woman about chickens, eggs, cows, and canning.  She is amazing.  Many farmers are talkers and love to share.  Buying food from the farm saves money.

Ask a friend to pledge to eat 90% whole, real foods with you

Having a comrade shares the joy, the pain, and the cost.  You can split bulk orders.  You can get together once a month and cook casseroles to freeze.  You can can together.  You can share good recipes.  Going in with a partner can save money.

Make soup so nothing goes to waste

Learning to use up everything in the kitchen saves money.  Soup is a great, economical way to stretch a budget.  Of course, you’ll need to learn to cook so you can figure out how to meld all those ingredients together.   But with the homemade broth, vegetables you froze from in season, and what’s going south in the fridge, you can make some very taste concoctions.  Soups are economical.

Skip those froo-froo drinks

Strangely, this one gets people!  Water just doesn’t do it for them.  Crazy how far we’ve come when water doesn’t sound good.  All purchased drinks seem to cost so much money, even bottled water (which is teeming with plastic run-off).  Save money and your health by sticking with water in a glass cup.

There are more

Oh, yes!  There are more tips tomorrow.  Have you been reading?  If so, which tip, in your mind may be the most important?  I’m almost bordering on the “Learn to cook” one.  Probably second is “Buy it in season.”  And probably the most important concept is gathering the drive and effort.  With drive and effort, nearly all barriers can be navigated.

 

~~Terri

 

A Real Food Story

 

Inappropriate weight is a SIGN from the body that it is struggling with our food choices.

Our bodies function best on whole foods.

Thank you to my mother-in-law for sharing her whole-foods conversion story.  Yesterday’s post contains the introduction to her story.  Choosing nutrient-dense foods is allowing her body to start functioning like it should, and she deserves that.  We all do.  You do:

Terri, here it is.  For better or worse.

My name is Mary and I’m overweight.  My cholesterol number is 11 points above the desirable number and I have an irregular heartbeat (supraventricular tachycardia).  [Allow me, Terri, to mention the time we were walking and her irregular heart beat acted up and her blood pressure dropped.  I had to leave her supine on a park bench while I sprinted 1 and 1/2 miles home to get the car.]  I walk 2 miles a day, 4-5 days a week and spend summers in Indiana and winters in South Carolina.

I never meant for it to happen, but over the years I’d added a pound here and a pound there until I was 20 pounds overweight on my 71st birthday.  [At some point in life, we get to forget about weight!  I don’t care about my mother-in-law’s “weight”, but I do care about her “function.”]  It was then that I decided to do something about it.  Doctors on TV had said that one way to reduce cholesterol was to lose weight.  And I remember back in the 60s my husband attended a science convention in Atlantic City where the keynote speaker presented information about his topic:  “Man is getting too big for his heart.”  I reasoned that maybe I could improve my cholesterol number and improve my heart condition by losing a little weight.

So I began my daily diet regime:  a bowl of cereal with skim milk for breakfast and then a little meat, chicken, or fish, a serving of fruit, and 3 servings of vegetables divided between the other two meals.  I did allow myself a little grain (bread or pasta).  By November I had lost 5 pounds.  But then came Thanksgiving and my weight spiked up again.  Before I could lose the weight again, along came Christmas and a repeat of Thanksgiving.  Then there was New Year’s Eve.  I just could not seem to move ahead with my weight-loss goals.

Then in late February, my daughter-in-law told me about the success her family was having with whole foods and eliminating grains and dairy from their diets.  [Our success came in “function”:  Energy levels, coughs, headaches, stomach aches, constipation, inability to concentrate, sleep, runny noses, stuffy noses, etc.  Weight did follow.]  I decided to give “no grains” a try.  I wasn’t ready to give up ice cream altogether, but I would try to give up grains.  That in itself seemed a daunting task – goodbye pie, cake, pasta, yeast rolls, corn, even cereal.  Was there anything left to eat??!!  What I was expected to live on was a little meat or fish, a little fruit, and lots of vegetables.  I took it a step further and eliminated white potatoes; and although I did not eliminate dairy altogether, I did significantly decrease my intake of milk, cheese, and butter (choosing olive oil instead).  And, yes, I decreased the frequency of ice cream treats.  To be sure I didn’t fudge the results, I kept a daily log of my weight.

The Results

Although I kept a daily log, I will present only the weight on the first day of the new diet and each month after, as close to the anniversary date as possible.

Date                                                      Weight

March 3                                                114.0

April 2                                                   111.6

May 3                                                    108.6

June 10                                                 106.0

July 3                                                     104.8

Health Benefits

I have noticed a number of health benefits as a result of losing 10 pounds, some of them hoped for, some expected, and some a complete surprise.

  • My waist size has decreased 2-3 inches
  • I can bend more easily to tie my shoes
  • I can walk all the way up the hill without stopping to rest midway
  • My heartbeat is more regular during exercise
  • My blood pressure has decreased about 10 points
  • I have more energy and really notice I have sluggishness with increased grain and/or sugar intake

You May Wonder:

1.  What do you eat for breakfast?  Normally I have a smoothie for breakfast made with ½ c. coconut water, a banana, ¼ apple, some cinnamon and/or nutmeg and then another fruit (blueberries, strawberries, peaches, and mangos are favorites).  Ice is optional.  If I am traveling, I will opt for egg, sausage, and fruit.

[I, Terri, have a whole list of breakfast ideas if you click here.  Although I like smoothies, they don’t stick to my ribs.  Protein and fat last me longer and don’t give me a post-breakfast sugar drop, which may be what she’s experiencing.  Real fats, if we remove processed sugars, excessive sweet consumption, and carbohydrates from grains should not scare us anymore.  However, convincing somebody who has been trained to be afraid of animal fats for 40 years is very tough.]

2.  Do you ever get hungry between meals?  Yes, especially after the breakfast smoothie.  Usually I walk 2 miles after breakfast, and after that walk I am very hungry.  The trick is to get very busy and stay that way until lunchtime.  If hunger is too overwhelming, a handful of nuts helps.

[Here I, Terri, would again point out “the smoothie crash” I mentioned above.  I would also add that any whole foods snack will work:  a banana, an avocado, olives, apple slices with almond butter, a leftover hamburger patty, a boiled egg, a can of tuna in olive oil.  Something with protein and fat will curb true hunger.]

3.  When is it hardest for you to resist grains?  When the person across the table from me is eating a warm, fluffy, yeasty-smelling, buttery-topped pan roll, or a piece of warm rhubarb custard pie topped with ice cream, or a stack of pancakes with maple syrup dripping, or a piece of hot pizza.  You name it.  It’s a struggle. 

[She mentioned to me once that she knew exactly what an alcoholic must go through.]

4.  Do you ever fall off the wagon?  Oh, yes!  But I just climb back on again.  And to compensate, I may adjust by eating only vegetables for the next meal, or a small piece of fruit and a handful of nuts.  Or I may exercise a little more.

[For myself, I focus on how poor my energy level is,  how irritable I feel, how bloated I am, how my constipation flares up, or my headache.  Reminding myself that I like to feel good helps me start renewed the next morning.]

Conclusion

This life style change for me seems to be working, although I seem to have reached a plateau at around 105 pounds.  Maybe there have been simply too many graduation parties, holidays, and family picnics.  But when I fall off the wagon, I get right back on.  I’ve come too far to turn back now.  The prize is just around the bend – 5 pounds to my optimum weight and whatever health perks come with it. 

[Here I would encourage people to focus on the “health perks” and not the weight.  IT IS NOT YOUR WEIGHT THAT DETERMINES HOW GOOD YOU FEEL.  IT IS THE REMOVAL OF EXCESS FOOD/EXCESS CARBOHYDRATE-FOODS AND THE INSULIN EXTREMES THAT ACCOMPANIES THOSE FOODS.  THE REMOVAL OF CHEMICALS.  THE ADDITION OF MICRONUTRIENTS ABSENT FROM GRAINS.  The feeling better is the key that something good is happening.  The weight will come.  Focusing on weight will bring failure.  Focusing on that horrible sluggish feeling grains often gives some people is a much better incentive.  Or the supraventricular tachycardia symptoms that are so uncomfortable and now going away.]

Thank You For Reading

My mother-in-law is a wonderful woman!  She deserves to feel good, have great energy, desirable cholesterol, and be able to walk without a racing heart.  For me to hear that her irregular heart beat (which is under the great management of her cardiologists) and stamina seem to be improving is joy to my ears.  She is losing about an average of 2 pounds per month, a perfectly sustainable weight-loss.

wpid-IMAG0924.jpgI didn’t hand her a book to read on any particular diet.  Although I am self-experimenting by following GAPS diet, the word “diet” sets my teeth on edge. We would all function (and therefore feel) much better if we could simply choose foods in a more whole state.  (After achieving that wonderful feat, discerning individual food intolerances and adding in a few tweaks will complete “The I Feel Good Conversion.”)

Free to do what she chooses, I laid down these ideas (I’m sorry if you follow along that you have to see these again.):

  • No processed foods or drinks.
  • Nothing with artificial colors and preservatives (including drinks).
  • Nothing with added sugar, corn syrup, or artificial sweeteners.
  • No grains except for special occasions, hopefully not more than a couple of times a month.
  • No dairy with anything added to it (sugar, colors, carrageenan).  Read labels.
  • Added fats in the form of olive oil, butter, coconut oil, and animal-sources are fine and do not need regulated.
  • Eggs are not bad.
  • Most calories need to come in the form of fruits, vegetables, and unprocessed meats.

I hope you feel good today.  I hope, if you don’t, you can find what it is that will help you.  Whole food is the perfect start.  (And a check-up with a doctor will help define any serious problems!)

Terri

You Have to Lose Weight

You go to the doctor’s office. The doctor says, “You have to lose weight.” It’s a 1 minute conversation, if that.  So what do you do?  Count calories?  Eat less?  Exercise more?  Skip dessert?  Eat low-fat?  Lose five pounds only to regain it all before the next doctor’s visit?

Research and medicine are stumbling on to the knowledge that how we’ve been telling you to eat is a set-up for disaster.  (You can almost hear me say it, “It’s not your fault.”)  Carbohydrates and dairy, in most of us, cannot be the foundation of a well-functioning body.  Foods full of preservatives and sugars are detrimental to the balance of beneficial gut bacteria so underappreciated in the 20th century, but slowly gaining respect in the 21st.  Chronically elevated insulin as a result of constant carbohydrate introduction (cereal, granola bar, milkshake, sandwich bread, pasta, pizza, crackers, soda pop, juice) is Inflammatory Monster 1.   High omega-6 intake from processed oils, touted as healthy, is Inflammatory Monster 2.  Inflammatory Monsters abound in today’s processed food.

My Mother-in-Law and Her Weight

Tomorrow I am going to share my mother-in-law’s nutritional intervention story, but today I will set up the background information.  Her story is an “everyday story.”  She didn’t drop 100 pounds.  She didn’t cure something like ulcerative colitis  in herself.  She isn’t a famous person.  She wasn’t falling on the floor sick, but she was overweight, like many.  Her stamina was deteriorating, like many.  She could be your mom.  Or you.  Or your wife.  And now she feels better…

My mother-in-law is a saint; she has immense treasure waiting for her up in heaven.  As one of the nicest, most patient people who ever walked the earth, she kindly puts up with her son and I, both strong-headed mules (you are allowed to take the analogy one step further and not be too far off from the truth).

She has always been a tiny, 62-inch woman (1.6 meters), until recent years, when she started blossoming OUT.  She usually respectfully heeds my medical advice when it is needed regarding her health.  Over the last several years, as she struggled with her weight slowly creeping up and up, I had no wise medical words to offer this diligent, conscientious-to-a-fault, woman.   So, you’re gaining weight?  Welcome to the real world.  Move more.  Eat less.  Calorie in.  Calorie out.  Next.

wpid-IMAG1004.jpgFinally, her cholesterol sadly followed her weight.  Never one to break rules, she studied the food pyramid and made every effort to do just what it said, posting lists of “healthy” foods and appropriate serving sizes on cupboard doors.  Ever trying, trying to shed creeping pounds and cholesterol numbers. When her cholesterol went up, her doctor told her to eat more oatmeal.    So EVERY morning it was oatmeal for breakfast.  Still her weight and cholesterol trended up.  Her doctor wanted to put her on a statin for cholesterol.  She has VERY few other risk factors, if any.

By now, I had stumbled across GAPS, SCD, Paleo, Primal, Terry Wahl’s (M.D.) and Whole30 type diets.  (They each have their own unique, important spins, but they preach a very similar message which I believe is crucial for a healthy functioning body.)  My whole family was feeling better.  We had even lost some weight.  My husband lost 30 pounds eating this new way. I lost 10. (The man always loses more. No biggie. HE had more to lose anyway.)

We focus(ed) on:

  • nutritional density (whole fruits, vegetables, and unprocessed meats)
  • removing foods and drinks known, or suspected, to treat the human body badly (like things with artificial colors, preservatives, and sugars)
  • eliminating foods that seemed to treat our own individual bodies badly (grains, dairy, eggs, nuts)

What started as a search for a cure for my severe, chronic constipation problem via the GAPS diet has turned into a wonderful journey of just feeling so much better overall:  fewer headaches, less asthma symptoms, less allergic rhinitis, better bowel movements, more energy, alleviation of common female problems, and identification of SIDE EFFECTS of food.

As we experienced astounding success, I watched my mother-in-law continue to struggle to get that weight down, internally fretting and bemoaning her poor results.  She was in NO way obese by somewhat distorted American standards, and most people in America would have called her normal size.  However, by medical standards, her assessment of herself was correct; she was overweight.

One morning when my in-laws and my family was vacationing together in Grand Cayman, we sat around the breakfast table conversing, and diet and weight control came up.  (Who knows?  Maybe my id brought it up.)  I couldn’t control my intensity as I looked at my mother-in-law:  “You really want to know how to lose this weight?  Get your cholesterol numbers better?”

Due to my intensity, she looked like a deer in headlights: “Of course I do!”

With much vehemence, I said, “Well, the oatmeal has to go.  So do ALL the grains:  wheat, rice, corn, soy, quinoa, you name it.  Wheat is a treat and only for birthdays and holidays.  No crackers.  No bread.  No bagels.  No added sugars.  No preservatives.  Nothing with added colors.  If you eat dairy, it can’t have anything added to it by the manufacturer.  None of this pink yogurt crap.”

Being so good–she wouldn’t argue with the devil–her gray, purple eyes met mine and I saw that jaw of hers clamp down with this challenge.  She thought I had read one too many diet book on this vacation:  “Okay.  I’ll try it.”

wpid-IMAG0939.jpgAgreeing to Share

Changing my diet a year and few months ago for some health reasons was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and I really didn’t think a change in my diet would really do all that much–but I wanted to prove it to myself.  I was at my ideal weight (albeit the upper end), exercised daily, ate “healthy food” (along with my cinnamon rolls and cookies), and just looked to be the epitome of health.  Diet change really sucked at first; somewhere along the line, though, I started feeling good.  And I liked it.  I now know this dietary intervention has been the best thing I did for myself, my husband, and my children.  And if I can share that as an inspiration to others, great.

I have been slowly, painfully, letting it be known that I have a blog to people I know.  I figure I love them best, and if it’s that important to me, they ought to get a piece of the carrot.  I let my mother-in-law know about my blog a month ago, and I asked her hopefully if I could share her “nutritional rehabilitation” success story.  She is a profoundly private person, so I didn’t know what to expect.  Surprisingly, she said “yes.”  I think it’s because she senses my urgency and desperation in this matter.  It’s that important to me.

Doctors haven’t sold their souls to the devil. They’re not in a conspiracy. We don’t want you in misery so we can make more money. We aren’t in cahoots with drug companies. We want you to be healthy. We want you to feel good. We just, for so long, haven’t been properly trained on nutrition–the cornerstone of health.

For too long in medicine we’ve sided with moderation talks. We’ve dealt in “diet and exercise.” Calorie in. Calorie out. It’s not effective. It’s not working. It’s not working. It’s not working. QUIT BANGING YOUR HEAD INTO A WALL!

Goodness, no wonder I was having headaches.

Tomorrow I will share my mother-in-law’s words.  Thank you for reading this far, if you did!

Terri