An Avocado a Day keeps the Doctor away

Move over apples, the new health axiom is “an avocado a day keeps the doctor away.”

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pictures courtesy of Pexels

Even though a medium sized avocado adds around 250 calories to your daily intake and 24 grams of fat, the fat is predominantly the “good for your heart” monounsaturated variety.  Avocados also lower our “bad cholesterol” or LDL (low density lipoproteins) because they contain high amounts of plant based phytosterols.

avocado

Start by incorporating avocadoes into your daily meals.  Chopped, pureed, or mashed, use your imagination and avocados for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Just be careful what you eat them with (skip the chips).  Keeping in mind that a healthy allotment of fat is 65 grams within a daily diet of 2000 calories, simply replace the fats you have been eating for years with avocado.  Eliminate the “not so good for you” fats  like margarine or butter, peanut butter, oils, and mayonnaise.  As well as the heart healthy fat, you will be adding vitamins, minerals and fiber with this substitution.

 

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Why do eggs bother my stomach sometimes but not all the time?

eggs

In addition to wheat, asparagus and cream (high fat), eggs bother my stomach, suggesting I am intolerant of them.  But only sometimes.  I have tried to figure out if it is the way they are cooked (over easy, omelets, scrambled etc), or what they are cooked in (butter, olive oil etc) but have not come up with a definitive answer.  Because I am intolerant of wheat, I have even wondered if I am reacting to eggs from grain fed chickens.

I have done some research to see if I could find the answer; here are a few suggestions I came across:

  • don’t eat eggs on an empty stomach
  • eat other things with the eggs like toast, home fries etc
  • cook them well (over easy used to be my favourite)
  • drink something carbonated with them
  • don’t cook them in butter

I have not tried the carbonated trick yet, but carbonation is not my friend either so I probably won’t.  My last attempt at consuming eggs was in an omelette, with just a bit of olive oil to coat the pan, but a few hours later the omelette went right through me with accompanying stomach cramps and diarrhea.

I ate it by itself though, with no toast on the side, and on an empty stomach, so I may have my answer.

Anyone else have this problem?

food-breakfast-egg-milk

 

What is a Paleo diet and how it can help you

Paleo diet

Many specific diets have come and gone in popularity over the years.  We have had the Atkins, Nutrisystem, Bernstein, Zone, Weight Watchers, Mediterranean, South Beach, Raw Foods diets and more.  Some are long gone, others still around.  The Paleo diet, short for Paleolithic, (think cave man era) is based on what our ancestors supposedly foraged for and lived on centuries ago.  I say supposedly because which one of us was around to confirm the info?

It is not that difficult to realize that all the additives, preservatives and other highly processed and or hydrogenated ingredients were not around back then.  The Paleo diet urges people to eliminate such items from their meal plans.  That includes salt sugar and artificial sweeteners, iodized (table) salt,  omega six oils (unrefined, organic coconut, olive, flaxseed, and avocado are allowed because they are omega 3s), dairy (except butter and ghee which are allowed.)

Beans and legumes (with the exception of green beans and snow peas) are not allowed on a Paleo diet either because they are (for most people) hard to digest.  The same applies to starchy vegetables like white potatoes (sweet ones are allowed in moderation) corn and squash, as well as all (even gluten-free) grains. Grains are taboo because of the lectins they contain that trigger allergic and autoimmune responses as well as leaky gut syndrome.

Paleo diet

Meats allowed on the Paleo diet are grass fed, pasture raised and organic. Fish choices should be wild or farmed under responsible conditions.  Eggs should be free range. Most nuts (except peanuts because they are legumes not nuts) and seeds are allowed too.

This diet is supposed to prevent and eliminate immune responses and many disease states, including cancer.  I must admit, other than eliminating dairy (cheese is a personal weakness) beans and gluten free grains like brown rice and quinoa (actually not a grain, but included in that category) my current choice of diet follows these Paleo choices very closely.  These choices came from figuring out (over many years) what works (and doesn’t work) for my body.  Go figure, here I thought I was unique!

 

Hearty and healthy home made soup recipes

I would love to share my recipes for home made soup.  If I had any.  I used to make soup for my mother in law years ago.  Her only complaint was that I could never produce a recipe for the different varieties. I was just reminded of this dilemma when my daughter in law asked for the recipe for my last batch of home made soup.

Since I was diagnosed with a sensitivity to wheat, I put much more emphasis on ensuring the ingredients I use for my soups (and any other cooking and baking) are completely natural and healthy.  No preservatives or artificial ingredients are allowed in these recipes. This is also particularly important if you are sharing your soup with friends or family undergoing chemotherapy treatments.

Most of my soups are meat based, but you could make them to your specific dietary needs or preferences.  Here are a few tips.

  • store large bones from chicken and turkey dinners in ziplock bag in your freezer
  • also store pan drippings and liquid from vegetables in the freezer.  I use a plastic bucket for this purpose and just keep adding to the contents. Don’t be afraid to mix the different meats and vegetables , the mixture adds unique flavor to your soups. As soon as your contributions cool off, the fat will rise to the top and create a layer.  You should scrape of this layer (it comes off easily) before you add another one.
  • On soup making day, place the bones in a large pot, fill the pot with water and simmer for several hours.
  • Add garlic cloves, a chuck of ginger root and or turmeric (the stuff curry powder comes from), bay leaves or any other seasonings large enough to remove easily.  You can use powdered forms at a later stage if you don’t have the fresh stuff handy.  I have also added broccoli stalks (frozen, stored in freezer like the broths) at this stage.
  • After a few hours, remove the bones and seasonings, set aside to cool.
  • Next add frozen chunks of broth you have stored in the freezer.  You now have your base.
  • When your bones have cooled, pick off any meat from them and add them to the pot. Crush any softened garlic, ginger, adding to the pot.  Discard bay leaves if used. Puree  or chop broccoli stalks if used.  If you are using powdered spices like ginger, garlic, curry powder etc, add it now.
  • This is the time to add rice, quinoa or barley for added nutrients and chunkiness.
  • Add vegetables and or legumes.  Cherry or grape tomatoes, beans, frozen corn are my favourites.  When using beans, I do use canned, but the “no salt added” kind.  I rinse them really well before adding to the soup.
  • If you prefer creamy as opposed to chunky soups, you could puree everything at this stage.
  • Add salt (I use pink Himalayan) and or pepper to taste.
  • Add milk (I use almond milk) if your soup is too chunky or thick.

Don’t be afraid to mix up your variations. I prefer the hearty, chunky varieties with lots of ingredients, but others prefer simple broths.  I also like lots of garlic and ginger, but reduced these ingredients in my last batch so I could share some with my breastfeeding daughter in law.

If you like to record your recipes (and you might if you share your concoctions) write down what you have added.  For some reason, I never think to do so.

Bulletproof coffee

What is bulletproof coffee?  It is a new trend or fad, but not necessarily a healthy one. The biggest reason it is not healthy is because people are replacing a more nutritional breakfast with this coffee.  This coffee contains what is called empty calories because they contain little nutritional value.

Bulletproof coffee is made by adding 1 tablespoon of butter, preferably grass-fed and unsalted, as well as one tablespoon of MCT oil to one cup of coffee.  MCTs, by the way, are medium chain triglycerated fats like coconut oil.

Saturated fats are becoming more popular lately than their “fake” over processed cousins.  The fats in this coffee recipe supress hunger so avoiding breakfast is possible.  They also raise ketone levels in the bloodstream which supplies the brain with energy providing fuel.  The problem becomes when one third (assuming you eat three meals per day) of your daily nutrition is eliminated.

 

bulletproof coffee

 

The solution would be to have a bulletproof coffee in addition to your nutritional meals.  That is if you can afford the extra calories in your diet.

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Please be sure to visit my other blogs:
Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at Your Daily Chuckle
and
Be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW
My gardening website can be viewed at gardens4u.ca

Another food intolerance

I have discovered another food intolerance, the hard way.  I have known for a while that many artificial flavors and ingredients in food items trigger bad reactions in my gastrointestinal system.  This past weekend I narrowed a particularly bad bout of stomach cramps and diarrhea down to the ingestion of red food color.

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I know it had to be the food coloring because I was very careful what I ate that day.  I hosted a baby shower for my daughter-in-law and prepared most of the food myself.  As I and a few other guests are wheat or gluten intolerant I made sure there were plenty of gluten free choices on the table.  I made my favourite gluten free biscotti, but to fancy them up for the occasion, I dipped them in white chocolate that I had tinted pink.  A few drops of red food color in the melted white chocolate resulted in a pretty pink color, perfect for the baby shower menu.  Unfortunately for me, those few drops of red food color did me in.  Because I had several of the biscotti (did I mention they are my favourite?) throughout the day, my allergic symptoms lasted much longer than they usually do.

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I don’t know which of the ingredients in the red food color (apparently red dye #40 is a common culprit)  I reacted to, but I will be avoiding any food tinted red (or pink) from now on!

 

Happy Thanksgiving to those of you celebrating today

Happy Thanksgiving to my friends and family celebrating today…

 

happy thanksgiving

If only we could set our scales back 10 pounds on Thanksgiving or any other holiday we spend with friends, family and lots (too much) of delicious food and drink.

 

On a more serious note, be sure to be thankful for what you are celebrating!

happy thanksgiving

Like this sign says, be kind, be thoughtful, be genuine, but most of all be thankful!

You know summer is over when…

You know the summer is over when your favourite french fry stop closes down for the season.  Ours is Fitz’s in Lanark, Ontario on the way to our cottage on Palmerston Lake…

 

Fitz’s has an extensive take-out menu, but our order is always the same; sweet potato fries for me, and regular fries for hubby…hot (greasy) and crispy. Yum!

 

 Today was Fitz’s last day of the season, a sign that summer is over and winter is on its way.

Are you a risk taker?

It occurred to me this past weekend that I am a bit of a risk taker.  At least when we are talking recipes.  Oh, and anything related to gardens or flowers.

I very rarely follow written recipes completely, modifying them with favorite, gluten-free, or on-hand ingredients. For family dinners I usually try out at least one new recipe, and this past (Canadian) Thanksgiving dinner was no exception.

I made the perennially favourite pumpkin pie as well as cherry and butter tarts.  Instead of apple pie or crisp,  I tried a strawberry rhubarb crisp.  My brother had commented on Facebook a while back that he was craving strawberry rhubarb pie and no one would make one for him.  As he was hosting dinner this past Sunday I took the bait.  One of my GARDENS4U clients donated the rhubarb and I had frozen strawberries on hand.  The recipe called for fresh strawberries, so I just let mine thaw on the counter before using them. I do believe the dessert was a favourite at the table; the bit that was left in the pan was scooped up by my nephew to take home for later.

 

Tired of the popular vegetable dishes this time of year too, I decided to try roasted zucchini as my vegetable contribution.  It too turned out delicious; I will definitely make it again.  I simply sliced 3 yellow and 3 green zucchini lengthwise into about 6 spears each (you could slice them into coins instead) placed them on a greased cookies sheet, drizzled them with olive oil, sprinkled them with a parmesan cheese, garlic, oregano and dried basil mixture, and baked then broiled them to perfection.  Yummy!

 

pictures from Pixabay and Pexels (forgot to take some of my own)

 

Someone asked me after I volunteered to make my daughter-in-law’s wedding bouquets if I wasn’t nervous they wouldn’t turn out.  My new daughter-in-law is wonderfully laid back.  I knew if the bouquets weren’t exactly perfect, she would not stress over it.  Otherwise, I might have been more nervous and (probably) would not have offered my services.  All five were different and definitely unique creations…

 

I consider cooking or baking and gardening to be artistic adventures, and I think most will agree that artists of any kind have to take some risk to be unique.  I guess I do tend to fly by the seat of my pants (as I call it) or like to take (some) risks, but it is (almost) always worth it!

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving

It is Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada.  We celebrate the second Monday in October, while other countries celebrate in November.  I believe the reason for that is the fact that our winters arrive sooner here, so our harvests are earlier.   Afterall, the holiday did originate as a celebration after harvest was complete.

Thanksgiving

Regardless of when you celebrate Thanksgiving, be sure to remember all the things you are grateful for.  This previous post listed the things I was grateful for two years ago.  All of these still apply, with the wonderful addition of my sons’ significant others and two (with a third one on the way) grandchildren.

With the arrival of grandchildren comes a new addition to my dining room furniture, just in time for Thanksgiving…

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