So, What Can You Eat?!

I have heard this so many times and gotten some very interesting reactions when I give people the short version of the answer to ‘what can you eat?’  Some people want to know more so they can eat like me, some of them give me an annoyed look accompanied by a ‘so that’s why you’re skinny’ as if my diet and health are a personal affront to them.  To many, my diet sounds so limited, how can it be healthy they want to know.  Don’t you feel deprived? Yes and no.  I eat a lot of vegetables, nuts, seeds and healthy oils from plants.  I don’t miss cake or sweets, I know it’s hard to believe but I really don’t.  I used to get the worst sugar cravings, caused by eating way too much sugar and not enough protein. I was definitely a sugar addict and there’s no way I’m going back!

One of my clients recently told me that sugar and white flour act like rust in your body.  Her arthritis and constant headaches have disappeared along with the refined whites in her diet.   Aside from getting the rust out of my body, I love how much more I can taste now, especially the natural sweetness in things like carrots and coconut. One thing’s for sure, eating a different diet than what most people eat has been challenging socially and personally but when it comes to my health, I’ve never felt better. To answer the question of what I eat a little more thoroughly, here’s a look at my food journal from last Friday.

I pretty much always have a breakfast shake when I get up in the morning along with a big cup of mate tea.  I use stevia for sweetness and almond milk in both.  When I take my supplements and tinctures in the morning I have a handful of almonds and a shot of Fire Cider, without honey.

Picking lettuce from our garden to make lunch!

For lunch, Dana and I picked lettuce from our garden: red sails, romaine, arugula, amaranth and black seeded simpson.  I mixed up a mustard vinegrette, added goat cheese and tossed it all togther.  An awesome first meal from our garden!

First garden salad: amaranth, arugula, black seeded simpson and red sails in balsamic mustard vinaigrette with fresh goat cheese.

For dinner I made a small pork chop which I bought from a local farm.  I cooked the chard that our friends brought us from their garden with onion, oil, a few seasonings and topped it with tosted pepitas.  I had fizzy water with aloe vera juice, lime, ginger and stevia to drink.

Mostly veggies with a small pork chop au poivre and spicy mustard.

I always snack on nuts during the day and may have had a carrot with peanut butter and a few squares of dark chocolate too.   I’ll have water and iced tea during the day and that’s pretty much it.   I feel full after meals, I do get cravings but these days it’s usually for things my body really needs, like dandelion greens or extra protein.  It’s amazing the difference eating the right food for your body and lifestyle can make.  Changing your diet takes work and dedication but it’s really worth it!

Watering the newly planted tomato that Hari and Ingrid brought us while the horses play in the pasture.

Back to Basics: Green Soup

Green soup with sriracha, mmmm!

I’m really looking forward to my workshop, ‘Food as Medicine’, that I am preparing for the Women’s Wellness Weekend at Becket-Chimney Corners.  I have been thinking a lot about which foods are truly medicinal for me.  When I’m not feeling well there are certain foods that always make me feel good, especially when my Candida is getting out of balance because of too much stress, too little sleep or hormonal fluctuations.  I realized that my go to Green Soup recipe is at the top of my good for me foods list.  And I have not been eating it! It’s so important to eat the foods that best support a healthy you and I think it’s time to incorporate Green Soup back into my diet.

This is the soup I ate while recovering from Candida, it’s very low in carbohydrates, very high in fiber, vitamins and minerals and easy to digest.   Green Soup goes really well with all sorts of herbs and spices that encourage a healthy internal balance.  It’s basically an immune boosting multi-vitamin you can eat as often as you like.   A few servings a week is about the right dose for me, enough to keep me healthy but not so much that I’ll be bored to tears eating it all the time.  It freezes well so I can make a big batch, put it into single serving containers in the freezer and take one out when I need it.  It’s very helpful for me to have some meals planned in advance that require only that I heat and eat.  If I don’t plan anything ahead I sometimes end up making less than awesome choices.  Here’s my basic recipe for Green Soup along with a few heat and eat serving suggestions so that you can customize the flavor of the soup.  This is very important as far as getting medicinal doses of different spices and herbs as well as keeping you and your taste buds happy!

Green Soup ingredients: leeks, kale, zucchini, broccoli, jalapeno and garlic.

Green Soup ingredients: leeks, kale, zucchini, broccoli, jalapeno and garlic.

Ingredients:

4-6 Tablespoons of olive oil or coconut oil  (this is the only significant source of calories in the whole recipe so don’t be shy!)

3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped or pressed

1 jalapeño, chopped.  Add more or less or none at all.  I used a whole one and still added spice to the finished soup.

3-4 large leeks, white/light green parts only, sliced thin in half moons

3-4 medium zucchinis, chopped into roughly 1 inch cubes

Veggie broth, about 4-6 cups

1 bunch of spinach or kale (I used kale today and really like the flavor!)

1 bunch of broccoli chopped into bite sized pieces.

*A note about broccoli:  My grandmother, who was a young girl during the great depression, explained to me that broccoli stems are for eating.  I often peel them and grate them up with cabbage when I make coleslaw.  Today I peeled the rough bits towards the end, chopped them up small and added them in with the rest of the broccoli.  Unless you are going to feed the stems to your farm animals or add them to your worm bin, please consider eating them!!

The Procedure

Over low-medium heat in a large, heavy bottomed soup pan add your oil, garlic, jalapeño and leeks, sprinkle with salt and cook, stirring occasionally until the leeks are wilted and soft.

Sautéing leeks, garlic and jalapeno in olive oil.

Next, add in all the zucchini and keep on sautéing until the zucchini is soft.  About 8-10 minutes.

Add in the veggie broth, about 4+ cups to start with.  Honestly I never measure, I just pour water from the kettle and add a few of those handy broth concentrate packets from Trader Joe’s.  You can add more broth for a thinner soup but I prefer mine thick and more like stew.  Get the broth hot by turning the heat up to medium.

After you have added all the veggies adjust the broth so that the veggies are barely covered.

As soon as the broth is hot add in the broccoli and kale/spinach and cook until just tender.  DO NOT overcook the broccoli, over done broccoli is not awesome and a whole pot of over done broccoli soup will not get eaten.  I know because I have done just that and it was sad.

Remove from heat, use a wand blender or regular blender (make sure to vent the blender!!) to puree the soup.  Adjust for salt and add more broth if you want.

Now you have basic Green Soup.  I like to portion mine out into large servings, the soup is really low in calories so be generous with portion size!  Keep some in the fridge and some in the freezer for later in the week.

This is all the soup I had left over plus the big bowl I ate for lunch!

Variations….they are limitless but here are a few to start:

When you want to re-heat refrigerated or frozen soup, start with a tablespoon of oil in a pan large enough for the soup.  Heat up your spices over medium-low heat until they are fragrant and then add the soup and heat til it’s warm.  Add fresh or dried herbs at the end.

*another note: I think microwaves are weird and I don’t trust them so that’s why my instructions are always for the stove top.

Italian style: fennel, cumin, chili flakes, more garlic in olive oil.   Then basil, parsley and oregano to the warmed soup.

Curry: your favorite curry powder mix in coconut oil, heat then add coconut milk with the soup.  Add cilantro and or parsley at the end.

Sautee mushrooms in butter with salt and black pepper.  Add the soup and mix together.

Top with a dollop of unsweetened greek yogurt, or goat cheese,  this is especially great on spicy green soup.

You can eat this soup cold, like a green gazpacho, just add cilantro and parsley, a splash of vinegar and hot sauce.

Today I added some sriracha and about 2 teaspoons of raw apple cider vinegar directly into my soup bowl for a tangy, spicy flavor.  There are more variations, I will post them as I try them out.

Please post your own suggestions and favorites!

The Original Green Goddess

I love green goddess dressing.  I first encountered it while working in the Kirpalu kitchen as a teenager.  It was that job that lead me to a vegetarian diet.  There were so many great things to eat, including big salads topped with goddess dressing, that I didn’t miss eating animals at all.  This recipe was created by chef Philip Roemer at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco.

He came up with the recipe in 1923 for a banquet at the hotel honoring actor George Arliss, the lead in William Archer’s play “The Green Goddess.”  Here’s the original recipe, along with some tips for making it awesome!

Green Goddess Dressing gets some of it's color from Vitamin C rich Parsley

The secrets

Tarragon: There’s a double dose of this herb, not only from the fresh leaves, which when mixed with parsley gives the dressing a vivid green color, but in the vinegar that’s flavored with the herb.

The greens: Escarole, romaine and chicory are strong-flavored greens that complement and stand up to the bold flavor of the dressing.

Wooden bowl: The salad should be tossed in a wooden bowl, which is rubbed with garlic before the greens and dressing are added; giving just a fresh hint of garlic.

Green Goddess Dressing

Makes 4 generous cups

There are many versions of Green Goddess dressing, including some that call for avocado, additional herbs and different vinegars. This is the original version from San Francisco’s Palace Hotel chef Philip Roemer.

  • 8 to 10 anchovy fillets
  • 1 green onion
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • 2 tablespoons minced tarragon
  • 3 cups prepared mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup tarragon vinegar
  • 1/2 cup finely snipped chives
  • — Romaine
  • — Escarole
  • — Chicory
  • 2 peeled garlic cloves, smashed
  • — Chicken, crab or shrimp, optional garnish

Instructions: Mince anchovies with green onion; transfer to a bowl. Add parsley, tarragon, mayonnaise, tarragon vinegar and chives; mix well. The dressing can be made ahead.

Just before serving, clean and cut romaine, escarole and chicory into bite-size pieces. Rub a wooden bowl with the garlic cloves, then add greens and toss with enough dressing to coat. If desired, garnish with chicken, crab or shrimp.

Any extra dressing – which can also be used as a dip for raw vegetables – will keep for up to a week.

Per tablespoon: 77 calories, 0 g protein, 0 g carbohydrate, 8 g fat (1 g saturated), 6 mg cholesterol, 79 mg sodium, 0 g fiber.

If you want to see the original post, you can find it HERE! Written by Michael Bauer,  The (San Fran) Chronicle’s restaurant critic. E-mail him at mbauer@sfchronicle.com, and go to insidescoopsf.com to read his blog.

Also, if you are interested in reading about experiments with a plant based diet you should read THIS blog post.  Just goes to show that more and more ‘average American’s’ are adopting a healthier, more planet friendly diet and seeing huge benefits from doing so!

 

A Great Detox Plan From An Excellent Doctor

My brother stopped by my house yesterday to pick up some supplements I had for him and he asked me about detoxing.  Did I know of a good way to do it and how should he start?  I remembered that Dr. Vincent Pedre, my primary care doctor in Manhattan, had recently written an excellent detox plan that I wanted to try.  What I like about Dr. Pedre’s plan it is that it focuses on simple foods, mostly vegetables, rather than having you fast or take supplements.  The whole point is to give your body the rest it needs and to strip out all of the major illness causing foods/liquids from your diet.  This cleanse is like hitting the reset button but gently and in a way that will allow you, in fact Dr. Pedre encourages you, to continue to exercise and go about your daily routine.  This is something you can start at anytime with minimal disruption.  No excuses!

My suggestion for those of you with Candida imbalances is to skip the fruit and grains for breakfast and instead have a coconut milk and hemp powder shake.  Use organic coconut milk, it has anti-Candida properties and will give you lasting fullness and energy similar to grains. I like Nutiva Hemp Powder, the high fiber will help you eliminate toxins and the high protein content will give you energy.

 

Vegetables for Detoxing!

 

Another thing you may want to try when you detox is to keep a journal.  Write down what you eat, when, how much and how you feel.  A food journal can be a great tool for discovering which foods make you feel great and which ones you should cut out.  It can also help you stick with the program and get some perspective on your relationship with food.  You will notice patterns that will help you figure out how you can use your diet to create the kind of health you so richly deserve!

I’m going to do the detox with my brother and I will keep a food journal too.  I’ll post an update soon after we start!

The NO SUGAR Experiment

Want to try an experiment? Sure you do!

Try eliminating sugar from your diet for a day or two. Carbohydrates break down into simple sugars during digestion so white sugar, bread, potatoes, even fruit are all forms of sugar. See if you notice a difference in the way you feel after 24 – 48 hours without sugar.

Ok, that sounds nice, but what the heck am I supposed to eat?!

Think green veggie omelet for breakfast, a big green salad with fish, beans or tofu for lunch (watch out for low fat dressings, stick with oil and vinegar) and green veggies with your favorite form of protein, like broccoli with chicken (organic, local, of course) and unsweetened peanut sauce.  Have nuts or unsweetened yogurt as a snack between meals.

You’ll notice how difficult it is to avoid sugar, it’s in almost every food product out there!  You’ll have to read labels, be aware of what you are eating and skip the packaged stuff. Try it for a day or two and post your observations!!