• 22Oct

    The low carb craze has generated many an interesting recipe. The latest I ran across is a cake using black beans to replace the flour. Now, I’m not into low carb so much as I am always looking for alternatives to wheat.
    Why avoid wheat you say?
    Well, there is research out there that suggests some people can not tolerate wheat. For these people, eating wheat can cause allergic reactions and other ailments such as arthritis and headaches.  Read more about wheat at the
    Weston A. Price Foundation website.
    In any case, reducing heavily refined products such as bleached white flour is not a bad idea for anyone.
    So how about a chocolate cake with no flour? It’s made by whirling up whole black beans, almond meal, eggs, cocoa, sucanat, baking powder and a bit of butter in a blender and baking. I tried it out today and I have to say it was quite yummy. I didn’t feel guilty after having this ‘bean’ cake either since there was actually some nutritional value to this tasty afternoon treat. Much better for the kiddies as they won’t get that ultra refined carb roller coaster ride and instead have a bit of protein for a more even supply of energy.
    I need to make a few adjustments to the recipe as I thought it was a tad dry. After that I think I’ll try and make a carrot cake using adzuki beans as the base. Or how about a white bean blueberry crumb cake…or a pinto bean lemon poppy seed muffin? 

  • 17Oct

    I enrolled in a Holistic health program a month ago and am studying heavily this weekend for a quiz on Tuesday (yes, writing this blog entry is a form of procrastination.) The foundation for the program I am in is “Eating for Health.” Appropriate isn’t it? – given my love of food and eating.  

    The “Eating for Health” model is founded on the principle that we can feed our body’s nutritional needs with high quality, nutrient rich foods. If we do, then we will be able to live a long and healthy life. Makes sense to me. In the ideal world, all we would need to do to maintain our health is to eat a varied diet of high quality whole foods. The need to down pills to fix this ailment or that would be vastly reduced. The need to fill up on synthesized vitamins and minerals would be left only to those who choose to ignore their body’s call for say broccoli and instead indulge in mint chocolate chip ice cream (Hey, it’s green!)  

    Alas, most of us have been in this battlefield of life – bombarded and compromised by pollutants, toxins, food additives & preservatives, insecticides, herbicides, antibiotics and growth hormones. Not to mention the stresses of everyday living – all these things take their toll. To top it off, we are then lured by advertisers that say we really do need those artificially flavored blueberry Shrek fruit rolls. Some things we didn’t know about and some we willingly let in – all these foreign substances that open us up to illnesses or allow our ‘bad’ genes to spring to life.  

    As I pondered and studied it hit me – a sort of mystical “woo woo” feeling came over me. Sitting in front of my computer, surrounded by notes, I felt this sudden connection to nature. Wow, we are a part of nature not apart from nature. Get this – Nature provides the ‘perfect’ vehicles for our survival in the whole foods around us. Through our disconnect – our, oh so busy lives – we have forgotten to listen to our bodies, trust in the instinct that tells us what particular nutrient rich food we need in this moment. 

    Furthermore, where does this need to control and make our food supply ‘safer’ come from? Why do we feel the need to douse our food with chemicals, play with its genetic material, pump it up with synthetic growth hormones, pummel it with microwaves, fumigate it with noxious gases and figure out ways to make food last longer than the average human life? Is it through man’s arrogance and ignorance that we shun the simplicity of nature – that it’s already here in all it’s perfection – that we just need to be still and listen. How have we allowed ourselves to squander these gifts of nature? Have we succumbed to the dark side? Does it always have to do with greed? Big corporations working in concert – mega food conglomerates, chemical manufacturers, biotech companies, agribusiness, pharmaceuticals, the medical establishment. They all feed on each other – heck, they all feed on us! Turning our flesh and blood into corporate profits. Holy Cow! I’m depressed…Quick – get me some St. John’s Wort!  

    Thank goodness there are options – you know there are always options. We can choose to make changes. If we just start taking those small steps in the right direction, we can create a new paradigm for ourselves, our families and our communities.  

    Here are some things I’ve done over the past month. As my budget has allowed, I’ve incorporated more locally grown organic foods into my diet. I’m preparing more whole grains, eating a lot more seaweed, sprinkling ground flax seeds on fruit or green salads or fried rice or whatever. I’m cutting back on refined foods, sugar and processed foods – oh no my cereal… And, I’ve stopped using the microwave to heat up my food. Has it made a difference? I think so, time will tell as I starve the bad habits and feed the good. I’m learning to listen to what my body needs rather than what it wants – trying to choose the healthy alternative. There are many more changes to come, that is for sure!  

    Jeez, how’s this for procrastinating…back to studying…

  • 06Oct

    Many of us are trying to make better choices in our diets. I’m currently enrolled in a nutrition program and the subject of wild or farmed fish came up. So what’s better? I guess it just depends…what I learned is that there is more to each point of view than simple blanket statements. To make a choice, we have to put in a bit of thought and educate ourselves.
    Yes, I suppose ‘wild’ may be better but you have to check that the fish is not on a seafood watch list that indicates that particular species is overfished. You can find this information online at various sites such as the
    Monterey Bay Aquarium.  But then, you do still have to worry about fish from polluted waters that may be contaminated with mercury or pesticides.  What’s the alternative?
    So what about ‘farmed?’ Our instructor brought up a good point here…there are farms with good practices and there are farms with bad practices. Gosh, there sure is…so don’t lump all farmed fish into the same basket. Chickens are raised on farms after all and we can make a good choice by buying organic or free range chicken so why not with fish?
    ‘Wild’ or ‘Farmed?’ It just depends…for myself I only buy fish from a reputable fish market – a market who’s staff can tell you exactly where the fish is from. And I do try to read up on what’s on the “Best Choice” list from the Monterey Aquarium site. I do prefer wild fish for the flavor but recently tried an organically fed salmon and it was good. 

    My instructor’s feeling is that one to two servings of fish a week is more beneficial than detrimental to your health as long as the fish is from a good source.
    What are the benefits of fish? Fish is a great source of protein, fish is low in saturated fat, fish from cold ocean waters are high in Omega 3 fatty acids which the typical diet is severely lacking, and fish is a good source for trace minerals. One caveat is that the farmed fish may not have significant amounts of Omega 3’s depending on their diet – some farmed fish are fed a lot of grains along with fish meal where as wild salmon eat other fish.
    So with a bit of knowledge you can go out there and enjoy a few servings of fish a week without harm.