Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Homemade Buckwheat Flour :)

     

     
      I have been making baked goods like breads, cookies, and cakes from "scratch" for over 30 years.  It just seemed like the natural thing to do :)  I wanted to really know what was in those baked goods...and I loved the process.  I still do!  Over the years, I grew more knowledgeable about my ingredients.  All flours are not equal...nor are all sugars, eggs, milk, etc.  I am all about the QUALITY of the ingredients...and for good reason.  I believe that the health crisis in our country is directly related to the poor-quality food we have been consuming.  Until we turn that around, the numbers of those with chronic degenerative diseases will continue to soar.  We need to CARE about the food we are eating.
      So....I found a recipe the other day for buckwheat carrot raisin muffins.  It was in the book The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook.  The recipe explained how to make freshly ground buckwheat flour from buckwheat groats.  Hey, wait a minute!  Don't I have some of those groats in the cupboard??  (Yes, I'm kind of geeky that way.)  I'm also the owner of a Vitamix...which is a high-powered, versatile, and quite wonderful blender.  I have a special Vitamix container just for grinding nuts and seeds.  Buckwheat groats are the seeds of the gluten-free buckwheat plant.  The groats are a whole-grain and contain all the nutritious parts of the seeds....germ, bran, and endosperm.  Soooo healthy!  Buckwheat groats (and the flour it can be ground into) has a high concentration of all of the essential amino acids.  That makes it a complete protein.  It is high in iron, zinc, and selenium.  It is also a great antioxidant source.
      So....I took those groats and poured them into the special Vitamix container...whipped on the machine....and in about 20 seconds I had my fresh buckwheat flour.  I think it's amazing!  I put the muffin recipe together and produced a nutrient-dense and moist-in-the-middle muffin :)
      If you'd like the recipe...check out the RECIPE page on my website....
 
Get back to basics....your body will love you for it!



Tuesday, September 2, 2014

This nutrition geek has a new home for blogging!

Hey everyone!  I've transferred all of my website (www.nourishnutritionnow.com) blog posts over here to blogspot :)  This will be home base for all things nutrition and health for body, mind, and spirit.  There's a lot going on with NOURISH!  I'm going video very soon.  I've got the youtube channel, but no vids yet.  I can't wait to deliver my nourishing news in an audio-visual format.  I'm also going into another creative mode and begin an e-book.  I'm so ready to reach out in new ways....and to new people.  I've gotta get the word out.....your body is absolutely CRAVING the best food you can give it.  Stay tuned.....great things are just around the bend :)

Last day...best day...at Kripalu! (Original post date: 07/24/14)

Today is my last full day at Kripalu.  It turned out to be the BEST day!  In all my years of coming to Kripalu, it has been common that on the last day the entire experience jells and some kind of epiphany occurs.  I think the older I get, the more profoundly that happens.  I realize I am not sharing literal nutrition/food information in this blog; but you know that  I believe there is more to nourishment than food.  In fact, I believe that feeding the spirit is a necessary element to prepare your body to truly "take in" the food you eat and use it to your benefit.  So....today at Kripalu.....  The day began with a just-what-my-body-needed yoga class with Vandita.  Then on to a silent breakfast in the dining hall to get the day off to a meditative start.  Class from 8:30 to 11:30....where we explored building strength and flexibility.  We also ventured outside to walk the labyrinth.  Lunch was a feast of several kinds of fresh pizza and a Caeser salad.....and a WONDERFUL long talk with Teri :)  Class from 1:45 to 3:45....where we worked on balancing poses.....Sun Salutation....and ended with Yoga Nidra (yogic sleep).  No, we are not supposed to fall asleep :)   Dinner is described on Facebook....a yummy meal of Portobella mushrooms, steak fries, and whole-grain bread!  Teri and I took a walk down to the lake, waded in the water, and took in the beauty that is the Berkshires.  And here I am, in the cafĂ© at 9 PM sharing my beautiful day.  I am fed and my cup runneth over.  Blessings to all!



Wednesday at Kripalu! (Original post date: 07/23/14)

The day began with a gentle yoga class in the sanctuary.  The building that houses Kripalu (called Shadowbrook) used to be a Jesuit seminary.  The gentle class was a wonderful combination of soothing background music, poses that I had not done in a while, and beautiful poetry read by the instructor.  I got to eat a delish buckwheat pancake for breakfast :)  If you really know me, you know I love a good buckwheat pancake!  I should have taken a picture of the stellar spinach salad I had for lunch....a bit of onion, cucumber (different and very good), super-fresh spinach, and turkey bacon.  I added some free-range chicken breast.  Our program really stretched us today....no pun intended!  I held Goddess Pose for 4 minutes.  Now, that may not mean anything to you.....but it took me through a variety of emotions!  We are learning all about the joints, bones, and muscles involved in each pose that we discuss.  We are taking the poses apart, and then putting them back together....improving our skill :)  What's on the schedule for the rest of the day??  .....dinner, Kirtan (chanting and dance), and a massage at 9 PM!

Eating our way to Kripalu! (Original post date: 07/21/14)

Well, Teri Dobson and I arrived at Kripalu yesterday right before dinner!  We ate, nested a little in our room, and then went to the orientation for our program.  We took two days to drive here, and I had packed food for the trip that lasted us both days.  We stayed in a hotel on Saturday night that had a fridge, so we were able to keep our goodies cold for the next day.  I made chicken salad with almonds, cranberries, green onion, and celery.  The dressing was mayonnaise-free and made with plain yogurt, tamari, sea salt, curry powder, and lemon juice.  I also brought hummus, homemade pita chips, and some apricot almond bars.  It was my first time making the bars, and they need some tweaking and work :)  We were quite the sight at the service centers along the turnpike.....spreading out our tablecloth and pulling out our delectables from the insulated pull-along cooler bag....while everyone else around us was eating "McDelectables".  Ha! Ha!  We did have some people comment wistfully that they wished they were eating our lunch.  But now we are here at Kripalu eating fresh, whole, organic fare that we don't have to cook :)  We'll dine on the best and save our energy for yoga :)

Off to my happy place! (Original post date: 07/15/14)

I am just a few days away from making the road trip to my happy place....Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Stockbridge, Massachusetts!  My bedroom is a sea of piles.....yoga pants and tops, bathing suit, yoga mat, toiletries, etc.  I am traveling with a special friend, but I have gone solo many times in the past.  Kripalu sits on the top of a hillside in the Berkshire Mountains.  It feeds my need to get away and move my body.  It feeds my need to be in nature and experience the beauty of a different part of our country.  It also feeds my need to be fed!  The Kripalu kitchen creates whole, fresh, organic meals through the love of their staff.  They utilize locally-grown and sourced food.  I can close my eyes right now and see the dining hall, hear the murmur of voices, and smell the earthy goodness of all the choices.  Be still my Nutrition Consultant's heart :)

Fair Food (Original post date: 07/03/14)

Did I get your attention??  The 4-H Fair is taking place right now down the road from our house.  I wanted to see the farm animals and take in some fair "ambiance", so my husband and I drove on down.  Unfortunately, while we were there we got a bit hungry.  We started looking around at our choices......elephant ears....no......pizza by the slice....no.....deep-fried veggies...no....   Then we saw a sign for "Piggies and Cream".  A fairly local company was selling quality pork products and homemade ice cream.  Some young (very polite) guys were cooking and serving up the food.  I ordered a cup of butter pecan ice cream.  One of the guys had literally made the ice cream that day.  It was creamy and delicious!  Yes, I usually say no to sweets....especially those not made in my kitchen.  BUT, once in while I imbibe.  I just didn't think I'd be imbibing at the fair :)  My point in all of this is that you can find an acceptable, if not quality, food choice just about anywhere.  I prepare my own food at least 80 percent of the time.  When I'm out and about, I make conscious choices about the food I enjoy!

 

SAD (Standard American Diet) Observations (Original post date: 05/24/14)

I feel compelled to discuss some harsh realities about nutrition in our country.  I usually like to keep things light and inspirational, but I'm going to blog pretty seriously today.
I had to do some food shopping today in three different stores.  I observed many people filling their carts with sub-quality food....lots of processed, packaged items...cheap white bread products....meat full of chemicals.  I hesitate to even call it "food".  I believe that many people do not know how deleterious these items are to their health.  I believe that many people don't think they can "afford" better food.  I believe many people really don't care what they are eating....it tastes good to them, it's quick and easy....end of story.  I also believe that many people are confused...vegetarian, vegan, Paleo diet, low-fat, low-carb, high-protein, plant-based....????   I've spent decades studying, and experimenting with, a variety of diets/philosophies.  I would read a book and agree with the author, wanting to jump on board 100%.  But then I would read another book (by another author) and agree with him/her as well.  Through the years I developed my own philosophy.  It's based in part on research; but it's also based on common-sense and balance.  It's based on the fact that you and I are not completely alike.  We have different genes...we live in different environments....we have different constitutions.  It's based on the crazy idea that we are designed to eat REAL FOOD!!  I promote a WHOLE FOODS diet....full of food that is as close to its natural state as possible.  I promote high-quality food (organic or the next best thing).  I believe that until we stop dumping poor-quality food and "food-like" items into our bodies, we will continue our decent into rampant, chronic degenerative diseases.  Is some of my food vegetarian or vegan?  Yes.  Is some of my food high-quality animal protein?  Yes.  Is some of my food low-fat?  Yes...the beans, quinoa, and leafy greens I eat are low-fat.  (I do not eat, nor advise the consumption of, low-fat dairy or packaged "low-fat" items.)  Is my diet plant-based?  Yes....and I'm making a commitment to make it even more so :)   Nourishment from food does not need to be complicated, but it does need to be clean and real and of high-quality.  We all need to know what food our food ate!  That advice includes how our plant foods are fed and grown.  This IS how we prevent and reverse disease.  We need to focus on being well....optimally well.   I am determined to teach people how to do this!

 

What to do with a head of organic red cabbage.... (Original post date: 0/08/14)

I had a fresh head of organic cabbage just sitting in my fridge.   What to do?????   One whole head is usually too much for one recipe, so I decided to whip up two cabbage dishes....so to speak.  I made a quick and tasty sauted kale and cabbage dish AND I cultured the other half.  No, I did not take the other half to an opera :)   I'm actually fermenting the cabbage in my laundry room with visions of red cabbage sauerkraut in my future.  I've told you all about it on my "Recipes" page....head on over!

 

Spring!....or not..... (Original post date: 04/15/14)

Are you just as bummed as I am that we just can't seem to REALLY get to Spring?  We've waited SO long......and we've been teased.  It is now April 15th and the snow has been flying today.  Boo.....hiss!  It's so easy to get down about the weather we have contended with for the last 6 months.  It's so easy to curl up and be a couch potatoe.  Here's my remedy.....act like it's spring....pretend it's warm and sunny today.  Get outside for some fresh (albeit cold) air and exercise.  Use the grill anyway and cook up some fresh asparagus.  Wear your spring pants and thumb your nose at the temp.  (I'm wearing my light tan spring pants....with a warm vest.)  Visit a farmers' market near you.  Get out your bike....and get ready.  Spring IS coming to a city near you :)

 

Dallas Buyers Club (Original post date: 03/27/14)

Did I get your attention?  What, you ask, has the movie Dallas Buyers Club got to do with nutrition??  My husband and I watched the movie last weekend.   What a stellar movie....intriguing subject matter....superb acting.  What a surprise to find references to amino acid therapy, essential fatty acids, and whole foods.  The main character, Ron Woodroof, tried (by any means) to extend his life after being given a 30 day AIDS death sentence in 1986.  He shunned toxic pharmaceuticals and processed foods.  He used a protein serum and took essential fatty acids (omega-3 fatty acids, for one).  He lived for 7 more years....amazing!  Real food....essential nutrients....staying away from toxins....brilliant :)

Clear the Clutter.... (Original post date: 02/16/14)

I was recently surprised with a new book from a wonderful friend!  It is called Your Spacious Self: Clear the Clutter and Discover Who You Are by Stephanie Bennett Vogt.  In a nutshell, it is about combining the ancient wisdom of space clearing with the more-modern wisdom of clutter clearing in order to create a spaciousness of body, mind, and spirit.  Space clearing is part of the art of feng shui, and its purpose is to clear and revitalize energies in buildings (spaces).  "Stuck" energies can be cleared through ceremonial activities, such as clapping and belling.  Clutter clearing is done to prepare for space clearing.  Through the process of clutter clearing, one may clear mental, emotional, and spiritual clutter as the physical "stuff" is removed.  Think about that.....haven't you ever done something as simple as cleaning out a drawer....and your mind and spirit were lifted?   Well...here's my segway to nutrition......
You may feel that your diet is "cluttered" with foods your body does not need or want.  You may feel that your fridge and pantry are literally cluttered with food options that do not truly nourish you.  Your mind may be "cluttered" and overwhelmed by the tasks of planning, shopping, and preparing meals.  My advice for you today would be to breathe, slow down, and begin with baby steps.  No matter what kind of tangible or sensed clutter....start simply.  Eliminate ONE food from your diet that you know in your heart is not nourishing you.  Remove ONE item from the pantry that is the MOST processed.  Plan ONE SIMPLE NOURISHING MEAL....and then thoroughly enjoy the process of preparing and eating it :)
I have not finished the book yet, but I am anxious to discover the route to my most spacious self.  I plan to enjoy the journey!
Reference:  www.spaceclearing.com

Get up...get out...get moving! (Original post date: 01/01/14)

I wanted to call this blog post "Shake Your Bootie", but I didn't want to offend anyone :)  I DID want to get your attention.  I am positive that body movement is crucial for the health of your body, mind, and spirit.  It's easy (around these parts at this time of the year) to stay inside and forgo the walks.  It's easy to become unmotivated.  The gloomy days can really do a number on your energy and mood.  But the thing you are avoiding is the very thing that can recharge your entire being!
Yesterday was a cold day.  There wasn't a lot of snow on the ground, but the streets in my subdivision were packed down pretty good.  You couldn't see the bare street.  It was early afternoon and the sun was trying to shine.  I had seen them in the basement.  I had to move them away from a minor plumbing leak.  I looked for the boots and then brought it all upstairs.  I found the warm hiking socks and the long underwear.  I tried on the snow pants.....and they still fit!  I put on a thick turtleneck sweater and got out the blue and cream 80's sweater still hiding in my dresser.  Out I went...all 57 years of me....to cross-country ski.  I saw it as an opportunity to get my sea legs back.  I hadn't skied in at least 8 years.  I skied around the cul de sac to get my footing....and then I took off onto the main street.  It felt SO good!   The movement....the air....the brisk temperature.  My body warmed up quickly.  I swear I heard my heart say "thank you".   I felt good the entire rest of the day.  If winter cooperates, I will definitely be taking these skis to St. Patrick's Park (or someplace similar) for a real tour.  I got up...I got out...and I got moving.  I declare 2014 as the Year of Movement!   I don't want to lose it, so I WILL use it :)
 

High Protein Snackin' (Original post date: 11/15/13)

I've been conducting a snack experiment for the last couple of weeks.  Let me explain....  This year I've taken a part-time job as a preschool assistant teacher.  I'm working with 4 and 5 year old children in a pre-kindergarten class.  The lead teacher and I have noticed  (as all teachers notice) that the children's behavior, attention, and participation fluctuates from morning to morning.  Some exhibit those changes more dramatically than others.  We often ask: "What did you have for breakfast this morning?"  The answers are usually carbohydrate foods that are highly refined and processed.....frozen waffles, donuts, cold cereal....  Some students do mention fruit or eggs.  So I decided to bring a high-protein morning snack every Friday for a month.  Today was the 3rd Friday in the experiment.  The purpose of the experiment is to observe any evidence that this high-protein snack calms and focuses the children by balancing blood sugar.  And yes, we have seen evidence that behavior and attention  improved for the remainder of the morning after the snack.  I started with  almond butter, honey, protein powder, and hempseed snack balls.  The second week was peanut butter, honey, hemp oil, brown rice crisps balls.  Today we enjoyed oat flour, peanut butter, protein powder, banana, and chocolate baked bars.  The kids named these bars "chumpsies" ???  If nothing else, they have learned to try and enjoy something different...something that doesn't come in a wrapped package with an expiration date of 2050!  Scoot on over to my Recipes page for the oat flour baked bar recipe :)

Fall, Food, and Family (Original post date: 10/0/13)

Hello to everyone!  I haven't blogged in quite some time.  The last couple of months have been crazy busy, but good.  My 85 (almost 86) year-old mother sold her home and bought a condo just one block from ours.  She is all settled in.... and her cat Chloe is acclimated to the new digs.  One of the reasons I wanted her close (and not 30 minutes away) was the chance for spontaneous meals together.  Tonight was a prime example.  It rained steadily all day, ending in late afternoon.  Then the sun came out.  It ended up being a lovely fall evening.  My husband was thrilled that he would be able to grill the pork tenderloin for supper.  He had plans to sautĂ© onion, garlic, mushrooms, and poblano peppers.  I put together a butternut squash and apple casserole, as  well as a pan of seasoned Brussels sprouts.  Then....why not call mom to join us for dinner?!  I caught her before she had eaten, and she was thrilled to walk over for dinner.  We enjoyed a scrumptious fall supper and good conversation.  After the dishes were done, I walked her home.  THIS is the very kind of Sunday evening that I had envisioned when I was encouraging my mother to sell her house and move closer.  Quality food shared with family nourishes us in so many ways.  Our bodies are made stronger and our hearts are warmed.  I urge you to make time for home cooked food shared with family and friends!

Exploring Ayurveda (Original post date: 08/23/13)

Have you ever heard of the traditional Indian medicine system called Ayurveda?  If you've read any of Deepak Chopra's books, you may be familiar with the philosophy.  Ayurveda is translated as the "knowledge of life".  Some refer to it as the "science of life", and it has been in existence for over 5,000 years.  To anyone (Indian or not) who follows Auyrvedic practices, it is more than a system of medicine....it is India's gift as a guide to life.  One's temperament and physical characteristics are classified into three categories called doshas.  Each dosha is balanced by diet and lifestyle habits.  Some of those habits are universal across the three doshas.  I have been practicing two of those universal habits on a daily basis for the last couple of months.
First of all, I have been drinking an 8 ounce glass of warm lemon water first thing in the morning.  I am using fresh, organic lemons.  You only need 1/2 of a small lemon for the water.  Lemons are rich in immune-boosting vitamin C, as well as potassium for regulating blood pressure.  Lemons are an alkaline food (once they have been ingested), which helps to regulate your pH....keeping your body systems in balance!  The warm water stimulates your GI tract, aiding in digestion and elimination.  This beverage also functions as a gentle diuretic.  Perhaps the most important aspect of warm lemon water is its capacity to aid your body in detoxification.
The second Ayurvedic practice that I have been trying is dry skin brushing.  I purchased a long-handled stiff-bristled brush at the health food store.  I imagine any store with a decent cosmetics department would have these.  Before I get into the shower (and with the brush dry, NOT wet) I begin dry brushing my body starting at my feet.  I brush up my feet, calves, and thighs.  I brush up my buttocks and back, then up from my belly to my chest.  I outstretch my arms and brush from my hands, up my arms, and over my shoulders.  I brush up my back  to my neck.  All of these motions are moving up my body and toward my heart.  Then I finish by brushing  from my shoulders down toward my heart.  Dry skin brushing stimulates my lymph system.  Lymph does not circulate on its own like blood.  It needs stimulation and movement to circulate and benefit our bodies.  Exercise, yoga, massage, and dry skin brushing move the lymph!  It's very stimulating and invigorating :)
Ayurveda is quite complex in its totality, but these simple practices can give you a taste of this ancient Indian science of life!

The Blendin' of the Greens (Original post date: 07/08/13)

No....I am not Irish....or Scottish :)    I have, however, recently been exploring the world of green drinks!  I have greens of some kind everyday.....in a salad....on a wrap....in my protein breakfast smoothie....steamed up with garlic and pine nuts.....   I could go on and on.  But I had not made a habit of having a devoted green drink every day.  I have done some juicing in the past, but these new drinks are blended.  I didn't want just the juice of the veggies and fruits, I wanted as much of the whole food as possible.  So I started simple with a raw kale and mango drink.  It's so easy!  I am blessed to have a wonderful Vita Mix blender.  I believe that any heavy duty blender would do the job....or maybe one of those Nutri Bullets that has been advertised on TV.  I'm usually anti-infomercial, but David Wolfe (spokesperson for the Nutri Bullet) is knowledgeable and "walks the talk".  He's an expert on the raw foods lifestyle.  So find yourself a reliable blender and start blending some greens.  You're going to break down the fibers in the veggies and fruits.....releasing enzymatic activity and setting free nutrients!  The fruit neutralizes the sometimes strong flavors of the greens.  Be sure to drink your greens immediately after blending!  Green drinks are alkalinizing to your system....balancing out the highly acidic Standard American Diet (SAD).  Head on over to my recipes page for some green inspiration.  You may also want to check out Green for Life and Green Smoothie Revolution by Victoria Boutenko.

My Thoughts on "Making Do" (Original post date: 0/1/13)

I am in the middle of preparing food to take over to my oldest daughter's in-laws.  They have invited us over to celebrate Father's Day!  I've got a strawberry-rhubarb crisp in the oven, and I'm about ready to put together a cold quinoa salad with green onions, almond slices, dried cranberries, and an apricot/honey vinaigrette.  I had rhubarb in the freezer, so I pulled that out to thaw yesterday.  I needed 4 cups of the rhubarb (according to the recipe), but it turned out that I had less.  I did have enough strawberries to make up the difference in volume of fruit.  I "made do".  Now, this is not the same kind of "making do" that my dad had to contend with when he was growing up.  I bring him up because it IS Father's Day.  I no longer have my dad (in this physical world) to buy a gift for, but I am thinking of him today and wishing him a blessed Father's Day.  He was a child during the depression, and then he went on to serve his country in the Navy during WW II.  He grew up in a large family with limited resources.  If he wanted something for himself, he had to go out and earn the money for it.  I have a memory of my dad eating pudding out of a dessert bowl.  He would scrape and scrape the bowl to get every last bit.  When you're a hungry, growing boy and there isn't much food to go around, you don't waste anything....and you don't complain about what is put in front of you.  My husband and I have been raiding the fridge and freezer lately, using up food that has been waiting there too long.  I might have a taste for something else, but I'm trying NOT to waste....or spend more money when I really don't need to.  I has been amazing!  Our weekly grocery bill has dropped significantly.  I realize that, eventually, we will run out of what has been stock-piled.  But until then, we are "making do"....using what we have....and getting mighty creative in the process.   What to have with chicken breasts?  Pasta in the pantry, salad dressing, and cut-up veggies leftover from my camping trip with my daughter and grandchildren.  There is always SOMETHING around to combine into a meal.  We are all so lucky to have SO MUCH!  And if you know of someone who isn't as blessed as you are.....share a meal with them!  HAPPY FATHER'S DAY :)

Morning Energy (Original post date: 0/14/13)

I've been conducting a little experiment with myself and breakfast lately.  It has to do with what I eat (no surprises there!) and my energy and satiety (fancy word for feeling full or satisfied :) ).  It seems that breakfast meat of some kind helps in that department, but I'd really like to get away from depending on that.  For some reason, eggs don't satisfy me for the whole morning.  Oatmeal tastes great, but an hour later I'm wondering if I ever ate!
I've been investigating quinoa (pronounced /keen-wah/) recently, for a client and my newsletter.  Quinoa is the South American seed that cooks up like rice.  It can be used as a breakfast porridge and as a substitute for rice or pasta in hot and cold dishes.  It sounds impressive on paper, but I needed to put it to the test.  In the last couple of weeks I have enjoyed quinoa for breakfast about 5 times.  I've added some almond milk, walnuts, hemp seeds, berries, and a pat of butter to the cooked quinoa.  [The fat in the butter helps my body to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins in the food.]  I've been eating between one to one and a half cups of quinoa at about 7:30 in the morning.  Guess what??   I got busy after breakfast.....time passed....and before I knew it, it was 11:30 or 12:00.  I've had good energy .....and no hunger pangs at 9:30 AM!  I wanted to try the quinoa on several different days just to make sure it wasn't a fluke.  It has been a consistently satisfying and energizing breakfast food.  I've roughly calculated that between the quinoa, walnuts, almond milk, and hemp seeds.....I'm getting 18 grams of protein!  That's a quite satisfactory amount of nutrient-packed protein.  The walnuts and hemp seeds are providing fat, but the much-needed omega-3 fatty acids that are SO beneficial!  When I look at my lowly bowl of quinoa, it's hard to believe it can deliver so much satisfaction, nutrition, and energy.....but it does!

A Spring Walk Sweeter Than Dessert (Original post date: 04/04/13)

After a superb supper (that included Swiss chard, edamame, and sweet potato fries), I   went for a walk in my subdivision.  Finally, it was warm enough to go without my winter coat, gloves, and earmuffs!  Winter has taken forever to leave town here in northern Indiana.  I decided to consciously pay attention to the outdoor sounds as I walked in the early evening sunlight.  I heard a variety of birdsongs coming from the trees in the yards I passed.  Not knowing their languages, I can only guess they were saying: "It's about time for warmth and sunshine!"  Several robins with puffed-out chests were literally hopping across the still-dormant grass.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something flash around a house.  It was a fat bunny with a huge white tail.  A father was walking with two small dogs on leashes and his two-year-old son.  An elderly neighbor was taking his bike out for the first time this year.   Everything I heard and saw said: "Alive!"   Nourishment takes many forms.  We need to eat, drink, breathe, and move.  Tonight I needed the nourishment of the sounds of Spring...sounds sweeter than dessert :)

Sneaking in the veggies...OR...how I nourish my grandchildren! (Original post date: 03/0/13)

I may have a love of all things green that are edible, but not everyone feels that way!  Children are often turned-off by green veggies.  My grandchildren like a lot of veggies, but there are still some they shun.  So I get creative, and a tad bit sneaky, and I HIDE them in foods they will eat.  I definitely let them know what veggie is in the food, and they are usually very suprised that _________(insert veggie name) is in the dish.  For instance: I made zucchini brownies this last weekend for my Indianapolis grandkids.  They've had them before and liked them.  They're very chocolatey and moist, and no one can believe there is grated zucchini in amongst the flour, cocoa, eggs, sucanat (sweetener), and vanilla.  I believe that because they know a veggie is in the brownies (and they like the brownies), they will be more likely to try something else with veggies.  **Scoot on over to my Recipe page for the zucchini brownie recipe!
I also made some freezer pops that consisted of 2 ripe avocadoes, 1 ripe banana, the juice of one lime, 1 cup of filtered water, and a dash of sea salt.  I combined and blended all these ingredients into my Vita Mix blender.  I then poured the mixture into 5 oz. cups with a popsicle stick in the middle.  Into the freezer they went for 24 hours.  What do you know.....they like those too :)
An old sneaky standby is always dark leafy greens pulverized in the blender with milk, berries, honey......whatever.  The drink still looks green, but the flavor is definitely fruity and sweet.
These ideas are just the tip of the sneaky iceberg!

What I had for dinner tonight..... (Original post date: 02/03/13)

This blog post could easily have been in my "Recipes" section, but I couldn't help share what I had to eat tonight and how it made me feel!  I had organic Swiss chard in the fridge that I needed to use.  Looking around, I saw a fresh, organic Fuji apple.  Then I remembered some dried cherries sitting in the pantry.  Here's what I did.....
I washed 4 large chard leaves and then removed the middle ribs and the stems.  I rolled the leaves and cut each roll into ribbons.  I cut three-quarters of the apple into small cubes. ( I ate the other quarter of the apple while I was chopping:) )  I squeezed the juice from half an organic lemon onto the apple cubes.  This kept the apple from browning and it also tamed the innate bitterness of the chard.
I put a low flame under my skillet, and after a few minutes I added 1 tablespoon of organic olive oil.  I then sauteed the chard ribbons until they were wilted and bright green, adding a dash of sea salt at the end.  I used two wooden spoons to toss the chard.
I threw in the apples and tossed and sauteed them for about 1 minute.  Then I added in 1/4 cup of dried cherries.  Dried cranberries would make a nice substitute.  I tossed all of the ingredients a bit more to soften the cherries and blend all the flavors.  My final addition was a spritz of balsamic vinegar....just a bit.
I ate the whole lot of it....yummy good:)  Some of you may be thinking.....chard....greens....I don't think so.   Let me tell you, greens prepared in creative ways can turn you into a believer!  Dark leafy greens have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.  They provide minerals that help alkalize our systems.  Nuts added in (pine nuts or almonds) give the dish a protein and healthy fat boost.  Call me a nutrition nerd, but I just feel good knowing I am giving my body something healthful!  The bonus is that it tasted great!  I have been adding leafy greens to my diet at least once a day.  The other day I topped a bed of chard with a poached egg.  I have noticed an increase in my energy level after a meal with greens.
Give it a try......experiment.....add ingredients that you enjoy.....fruit, nuts, seasonings.....let me know what you think!

The flu got me fired up! (Original post date: 01/16/13)

I am a very recent victim of this flu epidemic we are having.  I should have seen it coming....in fact, I did see it coming.  I was exposed (at close range) at a time when my defenses were low.  The holidays were especially busy and stressful this year.  I thoroughly enjoyed everything I did, but I was worn out when the flu came a knockin'.  I was not prepared in body, mind, or spirit :( .  Now I am fired up to build up my body and become VIBRANT again.   That word vibrant came up today as I sat with my business/life coach.  Why settle for just feeling "okay" when we can be VIBRANT?  I truly believe that we can nourish ourselves into vibrant health.  We cannot, however, do this while ingesting the Standard American Diet.....SAD.   Of the daily calories an average American (on this SAD diet) consumes, only 3% are from fruits and only 5% are from vegetables.  The majority of calories come from flour and cereal products, added fats (mostly cooking oils), and added sugars.   We cannot live vibrantly on flour, poor-quality fats, and sugar!   The energy to live life to its fullest comes from quality foods full of energy.  Bring it on!

Welcome Winter Solstice! (Original post date: 12/21/12)

Today is December 21st....the first day of Winter....Winter Solstice!  The longest night is upon us.  A shift begins, leading us into shorter nights and a new season.  I'm looking out at newly-fallen wet snow from my northern Indiana home.  The wind is strong today, and the trees are swaying against a grey sky.  It's time to look back at 2012 and look forward into 2013.  It's time to bundle up and warm our bodies and spirits.  It's time for cups of tea and bowls of soup.  May you all be nourished with hearty and healthy food.  May you all be nourished by time spent in contemplation, and by time spent with those you love.
Blessings!

Happy Thanksgiving...and thoughts for the busy holiday season (Original post date: 11/22/12)

Happy Thanksgiving to all!  I'm grateful for family, friends, good food...... and the privilege of being able to send this message out into the cyber-world to YOU!   It's a busy time of the year, and we are all capable of letting self-care take a backseat.  I think that I'm too busy to make time for my healthy lifestyle habits of walking, practicing yoga, or going to the gym.  So Friday morning is yoga with my dearest friend Teri.  I'm so tempted to not go....because I have lots and lots to DO!   Yet I know that, in the long run, I will benefit from giving myself permission to go.  Everything that needs to be done will get done.....and I will be calmer and healthier and happier as a result.  So tonight I'm going to spend 2 hours watching The Homecoming (the movie that launched The Waltons).....and tomorrow morning I'll drive over to Ray of Light Holistic Health and spend an hour and fifteen minutes getting in touch with my body, mind, and spirit.  Be kind to yourself this holiday season!

Wheat-free for half a month! (Original post date: 10/17/12)

I have been (virtually!) wheat-free for half a month!  The Serenity Sisters have really been making concerted efforts during this challenge.   However......I was eating baked, boneless Buffalo wings with my grandchildren when my husband gently reminded me that the wings had probably been battered with wheat flour!  One of my Serenity Sisters spent the night at her daughter's house, only to be presented with an egg-bake for breakfast the next morning.  She was so proud of the fact that she declined the toast......but it took her 2 days to realize that there was bread in the egg-bake!  Another Sister's husband was preparing a box mix of red beans and rice for her.  He noticed wheat flour in the spice mix.  We are all trying to be "good"!
What I really want to talk about today is how I am feeling, and why it may take a while to reap the benefits of being wheat-free.  Truthfully, I am not feeling like "OMG, I'm totally transformed and full of energy!"  I AM, however, feeling less bloated and bogged down.  (Ladies in the audience....you know what I mean!)  My blood sugar seems more stable, and I am thinking more clearly.  I have not felt deprived, nor have I had any cravings for thick slabs of bread.  It's been rather fun to get creative (in a wheat-free kind of way) with meals and snacks.  Scoot on over to my Recipes page for some simple wheat-free changes.  I do believe that I would realize even more benefits if I chose to remain wheat-free for a long period of time.  Let me tell you why.......
By eliminating wheat, I am really reducing the simple carbohydrates I consume.  I'm not eating bread (which Dr. Davis tells us can really spike the blood sugar.....even the whole grain varieties), cake, pie, cookies, pizza......you get the picture!  I was reading today about hypoglycemia (sudden and/or significant drop in blood sugar) and how it can be healed with a ketogenic diet.   This type of diet restricts carbohydrates so that your body burns stored fat instead of carbs for fuel.  The ideal ketogenic diet is comprised of whole foods (my mantra!) repleat with healthy fats, a moderate amount of protein, and lots of non-starchy veggies.  There is a time lag of several weeks, within my body, from using carbs for fuel and burning fat stores.  Once my body catches up with the program,  I will really notice the benefits of less glucose and less insulin in my bloodstream....which translates into minimal spikes and drops.   I am NOT advocating eliminating carbs.....just a careful evolution into food choices that will optimally nourish my brain, my heart, and the rest of me!   The saga continues......
Source: "Hypoglycemia: Heal with a Ketogenic Diet" by Ellen Davis from Well Being Journal, November/December 2012.


Wheat-ectomy in October (Original post date: 10/01/12)

A few months ago I read the book Wheat Belly by William Davis (a cardiologist in Wisconsin).  I was so surprised and intriqued by his information about the composition and consequences of today's wheat that I decided to share his knowledge and theory with my women's group --the Serenity Sisters.  Dr. Davis has discovered (through observation, personal experience, and research) that today's wheat is a modified version of wheat from a mere 50 years ago.  This modified wheat, by hybridization and genetic engineering, contains less protein and more of the gluten that triggers Celiac Disease.  It also contains a carbohydrate component that is quickly converted into glucose (blood sugar) and absorbed into the bloodstream.  Elevations in blood glucose lead to high insulin levels in the body.....and that equals  glucose being stored as fat.  So...Dr. Davis firmly believes that modern wheat is a direct culprit leading to fat storage (especially around the waist)........a.k.a.  Wheat Belly.
I shared information from the book over a period of several weeks.  We had great discussions about the changes in wheat (and changes in many other foods), our personal experiences to limiting wheat, and our addictive reactions to foods made with wheat.
Breads....brownies....rolls.....dumplings......noodles..........wheat is everywhere.......to say nothing of wheat-ish substances in processed foods.  So my dear "sisters" agreed to go completely wheat-free for the month of October.....and then report back regarding how they felt physically, emotionally, and mentally.   We begin today....with a total wheat-ectomy!  We are going to think outside of the bread-box as we feed ourselves and our families.  I will be posting more frequently in the next month to keep you updated and to share HOW we are doing this.  Check out the upcoming RECIPES and NOURISHING NUGGETS on this site for information about cooking and living wheat-free.  Bon Appetit without the wheat!

Land of Goshen (Original post date: 09/13/12)

Happy Thursday!  I want this blog to be a peek into the NOURISHING aspects of my life....family, friends, food, movement, nature, music, time alone....whatever "feeds" my soul.  Today I drove to Goshen, Indiana to eat and relax at one of my favorite coffee houses--Electric Brew.  I don't even like coffee, but I go there for fresh food and the atmosphere of the fine old building.  The choices are few in number, but they are always tasty.  I ordered a salad with greens and crunchy veggies, along with a chicken, potato, and corn soup.  I opted for their chunky homemade oatmeal bread and only ate half of what I was served.  (I'm working toward eliminating wheat temporarily, as I've just finished reading the book Wheat Belly....it's a bit of an experiment.....more about that later!)  Back to the Brew.....I love to watch the people coming and going.  Goshen is a college town, so there are always students and professors busy in study or conversation.  It's a place for moms and babies, business people on their lunch break, and visitors from out of town like myself.  After lunch, I HAD to do some shopping at Maple City Market!  I'll leave that description for another day.  Farewell, Goshen....for now.