Sunday, September 4, 2016

Now This

It was good to find these big 48 oz jugs of kombucha at Whole Foods the other day.  I love the way this fermented tea picks up my energy level late in the afternoon, but because of the slight sugar content, I limit the frequency of this otherwise healthy treat.  Another good reason to limit the frequency is the price tag for the smaller bottles -- around $4-$5 each.  48 oz for around $9 is better.  This'll last me a while.  I'm not drinking out of the bottle, so bacteria won't be competing with the good probiotic bugs in this brew.  The first glass did taste a little different than I'm used to, but I think it's because the "mother" had settled to the bottom.  I'll try gently turning or swirling this bottle before my next serving.

I'll never forget the first time I ever tried one of these bottled kombuchas -- it was the green variety.  Seeing the sediment on the bottom, I shook it vigorously before opening it.  Fellow kombucha drinkers will know the result already -- dark green probiotic potion all over myself and the room.  When it comes to this fermented concoction, "swirled, not shaken" is the way to go.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Giving In to a Craving

Yes, I backslid yesterday.  I wanted veggies and BEANS so I ate them.  As a former vegan, I think it's really still in my wiring.  I still want food like this, and there's no problem with eating veggies, in addition to other high quality proteins I now must include for the health of my neurology, but beans are a no-no.  Why?  apparently legumes are considered "anti-nutrients".  They are powerhouses of protein and fiber, but they bond with vital minerals and leach them from our bodies.  For most folks a little less copper, iron, manganese or zinc is fine, but not for me.  I'm now eating to feed mitochondria in an effort to strengthen the healthy function of the immune system and to calm the malfunction that occurs during an MS exacerbation.  over 20 years from diagnosis now, I need to take this seriously.

Dairy has been off my diet since 2010, and gluten has been greatly reduced.  Both of these are detrimental to the health of mitochondria too.

I did give in to the craving this time, but if I supply enough healthy minerals I'll hopefully offset this lapse.  As with anything else, it comes down to what we do on a regular basis when trying to effect a change.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Simply Veg

This baby bok choy side dish last night was so easy and delicious.  I cut two bbchoys in lengthwise quarters then threw 'em into a big bowl of water for a minute.  It's easier to clean tightly layered veggies such as cabbage, leeks, etc. after you open those layers.  While the bbchoy was soaking,  I sauteed half a chopped onion in coconut oil and a little olive oil then added the drained veggies at medium-high heat for two minutes, and finally one lightly chopped garlic clove before I took it off the heat, letting it all sit, covered, for another minute.  Garlic burns quickly, so I always add it last.

From crisper to plate, this dish took five minutes.  Think you don't have time to prepare fresh veggies?  Think again!

Monday, July 25, 2016

A Word About Nightshades

I've been looking over some of my old writing and found the following blogpost, originally published on "Functional Food 4 Thought" the blog of Atlanta Functional Medicine.  I realized it might be helpful information for those of us who lead with veggies, so am sharing it today.

A Word About Nightshades

Mmm -- a fresh garden harvest. Enjoy with caution, veggie-lovers!

I know, I was just telling you about how adding more fresh, organic vegetables to your diet will cure many ills, but as you clean up your act you may begin to notice subtle differences in how individual foods make you feel. A system laden with the sludge of dairy, sugars, white carbohydrates and processed foods will not be sensitive enough to notice these subtleties. A cleaner system is not addled and numb. The effects of foods are immediately apparent, not delayed as in the sluggish system of someone eating the processed diet. It behooves each of us to be observant diners -- to be present in the moment and understand the effects of our nourishment.

A few years ago I was a novice gardener, so I gravitated toward hardier plants -- the ones which seem to thrive on neglect and seldom get eaten by garden marauders. As I began to clean up my own diet, I noticed a certain uncomfortable feeling on my tongue when eating eggplants which were only lightly cooked. Then I began thinking about how the eggplants in the garden, unlike the green beans, weren't nibbled by critters -- not even a little bit. So I did some research.

Eggplants are part of the nightshade family, the members of which are poisonous in varying degrees! The nightshades contain alkaloids which taste bad to animals, thus ensuring the plants' survival. Obviously, these veggies do not contain enough "poison" to kill you, even if eaten in large quantities, but they do have enough to make you sick, if you have a sensitivity, or to exacerbate certain existing conditions. Cooking the vegetables thoroughly serves to break down many of the offending alkaloids. The effects of nightshade alkaloids vary from person to person. Generally they've been found to cause disturbances in nerve-muscle function, joint function and digestion. If you suffer from arthritis, try limiting your nightshade intake and see if you notice a difference. Besides eggplants, the nightshade family includes tomatoes, potatoes (not sweet potatoes, which aren't even related to potatoes), peppers, tobacco, morning glory and belladonna, among others. The amounts of alkaloids in the nightshades vary from species to species, the worst likely being belladonna which is deadly, and one of the least being the tomato. An interesting side note: Thomas Jefferson deemed the tomato, unknown at the time, the "poisonous love apple" since he noticed it was eschewed by native Americans.

Of course adding more vegetables to our diets is important for overall health. Today's post is about fine-tuning. Your doctors at Atlanta Functional Medicine are familiar with the effects of food allergies and sensitivities and can work with you personally to discover what's best for you, and then you can make an informed choice. Vegetables from the nightshade family may or may not be tolerable for your system. If you are able to tolerate them, they're still better than a slab of baby back ribs!
by Cheryl Salinas
Previously published at Functional Food 4 Thought