Friday, January 25, 2008

food sensitivities

Sorry that I haven't posted in so long. I have a list of things to talk about, I just haven't been in a very wordy mood lately, I guess.

For a long time I had some skin issues that I just could not get rid of. The doctors were no help and I was growing very frustrated. I'm talking years of these issues. No lotions or potions made any difference.

So, my chiropractor/nutritionist at the time offered a blood test that determined what food sensitivities a person had. It claimed that food sensitivities could be behind a number of symptoms including stomach upset, headache, dizziness, rashes and more. So I decided to go for it in the hopes that maybe something I was eating was behind my problem.

The test wasn't cheap, but they take the blood and expose it somehow to fifty different foods. It doesn't measure allergies. Those produce a histamine reaction and people usually know right away when they have a true allergy. Sensitivities on the other hand cause more insidious symptoms that may not occur until several days after the offending food is consumed, so a link isn't always obvious.

So, when the results came back I was given a list of things that tested positive for sensitivity. It was a longer list than I would have liked. The top thing on my list -- the worst offender -- was yeast. My list also included chocolate, cabbage, pork, tuna, tomatoes, millet, cane sugar, wheat, and more. So, after getting the results I had to eliminate all of the listed foods from my diet for ninety days. Then, I had to add just one at a time, eating some for three meals in a row and then stopping it again for four days. During those four days I had to be alert to any symptoms I might have. Then do the same thing with another food.

Well, it turns out that most of the things on the list really do cause symptoms of some kind. The ones toward the bottom of the list, like beef and wheat, don't bother me too much. But if I eat yeast, my skin problem comes back. It's gone otherwise! I also get bloated, gassy and tired when I eat yeast.

Chocolate seems to make me dizzy. Pork gives me gas. Etc. So, I have learned to live without most of the things on my list. I would not have thought it possible when I first got the test results back, but I have.

I miss those foods, though. My hubby is probably tired of hearing me longingly say, "I miss chocolate. I miss pizza. I miss bread."

But it's been a very good experience for me because I am not one to deny myself anything I want usually. I've had to learn how to do that, and it's been good for me. In all kinds of ways!

Recently, I've lost ten pounds for no reason and the only thing I can think of is because I've not been eating those foods, (for the most part). Weight loss is one of the claims they make. Plus, how can I not lose weight when I can't eat chocolate or bread!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


I always read labels, now.
I look first of all to see if any of the fat is trans-fat. And I don't just look at the box that gives grams. I go straight to the ingredients to see if there is any hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fat in there. Because they can put it in and if it is less than a certain amount, they can say zero trans-fats. It may be a very small amount, but that stuff builds up in your system, so I just stay away from it completely.

I look then to see what the sugar is. Is it high fructose corn syrup? Is it refined sugar? If I'm going to buy something with cane sugar in it, I try to have it at least be unprocessed, like cane syrup. Better yet, I look for things sweetened with fruit juice or honey.

If it's sweetened with cane sugar, I also look up in the other box to see how many grams of sugar per serving. I personally don't even look at the calorie box or fat count. I care more about what the source of the calories is and what kind of fat it is.

You may care about other things like salt content or maybe you do care about how much fat there is. We all have different concerns.

When I am buying something like cereal or a frozen pizza, I look to see how many ingredients there are. Some lists go on and on! Next time you are at the store, grab a frozen pizza, and then grab a Tombstone pizza. Tombstone has very few ingredients by comparison. It is made of the things that a pizza should be made of : flour, yeast, salt, cheese, tomatoes, etc. The other pizza will have a huge list of things you don't even recognize!

Some of the things listed are vitamins and things like that. You could look some of the things up on line. Other things are preservatives and additives and junk and fake stuff.

I think label reading is a good habit to get into. It takes some more time, but at least you will know what you are eating.

Monday, January 14, 2008

makeover monday

Here's a recipe I've had for awhile that I got from my sis. It's very good. And I don't even like meatballs. But these I can pig out on.
I have made some changes to the recipe to cut the sugar content and make them healthier.
Here's the original recipe and I've put my changes in parenthesis.

Julie’s Meatballs

3 lbs ground beef (I use bison. It's leaner and always hormone/antibiotic free. But use the best hamburger you can buy)
12 oz evaporated milk (you can use skim, do they make skim evaporated milk?)
2 cups oats ( good for you! fiber.)
2 eggs ( I have no problem with eggs, but if you do, just use whites)
½ cup chopped onion
½ tsp. Garlic powder
2 tsp. Salt
½ tsp pepper
2 tsp chili powder (onions and spices, good for you!)

2 c Catsup (here, I just switched to regular tomato sauce and they still turn out very sweet.)
1 c brown sugar (Use Succanat, it tastes like brown sugar, but isn't processed)
½ tsp liquid smoke ( I have no idea what this is. A bunch of chemicals, I guess. But it wouldn't taste right without it)
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ c chopped onion (more garlic and onion! Kill those germs in your system!)

Make walnut sized balls, mix sauce and pour over balls. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Makes approx 80 balls.

Friday, January 11, 2008

just fish

Robin asked about fish. I LOVE fish. It has been a favorite as long as I can remember. When I was a little girl, I always chose fish at the Cafeteria restaurant.
I personally don't care if my fish tastes strong, I love it. I have never tried a type of fish that I don't like.
But I think this recipe would be very good! After the recipe, keep reading, I have more to say.
This by the way is from the Whole Foods site, again.

Cod Poached in Tomato-Tarragon Sauce

A flavorful sauce of tomatoes, tarragon and a touch of orange juice makes a delicate companion to cod. Serve with rice or pasta.

Serves 4 to 6

2 tablespoons butter
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup fish stock or chicken stock
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 1/2 pounds cod fillets, cut into 4 or 6 pieces
sea salt, to taste
ground pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons orange juice
Chopped fresh tarragon or parsley

Heat butter in a large, deep skillet over medium-low heat. Add shallot and cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add white wine, increase heat to medium and cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Add fish stock, tomatoes and tarragon. Bring sauce to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook 10 minutes. Season fish with salt and pepper. Add fish to skillet, spooning tomatoes on top. Cover and simmer until fish can be flaked and is fully opaque, about 10 to 15 minutes. With a slotted spatula, transfer fish pieces to a platter.
Add orange juice to skillet. Simmer sauce, uncovered, over medium heat for 10 minutes to reduce slightly. Taste sauce and adjust seasoning. Spoon over fish and garnish with fresh tarragon or parsley.
Nutrition Info
Per serving (About 13.5oz/384g-wt.): 250 calories (60 from fat), 6g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 34g protein, 13g total carbohydrate (3g dietary fiber, 6g sugar), 85mg cholesterol, 530mg sodium

My husband who does not particularly like fish likes Orange Roughy and Mahi-Mahi. They would both be good types for you to try if you also don't like fishy fish.
As far as mercury goes, all fish have some, but the bigger the fish, the more it has because the big fish eat all those little fish and the mercury content from all those little fish adds up. So, while I love shark and swordfish, those are the type that should be eaten very rarely.
Here is a government site giving the mercury values found in different types of fish.

I prefer wild caught to farmed fish. While I like the idea of farmed fish because it renews the resource, I have read too much about farmed fish being more polluted than wild fish. A man at the seafood counter told me that the study that says that was funded by fishermen who catch wild fish, so the study was in their favor. I don't know. You can make your own choice. I personally look for wild caught and get it when I can.

I like to just sear my fish in a skillet with a bit of olive oil or butter. I like it broiled or grilled. I seldom use actual recipes, I prefer it straight. Although Trout Almondine is one of my favorites!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

recipes and flax and fish

Another idea for recipes is that you can send in recipes that you like and together we can see how we can make them more healthy. You can e mail them to me at keep 1 hope at comcast dot net.

Robin has asked about flax seeds. See the comment section of the last post.
I have done the flax seed thing and just found it to be too big of a hassle. They are good for you and here is a good site to read all about them. But you have to grind them for your body to be able to access the nutrients and it's just a pain IMO. They taste ok, though. I did flax oil for a while and I just dipped my bread in it like olive oil. I like the flavor. But fish oil has the same good fats in it that flax has and they are more readily available to the body.

So, that's my take on flax. Its good for you and recommend using either that or taking fish oil capsules.

FYI, some people have trouble with fishy breath and burps from fish oil. I've never experienced that.

chicken nuggets

My kids love this recipe:

Crunchy Homemade Chicken Nuggets
This recipe is perfect for teaching young children how to cook. You do the cutting, and help the kids do the rest. (Make sure they wash their hands thoroughly after handling raw chicken!)
4 Servings
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, rinsed and patted dry with paper towels
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
3 cups crushed corn flakes
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
vegetable or olive oil for spraying pan
plastic or paper bag
Pre-heat the oven to 375°F. Slice chicken breasts into 2-inch strips. Marinate chicken pieces in yogurt for one hour or up to 24 hours, refrigerated.
Prepare the crunchy crust by combining the corn flakes, parsley, salt and pepper in a bowl. Place corn flake mixture in a plastic or paper bag. Drop chicken, a few pieces at a time, into the bag and shake thoroughly to completely coat. Remove chicken pieces from bag, shaking excess mixture from each piece. Place coated chicken pieces on a sheet pan lightly sprayed with oil.
Bake for about 25 minutes or until crunchy on the outside and cooked through. Serve with dipping sauces.
Nutrition Info
Per Serving (190g-wt.): 260 calories (30 from fat), 3.5g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 1g dietary fiber, 30g protein, 26g carbohydrate, 65mg cholesterol, 900mg sodium

At health food stores and maybe some regular stores you can get cornflakes that contain no sugar or corn syrup. They are sweetened with grape juice. I like to use those.

I got this at Whole Foods. They have a lot of great recipes. Some of them have unusual or expensive ingredients, but many of them use ingredients that are on hand.


I have all kinds of recipes and cookbooks. Stevia cooking, low-fat cooking, whole foods cooking, vegetarian cooking, juice and smoothies and more.
Would you like me to share recipes? And if so, what kind would you like? Give me your requests and I will see what I can do.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Stop drinking your calories

I think the number one thing people could do to lose some weight is to stop drinking calories.

Ever notice how people are drinking all the time? Pop, sweetened teas, juice type drinks like Snapple, always something. Now it's coffee. But not just coffee – it's liquid dessert.

A 12 oz can of pop has 136 calories. 33 grams of sugar. How many do you drink per day?

A Caffe Vanilla Frappuccino Grande size has 430 calories. 60 grams of sugar.

A Cappuccino Grande has only 120 and 10 sugars.

Pumpkin Spice Latte has 380 and 49 sugars.

Just so you know.

If you take in 500 less calories per day, you can lose a pound per week.

Do you drink four cans of pop per day? Most people don't drink cans anymore they drink those bigger bottles.

How many Starbucks' goodies do you have per day?

Ok, so maybe you love this stuff too much to give it up. I'm just saying. Stop drinking your calories and you can probably lose weight with just that one change.

Now, there is nothing wrong with an occasional pop or coffee treat. But make it a treat. Back to the post on tasting the food. If you get a white chocolate mocha something, savor it. Enjoy it. Make it satisfying. Same with the pop. We tend to drink pop like water, especially with meals. These days I seldom drink it, but when I do, I make it last and I also have water with my meal and drink the water for thirst and the pop for flavor.

So, there's something for you to think about.


Sunday, January 6, 2008


I am finishing up a stomach bug here, I hope!

Anyway, Robin asked about cleanses.
The only one I've done was a yeast cleanse.
Let me explain from the beginning.
We all have bacteria and yeast that grow in our gut. I call it my "garden". The proper name is intestinal flora. There should be more of the good bacteria than there is of the bad stuff. The good flora strengthens your immunity, insures good bowel health, provides proper absorption of nutrients and who knows what else.
In this age though, we do a lot that kills off the good flora. Because they are bacteria they can be called biotics. So, when you take antibiotics, you kill off all biotics; the ones that are making you sick, as well as the ones that are your friends. The drug doesn't know the difference. But the yeast is not killed by antibiotics. It is usually kept in check by the good flora, but now that it is all gone, the yeast thrives. It takes over the gut.
Sugar, food aditives and other things also destroy these bacteria.
I grew up on antibiotics. I took them several times a year, I'm sure. Every year. Until I was 24. So, how much good stuff did I have left, I wonder?
I developed IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome. I also had many symptoms of yeast overgrowth. Overwhelming fatigue for one. IBS, for another.
So, when I started trying to become healthy in alternative ways, I started doing a yeast cleanse. I found the rules online and took some products from my health food store. I think this really helped make headway in the situation. Then when I started seeing the nutritionist, she gave me clearer direction and also some better supplements. Her diet was actually less restrictive than the one I had been trying to follow.
The diet generally prohibits any kind of sugar including fruit and simple carbs. In prohibits anything containing yeast, alcohol, and mushrooms. She told me just to stay away from sugars including fruits.
Anyway, I think it really helped, although lately I've been thinking that maybe I need to do it again.
I can't remember the cost, although the money I saved by not eating all that junk probably paid for the cleanse.
I think I did a liver cleanse through my nutritionist, too, but I don't remember much about that. It was just some supplements.
I have heard from various sources that the Metagenics cleanse is excellent. My nutritionist had this as well, but I didn't do it. I know people who have and had great results. I don't know the cost, though.

Back to the yeast thing. One easy thing you can do to help get your "garden" in balance is to take probiotics. They are the good bacteria that you need. They come in pill, or liquid form. You can get a few in yogurt, but not enough to make a difference. Acidophilus is one that you've probably heard of, but there are hundreds of different good bacteria and yeast that we need. So I switch from brand to brand every time to get enough variety.

Friday, January 4, 2008

taste your food

Maybe you've heard of or even done the Weigh Down diet. I did. It had some good principles.

There is a book called French Women Don't Get Fat. It is a good book and you should read it.

The basic premise is similar to one of Weigh Down's principles. Taste your food. Enjoy it. Relish it. Savor it. If it isn't wonderful, don't eat it.

Did you see Ratatouille? The critic said "I love food. If I don't love it, I don't swallow."

And the rat said to his brother, "Don't just pork it down!"

Good advice.

I read an article by a lady who was being taught the same thing. Really taste your food. Think about it instead of just shoveling it in. And so she contemplated one of the potato chips she had been scarfing and realized that that it was rancid, too greasy, too salty and stale. She didn't even actually like it.

How much food do you eat that you don't even really love? Sometimes, I know, you have to eat what's available. But most of the time we have a lot of choice in what we eat.

The book (French Women) gave chocolate as an example. Put a small bite in your mouth and let it melt on your tongue. Roll it around in your mouth. Think about the saltiness, the sweetness, the bitterness, the texture. I found that when I do this, I can take one small bite of dark chocolate and get a huge amount of satisfaction from it. Then I don't feel like I want to eat a half pound at once.

So, today, try to really taste everything you put in your mouth. Except maybe your vitamins. But, you know, food. Think about it. Is it worth it? Is it worth the calories? You may find that you really like things you didn't think you did, (like dark chocolate) and that maybe you don't really like things you tend to pig out on, (like potato chips).

I need to do this, too. It certainly hasn't become habit with me. I still tend to eat without thinking and enjoying. I know that I eat a lot more this way, too.

Let me know what you discover. Let me know what you think.

And if you get a chance to read that book, tell me your impression of it as well.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


The ultimate answer to my gallbladder problem, other than avoiding the trans fats, was supplements. I got frustrated with all of the information on line and finally found a nutritionist to guide me. She had me take beet green supplements that cleared the problem right up. I don't have to take them anymore. Only if I have a flair-up and I only have a flair-up when I eat trans fats.
Now, I want to point out that the ultrasound didn't show any stones. If you have gallbladder problems, then consider trying what I did, but keep in mind that what works for one may not work for another. Although, my nutritionist did tell me that she had never seen a patient that did not have good results with that particular supplement.

Now I take fish oil, Borage oil (supposed to be good for skin), Evening Primrose Oil (saved me from PMS), multi-vit, extra B complex, SAM-e (for depression, sleep, and arthritis), calcium and magnesium.
Sometimes when my stomach hurts I take DGL which is from the licorice root. It coats the stomach and heals it. Like natural Pepto-Bismol.

I also take something else that I will tell you about in a separate post.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


My hubby has started a juice fast. He's done this before and had pretty good results. We have a juicer and he drinks nothing but fresh juices and water for a certain time. I'm not sure how long he's planning to do it. He loses weight, naturally, but it also clears out all of his cravings and cleanses the body.
I don't want to do it.
But, I do like juicing. When I was really sick with my gallbladder trouble, my stomach also got really bad. I think it was irritated from the other problem, somehow. But I couldn't eat anything. Not a cracker, not jello, not rice, broth, anything. It gave me a tummy ache. So the friend who gave me suggestions told me to start juicing.
So, every morning I made juice of carrots, beet, cucumber and apple. The beet helps thin the bile and the other stuff is just good for you. You know, it actually tastes really good. And it helped very quickly. I started feeling better within a couple of days.
I don't juice much anymore, but now that my hubby is doing it, I've been drinking more. I really would like to do it each morning. I feel very good when I do.
It can be expensive because the juicers are expensive. But I found one brand new online for $30 or $60, I can't remember. But either price is great for a juicer and it works very well. Its a *Krups brand. Buying the large amounts of organic produce isn't cheap, either, but if you're only drinking juice once per day, it isn't so bad.
And my hubby ate out everyday for lunch, so buying these veggies isn't costing us any more than we were spending, anyway.
*edited to correct the brand name of the juicer.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

delicious recipe

Curried Yogurt Chicken

1 cup plain yogurt,
½ cup coconut milk
¼ cup fresh cilantro, ( I used 1/8 cup dried)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lime rind
1 Tablespoon curry powder
Black pepper
2 lb chicken pieces

Combine all ingredients except chicken. Put chicken in a shallow glass dish and cover with mixture, making sure all pieces are covered. Cover dish with plastic wrap and let marinate for several hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

Remove chicken from marinade. Place chicken in shallow baking pan. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes.