Nourish Your Body
With Fabulous Homemade Food

Taking a Break

I’m taking a break from this blog to work on writing a book about how I’m eating now.

I wrote about this at the beginning of the year in A New Way to Eat.

So many of you have asked for this, that I just need to take the time to make the transition now.

Let me write the book so I can give you the logic and instructions and then I’ll resume the recipes.

See you soon!

Debra 🙂

Valentine Strawberry Acai Bowl

 

I live in a resort town in Florida that has a top-rated beach. It’s not the trendiest place, but a few months ago a small place open that sells acai bowls. It’s on a main street, so I noticed it, but had no idea what an acai bowl was. I had never heard of it.

Finally a couple of weeks ago Larry and I went in to find out. And I fell in love.

Acai berries come from the Amazon. In fact, the origin story for indigenous tribe says the entire Amazon was born of a single seed of Acai. Often called the Kind of Superfoods, this purple berry is full of antioxidants (which repair the damage done to your body by toxic chemicals), healthy omegas and other vital nutrients—and the berry contains no sugar. Yes, zero grams of sugar.

When I first saw the sign, I looked up “acai bowl” online and found a recipe made from powdered acai. This place used frozen organic whole acai berry puree. That was more interesting to me.

In the shop, they blend the acai puree with frozen fruits of various types—like making a smoothie, but with less liquid so it’s more like soft-serve ice cream—then they pour it in a bowl and top with fresh fruits, granola, and other various toppings. So it’s like eating an ice cream sundae except it’s all made of fruit (and granola).

For me, the price was too high for every day ($8) and the granola too sweet, so I decided to make my own at home.

. I found the frozen acai puree at Whole Foods and Costco, and could make four acai bowls for less than the price of one at the shop. Sambazon have various blends, but I just buy the pure unsweetened.

You can really mix this with any frozen fruit and top it with anything you want. I just top with fresh fruit at home and a sprinkle of bee pollen and a drizzle of honey. I leave off the granola.

I created an acai bowl for Valentine’s Day as a sweet alternative to all the usual Valentine gifts. Serve it for breakfast or dessert. It’s delicious.

After taking the photo I put the bowl in the freezer while I downloaded the photo, just in case I needed to take another photo. And it got very nicely icy around the edges in about 10 minutes. I can see myself eating these cold bowls all summer.

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Probiotic Kisses

I’m a big fan of eating fermented foods for probiotics instead of taking pure probiotic capsules, so I was pleased to see this post for Valentine’s Day that kissing transfers probiotics from one body to another.

A team of Dutch researchers found that the bacteria on the tongue of each member of the kissing couples was very similar to their partner’s and nothing like the bacteria on a stranger’s tongue. The more they kissed, the more similar it became.

They also did another test where they gave each participants a probiotic yogurt drink with a marker bacteria, then asked the couple to kiss. They found that a single kiss that lasted 10 second can deposit 80 million of the special marker bacteria from one tongue to another.

Apparently even if one half of the couple eats fermented foods, the other half gets the benefits.

Nature must really want our bodies to have probiotics.

Journal of Microbiome

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The BEST Black Bean Brownies

My friend Linda gave me this recipe for black bean brownies about five years ago. I made them, loved them, and lost the recipe.

Last week I was going through old recipes, removing recipes for foods I no longer eat, and found this recipe.

Since it’s almost Valentine’s Day I have to share it with you, and also because when I couldn’t find this recipe, I tried other black bean brownie recipes and none of them were as good as this one. THIS IS THE ONE TO MAKE if you want brownies!

A friend of mine came over tonight so I made them to just double-test the recipe and take the photo. I didn’t tell her what was in them. She loved them and asked what type of flour I used.
“No flour,” I said. She couldn’t believe it.

They really have a cake-like brownie texture.

If you don’t want to use butter, you could make them completely vegan with coconut oil. I haven’t tried it but let me know if you do.

You could add anything you want to these brownies. I think Larry would love them with walnuts and raisins 🙂

These freeze really well and thaw in about ten minutes, so you don’t need to eat them all at once.

Larry LOVES these and your Valentine will love them too!

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Garden Vegetable Garbanzo Crackers

Even though I told you in my last post everything is changing and I’m working on an ebook with a new way of eating, I wanted to give you this recipe this week. It’s totally perfect for what is coming.

I was walking through my local natural food store last and they had a free sample of a recipe, you know, a recipe that uses different ingredients you can buy at the store.

It was a “quiche” made from garbanzo beans (chickpeas) instead of eggs. It was so delicious that I had to bring the recipe home and try it.

Instead of whole beans , this recipe uses Bob’s Red Mill Garbanzo Bean Flour , which is an amazing ingredient. You can just cook it up like cornmeal mush and eat it like hot cereal for breakfast, but it has a lot more protein. Lots more uses that I will tell you about in future posts.

But, alas, the recipe didn’t turn out at home as it did in the store. The mixture just didn’t cook through.

In an attempt to save this delicious concoction, I mashed it flat on a sheet pan and tried to dry it out in the oven. That was better. but still not quite right. But even so, I left it sitting on top of the stove and Larry and I kept eating it throughout the day because it tasted so good.

What we wanted was to turn it into crackers. So I did just that and it was perfect!’

I’m always looking for crispy things to eat that don’t have a lot of fat or salt or refined ingredients.

These crackers are easy to make and delicious.

NOTE: This recipe contains no salt because I’m not adding salt to my food at the moment. So if you want these cracker to be salty, sprinkle salt on top to suit your taste. I love them even without salt. I’m also thinking that I will try other seasonings on these crackers, such as a yummy organic salt-free taco seasoning I get in the bulk spice section of my local natural food store.

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What I Observed About How Food Can Affect My Body

 

As you may already know, I’ve been eating in a new way for the last couple of months. Because of this change in diet, I’ve lost about 30 pounds, my blood sugar has come down about 100 points and I’ve been doing a good job at maintaining that loss, even over the holidays and while traveling.

I haven’t been as strict on the diet as I was for two months, and have been allowing myself to wander off of it, in part as an experiment to see what would happen.

Last weekend it so happened that I had the opportunity to have a free buffet lunch at a hotel. And then in the evening I went to a concert where there was a whole buffet of hot appetizers and desserts. And so I did an experiment and ate whatever I wanted. Yes, sugar, wheat, fried foods—all the things I usually don’t eat.

The result was I got a really bad headache, gained 5 pounds and my blood sugar went up 50 points! And three days later suddenly my gums started bleeding!

Fortunately, two days on my good diet brought everything back to where I was the day before I ate these foods.

But I learned something.

A lot of these foods were foods I used to eat, back when I “couldn’t control” my weight and blood sugar.  I now see that weight and blood sugar can be controlled if you know what to eat.

And also, just seeing the variety of symptoms that popped up after only one day of being off my good diet. Wow! How many people are eating these foods and having these symptoms and taking drugs instead of changing their diet?

I’ll be telling you about my new diet soon. I don’t want to give it to you until I can give you all the instructions so you can have success with it. I’m working on that.

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Try Something Different: Interesting New Foods


Baby San Marzano tomatoes over a mix of brown Jasmine and brown Volcano rice, with green onions

 

Maybe it’s just a shift in my own awareness, but I’ve noticed over the past couple of months that there are many new foods available that I’ve never seen before.

This started about a month ago when I went to a movie near our local Whole Foods. Larry and I don’t usually shop at Whole Foods because it’s not the closest natural food store and prices are higher, but when we’re in the neighborhood we’ll buy a few things we can’t get elsewhere. So we went in a after the movie and found organic parsley roots! This is actually the root of the parsley plant and comes with the parsley on top. You can fix them in many ways, but I just ate them raw and they were delicious!

That same week we found organic Okinawa purple sweet potatoes at our usual natural food store. They were delicious so the next time we went shopping we tried organic white Murasaki sweet potatoes, which were divine. Read about the nutrition content of these sweet potatoes vs the orange variety.

Then shopping over the weekend we found Volcano Rice (Lotus Foods) which is grown on volcanic soil and so has a lot of minerals not usually found in foods. This rice is nutty, all different shades of brown, and so nutrient dense that I can only eat about a tablespoon at a time. So I mix it with my standard organic brown Jasmine rice and it’s wonderful.

Also this weekend we found fresh baby San Marzano tomatoes at Trader Joe’s. San Marzano is the prized Italian tomato from which all canned Italian tomatoes and pasta sauces are made. The flavor is amazing. But I don’t buy canned food because of BPA linings so I was thrilled to find fresh San Marzano tomatoes.

And also a Trader Joe’s organic heirloom Navel oranges.

There is such a bounty of fresh wholesome organic foods available now in so many places, every meal can be a culinary delight.

I remember many years ago when I wanted to eat fresh fruits and vegetables and I gave up because the fresh produce tasted so terrible. Not any more! Take a look.

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Christmas Sweet Potato Salad


 


Last week I told you I changed my diet . I created this recipe specifically for that diet, but anyone can enjoy it.

I call this salad “Christmas” because it’s red and green, but also because I made it on Christmas morning. But you can eat it anytime.

A few days before Christmas, Larry and I decided to leave on Christmas morning to go on a roadtrip, adding a day to our previously planned trip to visit friends who live in the Blue Ridge Mountains..

There was food in the refrigerator that would not last a week, so I got up early and started preparing leftovers into yummy things we could eat on the road and stay on our diet that was working so well.

This salad was the first thing I made out of leftover sweet potatoes, beans, and vegetables.

So good! Larry and I both loved eating it on the road.

This recipe calls for Jersey sweet potatoes, which are yellow, not orange. They are kind of a cross between a sweet potato and a yam. My local natural food store sells them most of the year. Maybe yours does too. The sweetness of the potato is part of the charm of this salad.

Canellini beans are white kidney beans, very popular in Italy. They are especially creamy. I buy them at my local natural food store and cook them myself. White navy bean would be a good substitute.

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A New Way To Eat

Dear Readers,

A few months ago I dramatically changed the way I eat.

Last summer I had a blood vessel burst in my left eye, which required two surgeries—a consequence of many years of elevated blood sugar and a lifetime of overweight.

I struggled and struggled with trying to handle both these conditions. I failed to control them even though I stopped eating junk food years ago, have been eating organic for more than a decade and have been eating a low-carb/paleo diet that is the recommended diet for these conditions. But they didn’t work, One endocrinologist dismised me as a patient after I followed Dr. Bernstein’s ultra low carb diabetic diet to the letter and my blood sugar still didn’t go to normal. She accused me of cheating.

I love to cook and I love to eat, so this was very difficult, but I stuck with it.

When the blood vessel burst in my eye, I had to do something different, but what? I was already doing everything that was recommended.

And then one of my readers wrote to me—a retired ophthalmologist. He gave me a diet specifically for eliminating diabetic retinopathy. He said, “You must do this diet to save your life.”

It was difficult at first because this diet is not widely known or available. There are no current books or websites with any information about it. But I researched and researched and pieced it together and in the first month I lost 13 pounds and my blood sugar went down 100 points. Larry went on this diet too and lost a similar amount of weight and his blood sugar fell too.

And this happened while we were eating delicious, easy-to-prepare food all day long. We love this food and could just eat this diet for the rest of our lives.

At first I couldn’t believe this diet would work. I read a scientific paper that talked about the diet and showed pictures of changes in eyeballs. This was not the standard diabetic advice. After all those years of eating the low carb/paleo diet, I couldn’t believe what I was reading.

But I tried it and my weight just went down, down, down. And my blood sugar just dropped.

The second month was December, so it was more difficult to stay on the diet. Of course I wanted to eat when I went to parties. So I stayed on the diet at home and then ate whatever I wanted when I went out, as an experiment. And by the end of the month my blood sugar was exactly the same and I had gained only two pounds, which I lost in two days when I went back on the diet in January.

I also learned some other things about food while doing this diet that apply to everyone. Things I’ve never read in books or experienced before.

I now feel I have a diet that will serve my body and taste buds well for the rest of my life.

I want to tell you about this diet, but it’s more than I can say in a post. So I’m working on an ebook which should be ready by the end of the month. At that time I will be redoing this entire blog around this new culinary viewpoint. You will love it. I promise.

My body looks so different that everyone who sees me notices. They all ask what I’ve been doing and when I tell them my results, they all want it.

Just as soon as the ebook is ready, you all will be the first to know.

I just want to let you know…food can make all the difference in health. Which foods you eat, how they are processed and prepared, and portions can all make a difference. You’ll see very soon.

Debra 🙂






Winter Solstice Cake

This recipe is actually from my past, but it was so delicious I still think of it today.

At the time I had two girlfriends with whom I would celebrate the seasons. We usually would get together and eat seasonal foods, some from our gardens depending on time of year, and we do various things appropriate to celebrating the season.

I particularly love celebrating Winter Solstice because it’s about the return of the light of the sun after the cold dark winter, and with the sun comes the return of food that nourishes all the rest of life. Winter Solstice was celebrated in all cultures in pre-Christian times. For me, it’s a nice way to connect with Nature with my friends.

In 2011 year had our Winter Solstice gathering on Solstice eve, the night before Solstice. Linda had read something about having a birthday party for the Sun, to bake a cake with an image of a Sun on it, and sing Happy Birthday to welcome the rebirth of the Sun in the new year. She asked me to bake and decorate a cake for the occasion.

I thought about this cake for days in advance and considered many different options. What cake to bake? How do I get an image of the sun on top? I considered using yellow icing to pipe or paint a sun, and creating a sun with careful placement of golden raisins. But everything I thought of didn’t seem quite right.

Then on the very day that the cake was needed, the perfect cake just came to me. I knew exactly what to do, what elements to bring together that would be exactly right in every way. I made a gluten-free almond cake, topped it with mascarpone cheese* instead of sugary frosting, then “painted” a sun on top with ginger-orange marmalade fruit spread (sweetened with grape juice concentrate). The translucent marmalade caught the light and made the Sun “shine.” For a final festive garnish, I sprinkled the top with curls of lemon zest, from a lemon I picked off the tree in my backyard. I gave the Sun eight points with a beeswax candle at each point to represent infinity and the infinite continuation of the return of the Sun year after year.

It was a truly stunningly beautiful cake, and amazingly delicious too. With the fresh lemon zest, the cake just smelled like winter in Florida, where citrus trees are everywhere, in almost every backyard.

I was happy that this cake captured the spirit of the Solstice, in the place where I live. Everyone loved it. I think I need to make this cake again.

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