From Keto to Plant Paradox–what a journey!

Before starting the Plant Paradox program, I loved cheese.  In fact, I’d say I loved everything dairy.  Several years ago, the first specific eating program my daughter introduced me to was the Ketogenic Diet.  At first, I thought she was going to kill herself (and me) by eating so much fat.  (The program is all about eating high fat, medium protein, and a very small amount of carbs.)  I was amazed about how well I felt after just one week following the program.  I felt more energy, less brain fog, and my memory seemed to be better than it had ever been!  But the level of cholesterol made me very nervous.  I read various other books claiming that one shouldn’t worry about the actual cholesterol numbers, but it still made me uneasy.

In the book, Keto Clarity by Jimmy Moore and Eric Westman, they point out that some people notice that their cholesterol may climb quite high.  (I happened to be one of them, which freaked out my doctor! She insisted I was a heart attack waiting to happen.)

It’s impossible to know which program is actually right.  I think there is still so much that is unknown about our bodies, and how nutrition affects our health.  Researchers are always discovering new things.  Remember when we were told that eggs were bad, and now they’ve backed off on limiting them like they once did?  I guess that’s why many people feel comfortable with the notion of “most things in moderation.”  That may be an oversimplification, but I can see how that type of thinking may be at least better than complete abandon.  (Let’s face it, no one will deny that fried foods and sugary snacks are not on any healthy diet program!)

In any event, this blog has me focused on doing the best we can with the information that is currently available.  I think there seems to be a lot of sense in what Whole 30 and the Plant Paradox is promoting.  Since Ed has experienced so much improvement in his health, (especially since he has almost eliminated heartburn),  I think this is a step in the right direction for us.  To maintain our healthier diet, and make it tasty–I keep trying and adapting more recipes.

Going back to the topic of dairy for a second.  I loved cow’s milk products–Cheese, Ice cream, Yogurt! Oh MY!  But on the Plant Paradox program–those products from most American cows are off limits.  I have slowly started to branch out and try alternative products. Coconut milk yogurt is actually quite tasty!  I was amazed how good Buffalo mozzarella cheese is.  And although I was NEVER a fan of goat cheese, I found a product at a farmer’s market recently that had blended goat’s cheese with blueberries.  It’s fabulous, and not too strong tasting.  So I came up with a simple recipe using goat cheese, great for lunch or dinner. Another one of those “no recipe” recipes you can modify to your liking!

Salad Greens with Apple slices, Sliced hard boiled egg, and Blueberry Goat cheese. (I used EVOO and Balsamic vinegar to dress this salad, but you can add whichever you choose!) You can add chopped nuts, too!

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Enjoy!


Cauliflower and (Sweet) Potatoes

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Many years ago, I was introduced to Indian food.  I loved it!  Having grown up eating some kind of meat, fish or chicken with every meal, it was hard to imagine a meal with NO animal meat–that is, until I learned about Indian cuisine.  Wow! I never knew vegetables could taste so good.  My mother never made anything like this!  What a delightful experience when vegetables are prepared in the Indian style.  I found out that there are about 40 different kinds of lentils!  The only time I’d eaten  lentils was in lentil soup!  (I’ll go into more detail about lentils when we introduce them in Phase 3 of the Gundry program.)  How things have changed for me from that first day forward!

While Indian food isn’t a favorite of Ed’s, he does enjoy it on occasion.  (Especially since it satisfies so many of our new dietary restrictions.)  This dish is usually made with cauliflower and regular white potatoes. (It was also one of my daughter’s favorite Indian meals, so I made it regularly.)  I especially love the smell and color of so many of the Indian spices.  They are so healthy, too!  Turmeric, in particular.

Since white potatoes are not on the Plant Paradox program, I decided to try something a little different.  I substituted sweet potatoes for the regular ones.  It actually adds a lot to the presentation, as you can see from the photo.  Normally, Indian food is served with bread (naan) and/or rice–both of which we are not currently eating.  Naan is not gluten free, so it’s off the menu as it is.  But in Phase 3 of the Plant Paradox program, we are allowed to introduce Indian Basmati rice (in very limited amounts).  We are not quite at that point, so when I made this dish, I spirialized some carrots.  (But I didn’t show them in the photo since I wasn’t happy with the effect.  Too much orange, lol.)  Soon I plan to include Basmati rice to our menu, which will add a wonderful texture and taste.  In the meantime, I do use Riced cauliflower, which is okay for many dishes–but not very appropriate for this cauliflower and sweet potato meal.

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp. coconut oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 Tbsp. chopped garlic

1 inch piece of ginger root, peeled, and chopped fine

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground coriander

1 tsp. turmeric powder

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1 head cauliflower washed and cut into bite-size pieces

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces

fresh (or dried) coriander leaves to garnish (optional)

Put Oil in large sauté pan, and cook onion till slightly translucent, then  add garlic and stir.  Cook a minute or two then add the ginger.  Stir and cook a minute or two, then add the spices.

Stir mixture and let cook again for a couple of minutes.  Then add the cauliflower and sweet potato pieces.  Stir well to mix all the ingredients together.  Cover and let cook on medium heat till cauliflower and sweet potato are tender (approximately 15-20 minutes).

Spoon over rice (if using), and garnish with coriander leaves, if desired.

Enjoy!

 


Quick & Tasty Arugula Salad

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Several years ago, my daughter and I used to go to a nice little restaurant in Providence (which isn’t there any more, unfortunately), called Grappa’s.  They had the best thin crust pizza I’d ever eaten.  (I think it was even better than Al Forno’s which most people know very well.)  On the menu was an arugula salad with pears.  It was fabulous.  I don’t remember if they put nuts in the salad, or what the dressing was, but the pairing of pears with the arugula was heavenly.  So I recreated my version of the salad and still think the combination is wonderful.

To me, this is a perfect breakfast or lunch.  In case you can’t tell, that’s a hard boiled egg on the side of the plate.  If you don’t care for eggs or you are vegan, you can leave it out, and add some other protein.  While we’ve eliminated most dairy, I still enjoy an egg for breakfast or lunch.  Dr. Gundry highly recommends using EVOO, so that is what I used to dress this salad.  (I suspect a Poppy seed dressing would also be great!)

This is another one of those “No recipe” recipes.  Just put the arugula on your plate, place sliced pears on top in a decorative fashion, sprinkle pecans or walnuts over the top and add your choice of dressing.  (And of course, the hard boiled egg, if desired.  I suspect avocado would be a nice addition as well.)

Enjoy!

 


Cream of Mushroom soup

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Whole 30 and Plant Paradox compliant!

Although I have been resisting the idea of being a vegetarian or vegan, Ed is ready to give it a try.  (Easy for him to say–he’s not doing the cooking!)  Maybe it’s because I was brought up in a meat & potato kind of household, and so I can’t imagine not having some kind of protein with most meals.  I am working on changing my thinking, since Dr. Gundry (and others) claim we can get enough protein from other sources.  (And besides that, we really don’t need as much protein as we have been led to believe!)  So I am on a mission to incorporate more “meatless” meals in my repertoire.

I was looking through the recipes in the Plant Paradox book and came across Dr. Gundry’s recipe for Raw Mushroom soup.  While it seemed fast and easy, I didn’t like the idea of it being raw.  I knew that sautéing the onions and mushrooms would bring out more flavor.  So that is how it started.  The end result is pretty amazing, if I do say so myself.  Ed agreed wholeheartedly, so that means–it’s a “keeper!”  Paired with a salad, this makes a great light lunch or dinner.

3 Tbsp. coconut oil

1 red onion (chopped)

1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped garlic

2 packages of mushrooms (cleaned and sliced) (reserve a couple of mushrooms for garnish, if desired)

1/3 cup hemp seed hearts or hemp powder (Bob’s Red Mills sells both)

1/2 cup pecans or walnuts

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

3/4 cup coconut cream (or milk)

1/2 cup water

Heat oil in large sauté pan.  Add onion, and cook a few minutes till it starts to soften.  Add chopped garlic and cook a couple of minutes longer.  Add sliced mushrooms, and stir.  Cover pan and let cook a few minutes till mushrooms start to release their juices.  Add hemp seed hearts, pecans, salt, pepper, and thyme.  Stir well, cover pan and let cook on medium heat about 5 more minutes.

Transfer mushroom mixture into blender (or food processor), add coconut cream and water and blend till smooth.  (Can add additional coconut cream/water if a thinner consistency is desired.)  We liked it thick!

Yields:  4 (1 cup) servings

Garnish each serving with a few sliced mushrooms and parsley (if desired).

Enjoy!


What’s for Breakfast, Part 2

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While my last blog showed a wonderfully refreshing salad with fruit as an idea for breakfast, I have to admit–having greens morning, noon, and night can get old pretty quickly.  For a change, I told Ed I’d experiment with Dr. Gundry’s muffins.  I made the first batch of muffins, for the most part, according to his recipe and they weren’t bad.  (Unfortunately, there are no pictures.  They disappeared before I could get my camera!)  In Gundry’s book (The Plant Paradox) he also has a unique recipe to make a muffin (for one) in a mug.  Originally, I made it with Vegan eggs, since Ed also wants to avoid eggs.  It didn’t turn out so well, so I went back to the drawing board, as they say.

I decided to try the other recipe in the book that is baked in the oven in regular muffin tins.  That is what this recipe is based on, with several changes, of course.   I intend to make these with lots of variations, so you’ll hear about them again (and again, and again)…. Ed really liked the idea of having something different–especially on the weekends–and he REALLY liked this version!

Banana Nut Muffins

In large bowl, combine:

1/4 c. coconut flour

1/4 c. almond flour

1/2 c. cassava flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. Sweet leaf (stevia) (or more if you want them sweet)

In separate bowl, combine and mix well:

3 eggs (or 6 Tbsp. Vegan eggs mixed with 1 c. water–do this ahead of time)

3/8 c. coconut oil

1/2 c. coconut cream

1 1/2 mashed banana

3/4 c. chopped pecans or walnuts (set aside 10-12 whole pecans for garnish)

Mix together wet and dry ingredients, then scoop batter in 10-12 muffin cups. (~3/4 full)

Bake 350 degrees for 22-24 minutes.  Let cool at least 20 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 


What’s for Breakfast?

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When we first started with the Plant Paradox program, green smoothies were recommended and they were easy to prepare.  The beauty of making them is that you can combine whatever ingredients you have on hand, and there is so much variety to the various greens available.  (We did add a little fruit and compliant sweetener after the 3 day cleanse period, which I think added a lot to the flavor.)  But after a while–well, let’s be honest.  It gets boring to eat the same thing every day.  Especially when you’re just DRINKING … and there’s no real chewing!

When Ed’s weight had fallen more than we were comfortable with, I decided it might not be a bad idea to add a little more fruit than what Dr. Gundry originally recommended.  So I put together the salad you see above.  Simple, yet healthy ingredients.  I used:

Spring mix

strawberries

blueberries

sliced banana

chopped celery

chopped walnuts (optional)

1-2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Great for breakfast, lunch, or a nice light dinner! You can easily add some grilled chicken or shrimp if desired.

Enjoy!


Beyond Whole 30

In a previous blog, I mentioned the health benefits Ed realized from being on the Whole 30 program.  A side effect of that was that he also lost weight.  Fifteen pounds of it.  The funniest part of that is that he really didn’t NEED to lose weight.  (I can hear all you women out there cursing him.  I felt the same way.  He was eating everything I prepared, (and then some), and continued to loose weight.)  I did reintroduce a few foods after the initial 30 days, but he didn’t.  He was feeling so good, he didn’t want to take any chances of any ailments returning.  It’s not like I went crazy in returning to my old eating habits, I guess my downfall was that “occasional” cheat.  I know there are a lot of you out there who can relate.  I think it comes down to the fact that getting healthy is about a lifestyle, NOT a DIET.

My weight did slowly fall, especially when I started to add a few days of weight training and cardio to my routine.  I spoke to a trainer who emphasized that it is necessary to do both–monitor your food intake and exercise–to develop a healthy body inside and out. To date, I’ve lost about 9 pounds, and it feels great.  To get better toned, I need to get more serious about visiting the gym.  (Don’t we all?)

We are now in Phase 3 of the Plant Paradox program, and will be experimenting with adding pressure-cooked legumes and/or beans very gradually.  Since I’ll be taking off for Boston for a couple of days, those new dishes will have to wait for my return.  In the meantime, the wonderful dish in the photo attached makes a great side dish for you to try.

Sautéed Purple Cabbage, Kale, and Carrots (for 2)

2 Tbsp coconut oil

1 red onion, chopped fine

1 Tbsp chopped garlic

1/2 tsp ginger powder (optional)

small head of purple cabbage, shredded

1/2 bunch kale, torn up into bite sized pieces (remove thick stems)

3 carrots, peeled and cut in 1/2 inch circles

salt & pepper to taste

Sauté the onion first in the coconut oil, and as it becomes translucent, add the garlic and ginger.  Stir for a couple of minutes then add the remaining ingredients.  Cook till just tender.  Season with salt & pepper.

Enjoy!

 

 


Sautéed Cabbage and Onion, with Salmon and Avocado

This recipe is an adaptation of Dr. Steven Gundry’s Cabbage-Kale Sauté with Salmon and Avocado.  It is also Whole 30 compliant!

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For 2 People:

1 Tbsp olive oil

6 oz. wild-caught salmon

1 avocado, diced

3 Tbsp lemon juice

salt & pepper to taste

4 Tbsp coconut oil

1 red onion, chopped

1 Tbsp chopped garlic

3 cups shredded cabbage

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brush salmon with the olive oil and bake for 15-20 minutes.

While the salmon is baking, put the avocado in a small bowl, toss with half the lemon juice and a little salt.  Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat 4 Tbsp. of coconut oil and sauté the onion and garlic till onion is translucent. Add the cabbage and sauté till tender.  Season with salt and pepper.

After the salmon is cooked, place  a 3 oz. portion on each plate, squeeze remainder of the lemon juice over each fillet, and top with the reserved avocado.  (You can either place the salmon on top of the cabbage mixture or serve it on the side–Which is what I did in the photo.)

You can also make a small side salad to round out the meal.

Enjoy!

 

 


Out on the Town (in NY)

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Over the weekend, Ed and I went to NY to attend the Affiliate Summit East 2017.  It was an amazing event.  I heard someone mention that there were about 12,000 people in attendance.  Overall it was very educational, and extremely well organized.  Being new to blogging, and it’s potential, we wanted to learn more about affiliate marketing and what it has to offer.

We met a lot of great people blogging their way to blogging heaven.  Many have been blogging for a number of years, and naturally they’ve developed a large following.  We had a chance to listen to John Chow, who interviewed a panel of successful bloggers who make an incredible living blogging. A few suggestions I took away from their talk in particular were:

  1. Build an audience before you try to monetize it.
  2. Send out a reader’s census to find out what people want to read about.
  3. If you want to get a blogger interested in your site–retweet, share, or comment on their blog to show (genuine) interest.
  4. Learn more about the blogger you’re focused on contacting.
  5. The best time to contact a fellow blogger is 5:30 to 6:30 AM.
  6. To capture your audience’s email address, offer an e book regarding info from your content.

There were many great speakers at the Summit.  I will share additional info in the blogs to come, but just wanted to tell a funny story about something that happened while at the event.  It just goes to show that no matter how well you try to plan everything, things don’t always go as planned.

To stay on our eating program (The Plant Paradox), I dehydrated various meats and veggies and packed them in a small lunch bag, along with water and various snacks that were compliant.  As we were checking in, we had to have our photos taken for our badges.  Since I had my handbag, the lunch bag, and the special “event bag” they gave us across my shoulders, I decided to put them down for the photograph.  We had to walk from one booth to another to register, and somewhere along the way, I left the lunch bag behind.  A couple of hours later, we were ready for lunch……  but no lunch bag.

We returned to where we “thought” we left it, and it wasn’t there.  We talked to the people at the hotel where the Summit was being held, and they said if anyone found it, it would be at least 2 hours before they’d have it in the office.  I checked with the event staff at various locations, but nothing could be done for a while.  Instead of going hungry, we sought a local restaurant and requested a simple salad for me (without the items that were not compliant) and a shrimp sandwich (with gluten free bread) for Ed.  No one got sick, so that was good.

Later in the day, I decided to check with the Summit organizers again.  (I was determined to find that bag!)  Before I had a chance to call them, I noticed there was a message on my phone.  Believe it or not, the registration desk called me to say they had my lunch bag!  Needless to say, we were thrilled to have a truly compliant dinner that evening!


What are lectins, anyway???

According to Dr. Gundry, lectins are large proteins found in animals and plants. For plants, it is their way of protecting themselves from being eaten by animals. (And gluten is actually a form of lectin.) Lectins are found in the seeds, grains, skin, rinds, and leaves of most plants. When an animal or insect eats a plant containing lectins, it either dies, or gets sick, which is intended to discourage the insect or animal from eating it again. (This is how the plant and it’s offspring protect themselves in order to survive.)
When humans eat foods that contain lectins, oftentimes they too will feel unwell–some people more than others. (That’s when we tend to reach for stomach relief medications.) Unfortunately, the animals most of us eat are fed the same plants that affect us, and indirectly, their problems become our problems when we eat those animals. So as Dr. Gundry says, “You really are what you eat.”
In addition to the affect of our diet, there are 7 major disruptors which are responsible for changing your gut microbes. According to Dr. Gundry, they are:
1. Broad-spectrum antibiotics.
2. NSAIDs.
3. Stomach-Acid blockers.
4. Artificial sweeteners.
5. Endocrine Disruptors–which are low-dose estrogen-like products people put on their skin, such as cosmetics, preservatives, sunscreen and the use of plastics.
6. GMO foods and Roundup.
7. Exposure to Blue spectrum light.
All of this exposure to lectins and other disruptors, Dr. Gundry believes are what has led to the various problems with our immune systems, including:
Aching joints, heartburn, age spots, skin tags, arthritis, cancer, dementia, fibromyalgia, IBS, skin rashes, and a whole host of other health problems.
Reading this long list is what made me think this eating program was just the thing we needed to try to repair the damage we’ve both experienced over the years.

PS:  The photo above is a Green Smoothie, which has NO LECTINS.  It is made with spring mix, spinach, kale, avocado, mint, and lemon juice with water.  Yummy!!