"The researches of so many eminent scientific men have thrown so much darkness upon the subject that if they continue their researches we shall soon know nothing."

- Artemus Ward

“If you aren’t confused about health and nutrition, then you haven’t studied it long enough or deeply enough.”

- Matt Stone

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Green Friday

Instead of doing something crazy like shopping the day after Thanksgiving I went on this marvelous sponsored birdwalk at DeKorte Park in the NJ Meadowlands. I was *not* one of the people who kicked themselves for missing it. It was great! And I saw two new Life Birds - the Ruddy Duck, and the Northern Pintail (who is in the photo above). I also saw my fave - the Peregrine Falcon, pictured below - who is the bird I've often said I would want to be if I was a bird. :-)
It's especially nice to have the health and energy to be able to go on these birdwalks - which bring me such pleasure. The scale popped up a few pounds after Thanksgiving day, but I'm sure it will pop back down shortly too. I ate to enjoyment, but not enough to feel full and stuffed and bloated. And the food was all delicious *whole* food - no fake frankenfoods. I felt GOOD after my Thanksgiving meal.

And was full of pep and able to enjoy my birdwalk on Friday. I'm looking forward to more.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I had my sister and her family over to my house for Thanksgiving today. I had fun setting the table, using plate and glassware I inherited from my parents. The menu consisted of:

- roast turkey breast
- my "easy" version of a green bean/roasted red pepper/pearl onion dish from "Southern Living" magazine
- roasted acorn squash
- homemade cranberry relish using Truvia and pure orange extract
- carrot/coconut muffins

And for dessert:
- Coffee/decaf with fresh "Abner" cream

Many thanks to Maria Emmerich, as I used several of her recipes today. I have much to be thankful for - especially a lovely family. I'm looking forward to Christmas which I plan to spend with my son, daughter-in-law and darling grandson. My son tells me they hope to cook a Christmas goose!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

gluten-free pie crust

It's Thanksgiving time, and my thoughts turn to pumpkin pie. I love pie but the traditional wheat crust just does not agree with me. Since I hit my mid-40s I began having severe intestinal distress whenever I ingest gluten grains. And I'd much rather live without severe nausea, diarrhea, daily vomiting, depression, and stiff and aching joints, thank you very much! I get all those symptoms where I eat gluten grains, and they all vanish when I banish them.

So I have experimented with alternative pie crusts, and most have been nasty. I can't *stand* the "so-called" gluten-free mixes you can pie in the stores - usually full of nasty cr*p I don't want to eat anyway. I've tried almond meal crusts were are okay, but just don't have the texture of pie crust!

But this week I finally came up with a recipe that is gluten free, but also rolls out like real pie crust, has a similar texture to real pie crust, and tastes good too! This is how the crust looked after I rolled it out with the rolling pin between two sheets of waxed paper:

So this is the recipe I came up with:

Gluten-free pie crust

3/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup peanut flour
1/4 cup macadamia nut oil (can use light olive oil, or melted coconut oil too, have tried both)
1 tbsp heavy cream
1 tbsp water
1/2 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and blend until the ingredients all come together in a ball. If it seems too loose and floury slowly add a little more oil, a teaspoon at a time - rarely you might need another tablespoon or so of oil.

Place the ball on a sheet of wax paper, squash it down a bit, then place a second sheet on top, and begin rolling with a rolling pin as you would any crust, rolling out on all side until you have a round crust big enough for the pie pan, as in the picture above.

Then remove top paper, place pie pan over the crust, and then flip so that the pan is on the bottom and the paper on top, and slowly peel the wax paper off the back of the crust. This part does not work quite as well as with a wheat crust, but if it comes apart a bit you can just press it back together with your fingers when it's in the pan, and then use fingers or a fork to crimp the crust at the top edge of the pan just for "pretty". :-) That's the stage my crust is in in the following picture:

It looks a bit messy as I didn't add *quite* enough oil. But at this point I'm ready to add the pumpkin filling, which I made using this recipe:

Pumpkin Pie

1 small (15 oz) can of plain packed pumpkin
1 cup heavy cream
2 eggs
1 tbsp molasses
1/2 cup Truvia
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground clove
1/4 tsp ground mace or nutmeg
pinch of salt

Blend all together in a large bowl using either a whisk or a hand-mixer. When all is blended pour into the prepared crust as below. Here is the pie ready to go into the oven:

Then bake at 350 until the pie is lightly browned on top and firmish to the touch in the middle (not jiggly). In my oven this takes about 45-50 minutes or so, and comes out looking like this:

So that's my pie all ready for Thanksgiving tomorrow, and will be served with nice fresh whipped cream too. Yum.

Note: pie crust recipe can be easily doubled for a double-crusted pie. I've also tried it with all coconut flour, but was not overwhelmed with the taste or texture.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It's the protein, dummy

I've been pretty religious about checking my blood sugars for at least the past 18 months or so - and sometimes they are up and sometimes down - but never as low as I would like them to do. At least not since spring of 2009. Back then was when I was trying to eat following the Kwasniewski diet, and I was getting totally normal blood sugar readings down in the 80s. But I slowly drifted off as it was a hard eating plan to follow if you want to have a normal social life and go out and eat. That's because it limits the amount of protein you are allowed to have, ro an amount considered enough to preserve your muscle mass - but not more. It basically means things like no more hamburgers when you go out to eat - you can only eat half the hamburger. No more steaks, you can only eat one third of the steak, or maybe one quarter.

So I slowly began eating more protein again. So did I put two and two together and realize there was a tie-in to my slowly rising blood sugar also? Well maybe at the back of my mind I did, but I enjoyed my protein, so kept thinking there had to be some other way to control my blood sugar, but nothing else worked that well, so I began to think my metabolism was just totally and fatally busted.

But this past week I went back on the Kwasniewski plan. Kwasniewski believes that if you are going to eat carbs you are better off eating the starches, rather than fructose-containing carbs, and I wanted to enjoy some of the starchier fall veggies I was getting from my CSA haul, so I decided to add in some starches and cut back my protein to the Kwasniewski levels.

And within only 2-3 days I suddenly found I was getting blood glucose readings back down in the 80s again! The reading above is what I saw this afternoon two hours after eating lunch. Below is the fasting blood glucose number I saw this morning when I woke up. Last night for dinner I had a 2-egg leek and potato frittata for dinner, with plenty of sour cream added to it to bump up the fat, and topped with some shredded cheddar cheese. My one-hour PP reading after that meal was 114, my 2-hour reading was 101. By bedtime I was back down to 87. Okay, smack me upside the head, dummy. This time I'm sticking with Kwasniewski's protein goals. :-)

And as an added bonus, since going back on Kwasniewski, my weight hit a new low this morning since I began seriously monitoring with daily weighings - which was January 2009.