While I believe the food one chooses is paramount to wellness or disease, I also KNOW that stress, worries and emotional trauma (current or deeply buried) are equally, if not even more, responsible for one's state of health. Diet is a large contributor to disease symptoms, but only a piece of the puzzle. To find the root, one must look deep within.
By Art JonakA psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: “How heavy is this glass of water?”
Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.
She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn't change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”
She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.”
Remember to put the glass down.
"sensible dementia care should rely on a series of lifestyle changes rather than pharmaceutical drugs"
I couldn't agree more! I've seen the ravages of dementia first hand, from mild to advanced Alzheimer's Disease. It saddens me that even in a facility specifically for memory care residents, food is not utilized to improve brain function, but only to appease what is viewed as "quality of life". Quality of life is important for all of us, but memory care institutions seem to define it as "doing the same thing you've always done".
For example, if dementia symptoms improved with certain dietary changes, surely that would aide quality of life, wouldn't it? Yes, it may require food budget adjustments, but many would be willing to absorb that increase in exchange for improved symptoms (aka quality of life).
As the American population moves into its golden years (beginning January 1st, 2011 and every single day thereafter for 19 years, more than 10,000 American will turn 65), many have already faced the challenges of dementia as a caregiver to parents and spouses. I inlcude myself in this group and would happily make dietary changes if it meant improved symptoms (without sacrificing dining comfort) or avoiding the decline myself.
I would love to hear public opinion on my beliefs. Please share your comments below. And if you'd like help in creating these dietary changes, in your own life or the life of someone you care for, write to me directly!
Have you wondered which "diet" is best? You are not alone! It seems like there's a new one every month and you may have tried them all or know someone who has tried many. I'm frequently asked what I think of the currently popular 'Paleo Diet'.
My answer is pretty much the same no matter which one I'm asked about. Here's the skinny:
Our DNA has changed since we were cave dwellers. It's a cocktail that didn't exist before. With every step of globalization, we have synthesized new genetics. Additionally, the industrial revolution has provided us the chemical means to exponentially alter the mix, from cigarettes to genetically modified soy beans to Frankenfish.
To propose that We, as a race of humans, should be eating one diet of any sort, I feel is ridiculous. I am certainly a proponent of a diet of whole foods, with all the colors of the rainbow, for everyone. End of story. Beyond that, I believe our DNA is so mixed up, that dietary generalization is a silly notion and every body is going to need something just a bit different from the next.
I'm sure there is merit to the Paleo Diet, but our bodies are smart. They will tell us what to eat (and what not to), if we tune in and listen. Not to our taste buds – they've been tricked by the food industry. Not to our minds – they can only playback what we've already experienced. Get quiet, take a couple of deep clearing breaths, then "go inside" and ask yourself what your body needs to eat for wellness. Trust the answers that come – you'll know the difference between those your mind creates and those which are from the REAL you.
I know, it sounds woo-woo. That's why it's called The Holistic Kitchen.
Once upon a time, the egg selection in the grocery store was Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large or Jumbo. Period. Now? The selection is so confusing it's enough to make one reel. From "Organic, Cage-Free, Vegetarian Fed" to nearly everything else you can think of. How do you make the best selection? It may not be what you think.
For example, by definition, "cage-free" requires that hens have access to a yard – but in conventional egg production, that doesn't necessarily mean they spend any time in it. Nonetheless, those eggs may be labeled (and priced) as "cage free". Eggs that can currently be labeled as "organic" are not necessarily from healthy happy hens.
While flimsy definitions of "free range" allow such facilities to sell their products as free range, please beware that a hen that is let outside into a barren lot for mere minutes a day, and is fed a diet of corn, soy, cottonseed meals and synthetic additives is NOT a free-range hen, and simply will not produce the same quality eggs as its foraging counterpart… –Dr. Joseph Mercola
Some of the factory farm operators literally raise millions of birds (both conventional and organic) with as many as 85,000 “organic” hens in single buildings.
True free-range eggs are substantially more nutritious than non.
|Mother Earth News' 2007 egg testing project|
- Eggs generally come from one of two sources: confined animal feeding operations or CAFO’s, where the hens are typically kept caged indoors, or smaller farms where the hens are not confined, but rather allowed to pasture freely.
- Hens’ natural diet consists of seeds, green plants, insects, and worms. CAFO birds are primarily fed a diet of corn and soy-based feed*; most of which is genetically engineered. The difference in diet makes the eggs they produce vastly different nutritionally.
- You can tell the eggs are free range by the color of the egg yolk. Foraged hens produce eggs with bright orange yolks. Dull, pale yellow yolks are a sure sign you’re getting eggs form caged hens that are not allowed to forage for their natural diet.
- Free range eggs are truly an ideal food; it’s not only one of best proteins you can get, it’s also one of the least expensive. They’re best eaten raw, or soft-boiled. Scrambled eggs are the most damaged, and will not provide the same health benefits as raw or partially cooked eggs
* Keep in mind this is "vegetarian feed" – so egg cartons that promise you "Vegetarian fed" are not necessarily offering benefit (and likely charging more)!
Your local farmer's market is a great source to find eggs laid by the happiest and best fed hens. If you don't have easy access to such, ask the staff in a natural food store, such as a Co-Op, which brands are from small, local producers or where else you can find eggs from "foraged hens". And use the Cornucopia Institute's Egg Scorecard to help identify the brands that are masquerading behind the term "Organic".
Now you know….. Eggcellent!!
FINALLY, the medical community is coming around! It's so refreshing to see a physician who has been entrenched in Western medicine for a lengthy career, do an about face and publicly admit that doctors and pharmaceutical companies have had it all wrong.
The injury and inflammation in our blood vessels is caused by the low fat diet recommended for years by mainstream medicine.
Foods loaded with sugars and simple carbohydrates, or processed withomega-6 oils for long shelf life have been the mainstay of the American diet for six decades. These foods have been slowly poisoning everyone.
Plus the diet and pills we've been prescribed are actually causing the problem to worsen? What a cruel joke! It certainly is lucrative for the doctors and drug companies who "believe" they offer help….
Get the story here - this is a LIFE SAVING MUST READ, written by a physician, who has changed his tune.
BTW, once you learn what he has to share, you may want to pick up a copy of my book, Chef Nancy's Recipe for Health (print version) or The Anti Reaper Diet (Kindle version), offering 4 weeks of Anti-inflammatory recipes.
Pictured at right is my Gramma Armstrong's well worn brownie recipe! Demonstrated in a recent video series, I prepared a Holistified™ version and promised the recipe here. Now let's see if I can remember what I did…..
Holistified™ Mexican Chocolate Brownies
1C Coconut "fat" (I use a combo of Organic Palm Shortening and Coconut Butter)
1½C "Sugar" ( I use a combo of ½C Erythritol, ½C Coconut Sugar, ½ tsp. Ground Stevia Leaves)
1C Cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1 C Gluten free flours (I used ⅓C Buckwheat flour, ⅓C Coconut flour, 2Tbs Hemp flour,
2Tbs Teff flour, 2Tbs Mesquite flour)
1tsp Guar Gum
1 tsp Ancho Chili powder
1 tsp Cinnamon
¼tsp Sea salt
Heat oven to 350℉
Cream the fat and "sugar(s)". Add eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly between each one – add the vanilla along with the last egg.
"Sift the flour 3x". Add to mixture (and add guar gum) and blend thoroughly.
Add cocoa and spices. Blend.
Spread evenly in a greased and lightly floured 9×13 pan.
Bake 30 minutes.
Thanks for the inspiration Gramma!!!
As it happens, Oregano, the traditional herb in pizza sauce and widely used in Mediterranean cooking, is a healing powerhouse! It’s been used for centuries for stimulating the immune system and documented for its powerful anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic and anti-inflammatory properties (likely responsible for its anti-aging properties)!
Now if you know me at all, you know I consider anti-inflammatory to be synonymous with anti-cancer and anti-diabetes. Just sayin’…
Oregano has also been shown to be effective against arthritis and rheumatism (inflammation), respiratory diseases such as tuberculosis and digestive issues. Furthermore, the fragrance is known to create a feeling of security. Wow again!
Considering the quantity of Oregano prevalent in the Mediterranean Diet, in combination with the lycopene in cooked Tomatoes and health benefits of Olive Oil, it’s no wonder the Mediterranean Diet receives such attention!!
Oregano, on its own, can be used to activate your defenses with the first symptoms of cold, flu or upper respiratory infections. Continue throughout the infection and 4-5 days beyond, to avoid reoccurrence.
Because of its anti-bacterial properties, Oregano can also be useful in fighting other infections, such as those in the urinary tract. Drink as a tea or take 1-3 drops of therapeutic grade essential oil (diluted with olive oil) in a veg. capsule.
Consuming Oregano as a warm tea, right after a meal can help to relieve gas, regulate digestion and “keep things moving smoothly”.
“The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healing Foods” lists all of these conditions in the index under Oregano: Bad breath, bursitis [inflammation], cold sores [virus], depression, hives, nausea, osteoarthritis [inflammation again], pneumonia, sinusitis and toothaches!
Sheesh! I can’t personally speak to all those, but thought the list was sufficient to illustrate just how much respect Oregano deserves as a healing food!
So, Zach my friend, you can feel good about pizza! Just go light on the cheese, see if you can get some whole grains into the crust and load up on the Oregano!! And if you’re feeling adventurous, here’s a super easy (non-pizza) recipe from the Silver Palate that uses a plentiful amount of Oregano, qualifies as “holistic” and is lip-smacking delicious!!
REMEMBER: When cooking with herbs, add dried herbs early on, so their flavor and properties have time to become released. When cooking with fresh herbs, add just at the end of cooking, so their flavor and properties are maintained! And if you need to substitute one for the other in a recipe, remember that dried is 3x more concentrated than fresh, so adjust accordingly (i.e. a Tbl. of fresh is equivalent to a tsp. of dried.)
These are truly one of my favorite summer flowers – something about their sunny colors of orange and gold brighten any balcony, patio or garden spot. They seem so happy and always bring a smile to me.
“But wait, there’s more!” Nasturtiums are a 100% edible gift of nature! Their leaves and leggy stems lend a little spice to your summer salad. If you have a lot of them you can make a spicy pesto or add a bit to your traditional pesto.
The flowers themselves are completely edible and certainly lend elegance and color to your plate, not to mention those "oohs and ahhs" a cook adores. And finally, once the flowers have shined all they can, they leave behind a seed pod (kind of resembles a little crinkly green brain), from which you can pickle your own spicy little nasturtium capers!
While I share my knowledge with you through Kitchen Tips, I am, of course, still always learning. Last year, I planted too many nasturtiums in my garden box for the space. The result was an over crowded, bumper crop and while I basked in the beautiful color on my balcony and ate as much pesto as I could, I DID NOT KNOW I COULD’VE MADE ‘CAPERS’! This I sorely regret, as I adore the little things!
If you’d like to try it yourself, here’s how (thanks to Sandor Katz, my fermenting guru):
1½ cups of small seedpods*, such as Nasturtium or even Milkweed
1 Tb. Sea salt
1-2 heads of garlic
Harvest the pods when they’re small and tender.
Dissolve the salt in the water to create your brine.
Fill a pint jar with seedpods and peeled garlic cloves. Pour the brine over, making sure to cover all.
It’s important to keep them weighted down, so they remain covered under the brine. You can use a smaller container that fits in your pint jar (filled with water for weight) or even a Ziploc bag filled with brine (in case it leaks).
Taste daily until they taste “ripe”. This should take 4-7 days. If a film of mold develops, simply skim it off and continue to keep the pods submerged in brine, until they taste ready to you. Once they are, you can simply put a lid on them and keep them refrigerated, using them as needed. Voila!
Savor the Flavor of Summer!!
*EATING RAW NOT RECOMMENDED – CAN BE TOXIC, ESPECIALLY FOR ULCERS & KIDNEY DISORDERS