Black Bean Salad Lunch Plate

Whenever I make Tabbouleh I am sure to make enough to last 3 days. That's about the limit for freshness. It goes so well with so many foods, and as a condiment in sandwiches. I had some left from yesterday, and some black beans left from making the Dark Chocolate Black Bean Bars, so I transformed the latter into a salad, and added the last piece of Ginger Cod. Very tasty, very healthy... high protein, omega 3's, high fiber, high antioxidant!

Black Bean Salad

  • 4 c. cooked organic Black Beans, drained
  • 1/2 c. organic sweet Onion, chopped
  • 1/2 c. organic Cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 c. organic Mint, chopped
  • 1/2 organic Serrano Chili Pepper chopped (opt.)
  • 2 medium organic Tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 organic Green Onions, chopped
  • 4 Tbs. organic Apple Cider Vinegar (Bragg's is best)
  • 2 Tbs. Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbs. Flax Seed Oil
  • 1 Tbs. Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Cumin or more to taste
  •  

Mix everything together in a large bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning to your taste. I added a sprinkle of black pepper.

My son ate some for a snack right out of the bowl. He's my gourmet, finicky food critic.  :)

~ Bon Apetit! ♥

Lentils and Mung Beans - the Whole Story

There are some days when I get an awfully strong craving for Indian spices. I either want to have a curried dish, or a lentil dish... those are the two competitors for my attention. My favorite dish when I was a girl, is called Mjaddara, a 'peasant' type winter dish popular in the villages of Lebanon.  It's basically a lentil/rice/onion mash that is sooo tasty, sooo comforting and sooo healthy!  That's THREE Soooo's!!  :) Mom was an expert Mjaddara maker, like her father.

According to Choosemyplate.gov...

Health Properties

"Aside from their slight differences in calorie, carb and protein values, red and French lentils have very similar health benefits. Both are protein-rich, plant-based foods, which gives them a unique set of positive nutritional properties.

mung bean sprouts 1
mung bean sprouts 1

According to ChooseMyPlate.gov: low-fat proteins such as lentils are essential for growing, building, repairing and maimaintaining tissues in blood, skin, bone and muscle cells.

Protein is also a particularly satiating nutrient and may be able to keep you full for longer than carb- or fat-rich foods, which can be important if you’re watching your weight. Both red and French lentils are high in dietary fiber, which means they can improve digestive health and potentially lower levels of blood cholesterol and blood sugar."

Mung beans are low in Saturated Fat and Sodium, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Protein, Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Potassium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Folate, Copper and Manganese.

To find out if a carb food you are about to buy (bread, crackers, pasta, etc..) is a healthy choice do the following:

Add a zero to the total grams of fiber per serving, so 2g becomes 20.  Compare it to the total grams of Carbs per serving.  The fiber number should be MORE than the total Carbohydrates number.  This means if a product has 20g of Carbs and 1g of Fiber (i.e. 10) Then put it back on the shelf!There is not enough fiber to slow down the conversion of the carbs into glucose, and it will spike your blood sugar.  These spikes that occur all day long are what predispose us to Diabetes and other diseases.  Aim for at least 1.5 times the Fiber to Carbs.

1 cup of cookedMung beans has 2 grams of Fiber vs. 6 grams of Carbs.  That's 20 vs 6! A very good ratio.

1 cup of Lentils have 16 grams of Fiber vs. 40 grams of Carb...160 to 40!  An Excellent ratio.

And of course we know that a diet high in fiber can help prevent colon and breast cancer. So eat your beans!

I adapted this recipe to include both lentils and mung beans.

Sprouted Lentils and Mung Beans, Indian Style

  • 2 c. sprouted organic brown Lentils
  • 1/2 c. organic Mung Beans (soaked overnight)
  • 2 tsp. extra virgin Olive Oil
  • 3/4 c. organic Onion, chopped
  • 1 green organic Chili Pepper (I use Serrano)
  • A 1-inch piece of organic Ginger
  • 1 Tbs. organic Cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dried Coriander powder
  • 3/4 tsp. Cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. Black Pepper
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • 1-1-1/2 c. hot Water

Heat a medium stainless steel pot over medium heat for 1 minute.  Add oil and wait another 1 minute.

Add onion and chili pepper and saute for 2 minutes. Add ginger and cilantro, stirring for 1 minute.

Add beans and spices and 1 cup hot water, stir, cover and simmer over medium-low for 15 minutes.

Press one of the beans between your fingers to make sure they are done, and add the last 1/2 c. of hot water if too dry.

Adjust seasoning, and serve hot or at room temperature.

lentils_Indian style
lentils_Indian style

~ Cheers! ♥

Teacups and Dark Chocolate Black Bean Bars

Mom, Dad and my older siblings lived in Washington DC for about 5 years when Dad was Ambassador to the U.S.  He was reassigned when I was born, so at 2 months old I made the trip back home. While in DC Mom and Dad had a portrait done by Stefan Norbin, a Polish artist.  While he made Mom look much younger than Dad they were actually only 6 years apart in age.

Mom and Dad 1940's
Mom and Dad 1940's

Recently, I looked up info on the artist and this is what I found:

"Stefan Norblin, a polish painter and graphic artist, had an exciting, and tragic life. He was a successful and popular portrait painter, poster and book and costume designer in Warsaw in the 1920's and 1930's, married to the movie star Lena Zelichowska.

When World War 2 broke out, the couple fled in the last-minute, first to Romania, then Istanbul, Iraq and finally arrived in India. Norblin quickly caught the attention of the Maharaja of Jodpur who had just built a huge palace that needed to be decorated, and Norblin was given a free hand to design the interior and the furniture.

In 1946, he left for the United States, and although he had a few commissions for portraits, he was not happy, his eyesight was failing and he finally took his own life in 1952. Most of his work in the United States was lost or destroyed, and except for his polish tourist posters, he was forgotten. "

A few years ago, I started my a collection of teacups like my mother did in her 40's. 

Cups
Cups

I inherited my love of cooking from Mom, who spent 6 years writing the first anthology of Middle Eastern and North African Cuisine, published in 1970. Thanks to her all 7 of her children, and numerous grandchildren have that same passion.

Yesterday I stumbled on a recipe for brownies made with Black Beans that sounded twice as good as the recipe I adapted a few weeks ago.

Here is my version...

Dark Chocolate Black Bean Bars

  • 3/4 c. cold-pressed Coconut Oil
  • 5 oz. 85% organic Dark Chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 2 c. cooked organic Black Beans, drained
  • 3 Tbs. organic raw Cocoa Powder
  • 3 Tbs. Coconut Flakes (more to taste)
  • 1 c. organic Walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 pinch of Sea Salt
  • 2 high-Omega3 Eggs
  • 3 Tbs. freshly ground golden Flax Seeds
  • 2/3 c. Chicory Root or Xylitol

Preheat the oven to 325°F and line an 11-inch square or 8 x 11 baking pan with parchment paper.

Melt the coconut oil on low heat in a medium size pan, add dark chocolate pieces. Stir around until the chocolate is completely melted.

Chocolate Black Bean Bars2
Chocolate Black Bean Bars2

Put beans, cacao powder, coconut flakes and 1/2 cup of the walnuts in a blender or a food processor. Blend for one minute or until well chopped, then add the chocolate mixture and blend for one more minute, scraping down sides once.

Chocolate Black Bean Bars1
Chocolate Black Bean Bars1
Chocolate Black Bean Bars6
Chocolate Black Bean Bars6

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes, add the flax seeds and xylitol and beat for one more minute.

Chocolate Black Bean Bars4
Chocolate Black Bean Bars4
Chocolate Black Bean Bars5
Chocolate Black Bean Bars5

Save four spoonful’s of the egg mixture in a separate cup and pour the rest into the chocolate and bean mixture and process just to incorporate.

Add the remaining walnuts and dark chocolate and stir gently with a spatula until blended.

Chocolate Black Bean Bars7
Chocolate Black Bean Bars7

Pour into the baking pan.

Drip the remaining egg mixture on top of the chocolate mixture and use a toothpick or a knife to create a marble effect.

Chocolate Black Bean Bars final
Chocolate Black Bean Bars final

Bake for 30 minutes. They might still feel a little soft in the middle when you take them out, but they will harden when they cool. These are decadently chocolaty!

You can spread a little Xylitol-sweetened raspberry jam on top for variation.

~ Enjoy!  ♥

You Create Your World Every Moment

I wish there was a fool-proof formula we could all follow to move 'out' of ourselves, to float above this vehicle we call our body, and observe ourselves act and react to mundane, fleeting, mostly unimportant events in our life. To see how we take things far too seriously, including ourselves! I wish we could REALLY see, FIERCELY believe, that it is the programming of our minds that creates chaos and negativity or hinders peace and happiness in our lives.  And that if we spend just a handful of weeks working consciously to change our reactions and attitudes, we can intentionally generate a new program.

I wish we listened, quietly, with inner stillness to what others are 'saying' before we allowed our ever-churning brain to start preparing our response to justify what 'we' think.

I wish I could help you understand without a shadow of doubt that you house in your heart Divine Light that is clouded over by falsely thinking that you are separate from the Universe, from all Humanity and from Truth.  And that if you sat quietly for just 10 - 15 minutes each day, and let go of everything during those minutes, focusing on 'seeing' the Light flickering in your heart, and imagining it growing until if filled your being, after a while your perspective, your attitude and your knowing will be informed by that Light and life will begin to change.

What is going on with this body, in this life is a Gift intricately planned to present us with situations designed to help us learn specific lessons, (if we allow them to).  These lessons invariably expand our understanding of Who we are, Where we are going and Why it's necessary to cultivate Acceptance and Awareness.

Without a positive attitude and strong faith in the power of our mind, we can't heal.  Negativity changes your body chemistry, physically.  It takes hours to neutralize the toxins that negativity releases in your body. That alone should deter you from giving in to such a response. Stop, breathe and consciously choose a reaction before you say or do something you'll regret.

It's not easy, but practice is the only way to make it a habit.  No one is going to walk into your life and make everything better. You have to do that.

This moment is all you have.  How do you want to spend it?

Unhappy?  Fearful?  Worried?  Frustrated?  Bitter?  How about choosing to be Happy, Brave, Accepting, and Grateful?

smile-2928326_1280.jpg

Vow to live your life as if today is the all you have...this moment the only moment. Join the abundant Joy that resonates in every aspect of Creation, and don't let anyone shake your determination to feel good.

Excerpt taken from The HuMan Handbook

"Change is what happens when the pain of holding on becomes greater than your fear of letting go. You are using up enormous amounts of life force energy holding on to your pain and past.

Change your habits and you will quickly change your life. It only takes three weeks to “birth” a new habit. The Universe ...will express anything you make into a habit.

You are the architect of the reality that you are experiencing. Forming new habits is how you will manifest what you want. Creating habits is the key to your success or failure.

Consciously creating new habits for more than 21 days is a small price to pay for what you want to manifest."

"When things change only two things can happen with one being obvious and the other being extremely subtle. The obvious thing is that you will manifest what it is that you want to experience. The not so obvious thing is that you will surface what it is you need to heal, so that you can manifest what you want."

E-mail your first and last name to SabrinaRose@HolisticLearningCenter.com, subject line- The Human Handbook to receive a copy.

It doesn't matter where you are in your journey...this human handbook is a guide to mastering the inner you!

Do Statins and Aspirin Play a Role in Cancer Prevention?

What are Statins?

  • Statins are a type of drug that blocks the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase, which the body needs to make cholesterol
  • Statins help to treat and prevent heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol
  • Research suggests that statins may lower the risk of certain cancers such as colorectal and skin cancers. This is because statins work against cellular functions that may help control tumor initiation, tumor growth, and metastasis
  • Two cardiovascular clinical trials have demonstrated a significant reduction in skin cancer among patients taking lipid-lowering drug

According the National Cancer Institute..

Animal research and ongoing observation of people who take statins suggest that these drugs may lower the risk of certain cancers, including colorectal and skin cancers. Statins' known benefits in preventing cardiovascular disease, along with years of strong evidence that these agents are relatively safe, have led researchers to explore whether statins have the potential to prevent cancer. People should not take statins for cancer prevention outside of a clinical trial.

Specifically, statins reduce (or block) the activity of the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase and thereby reduce the levels of mevalonate and its associated products. The mevalonate pathway plays a role in cell membrane integrity, cell signaling, protein synthesis, and cell cycle progression, all of which are potential areas of intervention to arrest the cancer process.

Potential Side Effects

Although generally well-tolerated, statins have been associated with muscle pain (myopathy) and liver toxicity (hepatotoxicity). People who take statins should be monitored by their health care providers for these reasons.

Clinical Trials

NCI's Cancer Prevention Clinical Trials Consortia initiated a trial for people at increased risk for colorectal cancer who also have been found to have aberrant crypt foci (ACF), in 2005.  ACF are clusters of abnormal cells in the lining of the colon and rectum that have been associated with the development of colorectal tumors. Using existing technology, ACF represent the earliest stage of detectable risk for colorectal cancer.

Patients diagnosed with stage I or II colon cancer are eligible for this trial after they have undergone surgical treatment (resection) to remove their primary tumor. Patients may also have received post-surgical (adjuvant) therapy. Study participants will be stratified (categorized) according to whether or not they have a family history of colorectal cancer, whether they regularly take aspirin and at what dose (none, 81 mg, or 325 mg), and whether they received prior adjuvant therapy. They will then be randomly assigned to take either rosuvastatin (Crestor) or a placebo pill daily for 5 years.

Participants will have physical exams every 6 months during the 5-year study period and will undergo complete colonoscopies within 180 days before randomization, and at 1, 3, and 5 years afterward. Doctors will follow the participants for the development of adenomatous polyps, the incidence of metachronous colorectal cancers, and the recurrence of their primary colon cancer.

“We’re also very interested in aspirin because we know that it has some benefit in preventing colorectal polyps and cancer. So, this study is designed to accept people who currently take aspirin as long as they agree to continue their aspirin over the course of the study,” added Dr. Bruce Boman (Protocol Chair), National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project.

And what about Aspirin?

Like statins, aspirin is widely used to protect the heart. The long-term use of aspirin has been shown to provide protection against the development of colorectal polyps and cancer. Since statins and aspirin are often used together, researchers are interested in exploring their ability, when combined, to prevent colorectal polyps and cancer. A recent case-control study examined the effects of a daily statin and low-dose aspirin, individually and together, on the development of colorectal tumors. The researchers found that using both drugs together reduced colorectal cancer risk more than the use of either drug alone. Consequently, one of the secondary endpoints in the NSABP-P-5 trial is to see if the combination of rosuvastatin and aspirin has either additive or synergistic effects.

For More Information

Call NCI’s Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237). The toll-free call is confidential.

Coconut Cilantro Chutney

One of my sweet 30-something nephews came over for lunch today.  We hadn't really visited for some time since he lives an hour away. We caught each other up on news over chicken tacos, chicken Thai curry, whole wheat couscous, kale salad and spinach flat bread (I like eclectic meals).

I realized that I didn't have a chutney to serve, since most are so full of sugar I rarely buy them.  I came across this recipe... It goes very well with fish too, and takes just minutes to whip up.

Coconut Cilantro Chutney Recipe

GreenCoriander chutney
GreenCoriander chutney
  • 3/4 c. shredded unsweetened Coconut
  • 3/4 c. fresh organic Cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small seeded organic Serrano chili,  quartered
  • 1/2 c. light coconut milk (or green tea)
  • Juice of 1/2 organic Lime
  • dash of Sea Salt

Place all but Lime juice in blender, or food processor, and pulse until consistency is almost smooth.

Pour into a bowl and mix in lime juice. Taste and adjust seasoning.

As a variation you may add 1 clove of garlic to veggies, or a 1/2 inch slice of ginger.

Makes about 1 cup of chutney.

~ āp kā khānā svādiṣṭa ho! ♥

First CUTC "Fighting Disease With Food" Info Session a Success!

On Sunday, I held the first Cooking Up The Cure (CUTC) informational session : Fighting Disease with Food. A good friend of mine who is a Nutritionist joined me. My acupuncturist kindly offered her lovely office space to me.

Snuggled amid a forest of trees, and furnished with gorgeous Asian furniture, a wood porch runs the length of the back of the building bordering the creek. It was the perfect setting for a relaxed health related talk.

Susan's office
Susan's office
Susan' porch
Susan' porch

I developed a PowerPoint presentation that included recent studies funded by the NIH (National Institutes of Health) which found that certain foods, spices or vitamins are proving to be just as effective (and in one case MORE effective ) as Chemotherapy in the treatment of Cancer, and others that have linked Autism and Depression to low Antioxidant levels.

I talked about Antioxidants, Carotenoids, the Fantastic Foods and Spices and Super Supplements that are being recommended as part of a Complimentary treatment approach to many serious illnesses, and why it's critical to maintain high Antioxidant levels either by eating the MINIMUM 7 - 10 servings of low-sugar fruits and a wide spectrum of colorful vegetables EVERY day, OR by taking a high quality pure Antioxidant Supplement to ensure our body is able to fight back if attacked by disease.

Attendees got their palms scanned by our Biophotonic Scanner, and were either surprised or pleased with their reading. A number of attendants will be taking our Tëgreen* supplement which has the equivalent catechins (the major component of green tea extract, have highly beneficial physiologic effects.) as 7 cups of green tea. • Tegreen 97(R) enhanced insulin sensitivity • Improved glucose-lipid metabolism • Increased fat burning and decreased body fat percentageLowered body weight associated with inhibited angiogenesis.

Learn more:

Study on Tëgreen 97(R)

I baked some Black Bean Dark Chocolate Bars and made a Quinoa Salad which I cooked with Green Tea, as samples of the Anti-Disease Diet. Both were a hit.

Each participant received CUTC Info packets that included the list of Fantastic Foods; a laminated list of Foods and their Antioxidant values; a reusable grocery list to take along when shopping for high antioxidant, vitamin packed foods; several Anti-Cancer recipes, and more.

It was so successful that I am having another one in Berkeley in a couple of weeks, open to a slightly larger audience.  I want to keep it small enough to engage with attendees and have a meaningful discussion.

* For more information on these supplements send me an email. 

Cheers! ♥

Some Good News about Depression and Anti-oxidants!

We've all heard how much money Americans spend on anti-depressants every year, and how much of them wind up in our water supply.

What a boon to the Earth and to humanity for a natural, non-toxic substance to be found just as effective in the treatment of this condition.  The fantastic news is that we may have stumbled on just such a discovery.

It thrills me that the very foods and anti-oxidants we've been talking about here for months are the very same ones that can help re-balance brain chemistry and address the very real symptoms of depression.

After my mother's onset of dementia, I became clinically depressed.  She lived with us, and my children were 10 and 1 at the time.  I worked full-time, so the lovely nanny we hired to care for my 1-year-old watched mom for a few hours, and my sister would come take her for a couple of hours.

Her situation worsened, so that it became a full-time job keeping track of what she was doing.  More than once she would unlock the baby-proofed cabinets and give my 1-year-old spray bottles to play with... glass cleaner, bleach, 409, you name it.  A couple of times he'd run around the house clutching something he found on the floor, and it would be one of her blood thinners that she dropped.  It was also a time when my marriage was a little strained. The stress caused my depression.

I was put on Wellbutrin, which messed with my brain in very unhealthy ways. I couldn't think clearly, I could no longer multitask or plan meals or appointments for the next few days. I got off the meds and tried St. John's Wort. My MD said it was not safe for my son to have Mom live with us, and was causing me too much stress, so my older sister who worked part time and whose children were much older, converted her garage to an apartment for Mom.

Based on my experience I would not recommend prescription drugs to anyone, unless they had exhausted other methods of treatment.

Below is some very good news!

Antioxidants as antidepressants: fact or fiction?

Scapagnini G, Davinelli S, Drago F, De Lorenzo A, Oriani G. 2012, Jun 1st

Source : Department of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Molise, Campobasso, Italy.

Depression is a medical condition with a complex biological pattern of aetiology, involving genetic and epigenetic factors, along with different environmental stressors. Recent evidence suggests that oxidative stress processes might play a relevant role in the pathogenic mechanism(s) underlying many major psychiatric disorders, including depression.

medicines-1756239_1280.jpg

Reactive oxygen and nitrogen species have been shown to modulate levels and activity of noradrenaline (norepinephrine), serotonin, dopamine and glutamate, the principal neurotransmitters involved in the neurobiology of depression. Major depression has been associated with lowered concentrations of several endogenous antioxidant compounds, such as vitamin E, zinc and coenzyme Q10, or enzymes, such as glutathione peroxidase, and with an impairment of the total antioxidant status.

Additionally, curcumin, the yellow pigment of curry, has been shown to strongly interfere with neuronal redox homeostasis in the CNS and to possess antidepressant activity in various animal models of depression, also thanks to its ability to inhibit monoamine oxidases.

There is an urgent need to develop better tolerated and more effective treatments for depressive disorders and several antioxidant treatments appear promising and deserve further study.

~ Hooray! 

May I Introduce You to Vitamin D?

One of the many things I learned after being diagnosed, was the importance of certain vitamins and minerals in cancer inhibition and better prognosis.

Vitamin D3 was one of those.

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is technically not a vitamin. It is the name given to a group of fat-soluble prohormones (substances that are precursors to hormones that usually have little
Coconut Tree Leaves
hormonal activity by themselves).
Two major forms of vitamin D that are important to humans are vitamin D2, or ergocalciferol, and vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol.
Vitamin D2 is made naturally by plants, and vitamin D3 is made naturally by the body when the skin is exposed to ultraviolet radiation (in particular, UVB radiation) in sunlight. Vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 can also be commercially manufactured.
The active form of vitamin D in the body is 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D.
Vitamin D is involved in a number of processes that are essential for good health, including the following:
  • It helps improve muscle strength and immune function.
  • It helps reduce inflammation, (critical for Cancer).
  • It promotes the absorption of calcium from the small intestine.
  • It helps maintain adequate blood levels of the calcium and phosphate needed for bone formation, incorporating minerals to increase strength and density, growth, and repair.
For years, Life Extension has been exploring the potentially devastating consequences of vitamin D deficiency, ranging from cardiovascular disease to cancer. Now in this report, Life Extension magazine examines the link between low levels of plasma vitamin D and autism. At the forefront of this research is Dr. John J. Cannell, executive director of the Vitamin D Council and a forensic psychiatrist at Atascadero State Hospital in California.
Vitamin D3 7000 IU, 60 Capsules (Life Extension)
The stunning findings suggest that rampant vitamin D deficiency is causally related to brain dysfunction, and may be readily preventable by adequate supplementation.
An epidemic of autism appears to be underway in the United States. According to several respected leaders in child and adult nutrition from across the United States, the current meteoric rise in autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) may well be a direct consequence of significant vitamin D deficiencies in pregnant women and their infants.  And evidence points to vitamin D deficiency as the cause of other debilitating brain conditions as well.  This insidious deficiency is readily remedied--yet tragically often missed.  Read More Here...
Most people get the vitamin D they need through sunlight exposure. It can also be obtained through the diet, but very few foods naturally contain vitamin D. Those that do include fatty fish, fish liver oil, and eggs.  Most dietary vitamin D comes from fortified foods, such as milk, juices, yogurt, bread, and breakfast cereals. Vitamin D can also be obtained through dietary supplements.
How Vitamin D Reduces the Risk of Cancer
The mechanisms by which vitamin D reduces the risk of cancer are fairly well understood. They include enhancing calcium absorption (in the case of colorectal cancer) [Lamprecht and Lipkin, 2003], inducing cell differentiation, increasing cancer cell apoptosis or death, reducing metastasis and proliferation, and reducing angiogenesis [van den Bemd and Chang, 2002].
In addition, Vitamin D3 down-regulates parathyroid hormone (PTH) [Chapuy et al., 1987]. IGF-I has been implicated in the pathogenesis of human cancer. Since IGF-I stimulates tumor growth and high quantities are a Whisked eggs...consequence of the standard American diet [Grant, 2002a; 2004], vitamin D can be considered one partial antidote to the American diet.
How Much Vitamin D is needed?
The amount of ingested vitamin D and/or UVB exposure required for optimal protection against cancer is still being determined. Each person responds differently to UVB exposure and oral intake of vitamin D depending on such factors as skin pigmentation, body mass index (vitamin D is fat soluble), age, condition of digestive tract, other dietary factors, etc.
Dietary vitamin D is insufficient alone to significantly reduce the risk of most cancers since the ingested amounts, up to 200 to 400 I.U. per day, are too low [Grant and Garland, in press]. Evidently, 600 to 1000 I.U per day are required to reduce the risk of vitamin-D-sensitive cancers, except possibly prostate cancer, for which population-average values of serum 25(OH)D are associated with the minimum risk [Tuohimaa et al., 2004; Grant, in press].
I had to  take 7500 I.U per day to get my D level up to 60 initially, and now am down to 5000.  So talk to a nutritionist (I have referrals to a Nutritional Oncologist if you need one.)
The current understanding is that serum 25(OH)D levels should be in the 35 to 60 ng/ml  range for cancer prevention and optimal health. The only way to determine one’s 25(OH)D levels is through blood tests, which can be ordered through a physician or nutritionist.
NOTE: Melatonin supplements allow reduced doses of Vitamin D since they produce a 20 to 100-fold INCREASE in the sensitivity of Breast Cancer cells to Vitamin D. This is why periodic blood test to determine Vit. D (25 Hydroxy) level is important.

References:

  1. Chapuy MC, Chapuy P, Meunier PJ. Calcium and vitamin D supplements: effects on calcium metabolism in elderly people. Am J Clin Nutr. 1987;46:324-8.
  2. Devesa SS, Grauman DJ, Blot WJ, Pennello GA, Hoover RN, Fraumeni JF Jr., Atlas of Cancer Mortality in the United States, 1950-1994. NIH Publication No. 99-4564, 1999. website (accessed March 3, 2004).
  3. Doll R, Peto R. The causes of cancer: quantitative estimates of avoidable risks of cancer in the United States today. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1981;66:1191-308.
  4. Garland CF, Garland FC. Do sunlight and vitamin D reduce the likelihood of colon cancer? Int J Epidemiol. 1980;9:227-31.
  5. Garland C, Shekelle RB, Barrett-Connor E, Criqui MH, Rossof AH, Paul O. Dietary vitamin D and calcium and risk of colorectal cancer: a 19-year prospective study in men. Lancet. 1985;1:307-9.
  6. Grant WB. An estimate of premature cancer mortality in the United States due to inadequate doses of solar ultraviolet-B radiation, Cancer, 2002b;94:1867-75.
  7. Grant WB. A multicountry ecologic study of risk and risk reduction factors for prostate cancer mortality. Eur Urol. 2004;45:371-9.
~ Be Well.

Cafes, Challenges and Grace: Our menu

Why do we get pushed to the edge at certain points of our life?
 
Why are we forced to face difficult situations that seem in the moment hopeless, or intolerable, or confusing, or maddening, or frightening through no fault of our own?
 
Many of us try hard to live our lives with integrity and understanding.  We do our best to be kind to others, to be sensitive to other people's feelings, to be conscientious in our work, and yet... in spite of our efforts, we get curve balls: our boss is a jerk or is unreasonably demanding, our job is eliminated, our children don't appreciate what we do for them, our spouse neglects our emotional needs or is abusive, or  some turkey runs into our car in the parking lot and doesn't leave a note.

Screamin

Where is the justice we grow to expect from a world led by a Benevolent Being? Good deeds should be rewarded with good results, and bad deeds with consequences... and yet losers get away with so much, and we get taken to task for a tiny error.
 
Well, at a certain point in our lives, we realize that our definition of 'justice' or 'good' or 'bad' has little to do with the Universe's.  Man's terms and perspective are just that...they are not the standard by which the Universe operates. Events are neutral... they serve a purpose...therefore no matter how we view them, they are not 'bad'.
 
A wise and enlightened mentor once said to me, "The only sin man can commit, is not living up to his/her best knowing." Beside that omission, one we should be able to control, all else fades.  If I am unable to live and act based on my BEST knowing, I shouldn't expect anything or anyone to be any better.
 
There have been times when a situation has asked every ounce of tolerance, of understanding, of patience or of perseverance from me.  A situation I didn't see coming, didn't ask for and couldn't have anticipated.

A Collaboration Disguised as a Cafe

When I opened a Cafe two years ago, I hired young men who needed the work to do some of the labor... painting, sheet rock, installing cabinets or shelving.  I was over budget already, thanks to the City of Berkeley and their unreasonable requests for very specific improvements and many fees. I was at my wits end, watching my savings dwindle, and a process that should have taken 3 months, turn into an ordeal that took 6 months.
 
And then to top it off, the contractors I hired lied about their skills and tried to charge me way more than the job warranted.  One of them made 4 trips to Home Depot to buy and return materials, because he couldn't estimate what he needed or how much he needed, and wanted to bill me for his 4 two-hour long shopping sprees on top of the cost of materials we didn't wind up using!
 
Sit back. Breathe deeply. Rise above the situation and look down.  What's really going on?  Why did God very tangibly show me that I was meant to open a Cafe by sending not one, not two, but multiple signs that is was to be...and then put me in a situation where I doubted the whole thing and my ability to pull it off?
 
Without taking the time center yourself and literally rise above a situation, you cannot and will not see why it's happening.
The Director who hired me to be a Team Manager at AT&T once told me, "Sometimes it's not about you.  Sometimes you're participating in someone else's learning." At the time I didn't want to hear that, but over the years I've brought that piece of wisdom to mind, and found it be crucial in understanding what was going on, and then finding the right response.
 
In the heat of the moment it is impossible to think clearly. Stepping back means allowing for space to fall between you and the situation you're facing.  Taking a deep breath means not reacting in the moment, until you understand what's going on. Rising above, gives you perspective and allows the petty reactions to fall away.
 
Only at that point can you fill the space that was created with the right response.
I found myself yelling at the workers, unable to tolerate their lies and ineptitude.  I wrote a biting letter about the delay tactics, excessive red tape and unreasonable requests of the Berkeley City Planning office, and a local newspaper published the letter. My landlord fluctuated between being understanding and pushy when I didn't open on schedule. I thought I'd lose my mind.
 
After I stepped back, took a deep breath, and surveyed what should have been a happy process (For 15 years I talked about owning a small Cafe, and now life gave me an opportunity to fulfill that dream), I realized that everything worthwhile has a price.  It needs to. Even if it seems too high, like this one did, and those young men learned a harsh lesson in dealing with me.

You see God practically pushed me into this. Here is how:

  1.  My daughter owned an Art Gallery across from UC Berkeley
  2.  The Candy store two doors up suddenly became available
  3.  She called me and begged me to come look at it, because it was so cute
  4.  I told her I was not leaving my well-paid job at AT&T even though I have talked about wanting a Cafe
  5.  I went to look just for fun
  6.  I loved the space.  It was indeed adorable and a great location, and the address was meaningful to me
  7.  For kicks I devised a menu, talked to the landlord (who also owned the Gallery space) and figured that maybe a family member could run the Cafe during the day and I could take over the last 3 hours if I indeed took the plunge
  8.  The landlord wanted too much rent, and since my bf told me I should be able to get a better deal with so many vacancies in the area, I walked away
  9.  The landlord called me 10 days later to say he'd accept my low offer since he loved my menu and concept, and how cool to be near my daughter
  10.  I negotiated and signed the lease
  11.  TWENTY FOUR hours later, I received a call from a Director at AT&T telling me I was part of the latest layoffs!
  12.  My severance pay was enough to finance my living expenses for a year, and provide a reasonable amount towards the many improvements needed for the Cafe
There were even more signs, but my goodness these were big.

So why did I find roadblock after roadblock when I started the Permit process?

I was very much a participant in the learning experience of several people in City Planning. The head Engineer, who was featured and named in my letter, hopefully learned that you can't lead customers on, and not do what you promised.  And that you can't live in your cushy bubble and ignore the needs of an individual who is trying to open a business for their livelihood, and drag the process out by asking for outlandish things like drawing the location of lights and the wattage for light-bulbs and the type  of light-bulbs on the plans... the location of the light switches and which one controls which lights...the degree of slant of the threshold to see if wheelchairs can go over the bump... and on and on and on. The Candy store would have provided all that info, and I wasn't changing those things!
 
But you see my error was in getting caught up in the details. What I mean by that is my focus was captured by the mundane.  I forgot Who was running the show.  I should have remembered every step of the way, that if God wants something to happen it will happen according to His timetable, His plan, and His will. Events in my life have made this very evident.

Nothing would have changed except my attitude

And guess what?   Most of the time THAT's what it's all about. Remember Job? Attitude.

If I had continued to move inside the Grace that was showered down on me, I wouldn't have lost perspective and I would have been more aware of the choices I made.  The amount of stress I put myself through would have been shaved down to a minimum.  This wasn't my project alone.  This was OUR project. And the proof was the amazing hand-picked people who became my loyal customers, and the relationships I built with many of them.
 
My Cafe became a haven for my regular customers. They would come for advice on treating symptoms, for help with finding work or a place to stay, for celebrating a success or milestone, to talk about someone they were interested in dating, and ask for special meals due to dietary restrictions.
 
An adorable 89-year-old woman came in one afternoon, and had tea.  It was slow, so we talked...and after a few minutes we were hugging. She shared that her son was losing a battle with an illness. A couple of weeks later he passed away, and she came back for another hug.  She said she had been very depressed the day she first stopped by my Cafe, and felt a ray of sunshine bathed her when she walked in. We still get together for lunch now and then, and we write or call each other.
 
My bf would laugh and ask me what other restaurant in the world people would feel comfortable going into and asking for something to help with an upset stomach or a sore throat?  Or if they could get a specific meal that wasn't on the menu?

I asked a good friend, who is an artist and took Arabic lessons from me, to make a 5' wood plaque that would go over the door in the Cafe ... he created a beautiful piece of art mimicking Arabic Calligraphy with the two words I wanted... In Gratitude.

So no matter what life has in store for you, no matter how dark things look in the moment, know in your heart that...

  1.  There is reason and it's usually a demand for inner growth
  2.  All things pass, and the sooner we let go of our self-pity or rebellion the sooner it will do so
  3.  If we can muster up acceptance and trust in the powers that be, we learn to weather the inevitable challenges in a mature and helpful way
  4.  It's not always about you! But you still have to play your part.
    Meditate
Perhaps in time I can learn to feel grateful for the privilege of being a participant in someone else's growth
St. Francis prayed: "Lord, Let me be an Instrument of Thy Peace."
Meditation, even for just 15 minutes a day, will help put each day's events in perspective.
Meditation is inviting that SPACE I spoke of. 
 
In stillness, answers come. 
In silence, Grace descends.
 

Apples and Butternut Squash

I inherited my current Crock Pot from a dear friend who moved to Atlanta.  

It had been a number of years since I owned a Crock Pot, maybe. I remember I have one when I walk by the rack it sits on, so it has yet to rent a permanent space in the cooking corner of my mind!

Crock Pots are wonderful for plan ahead, everything in one pot meals. Some of them are quite tasty, although scoffed at

by gourmets, but I've learned to relax and enjoy a wide array of cooking styles and approaches.

I love recipes that combine fruit and vegetables.  So many of them seem to be made for each other, like Butternut and Apples.

Pumkins and Squash

Recipe

This recipe makes a lovely side dish to curries, grilled chicken or fish.

  • 1 Tbs. organic grass-fed, Butter
  • 1/2 ts ground Ceylon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground Nutmeg
  • 1 lb organic Butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 5 cups)
  • 2 large tart organic Apples, cored, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (4 cups)
  • 1/2 organic White Onions, chopped
  • 3 Tbs. real Maple syrup
  • 1 Tbs. Balsamic vinegar

Combine spices in a small bowl, and set aside.

-butternut-squash
-butternut-squash

Put squash in Crock-pot. Add apples and onion.

Sprinkle with spices and add maple syrup.  Stir to combine well.

Cover and cook on LOW for 6 - 7 hours, or until vegetables are tender.  Stir in butter and adjust seasoning just before serving.

~ En Guete! ♥

When Supplements Become Dangerous

It's important to remember that Supplements are powerful, which is why we take them of course. But what we don't often think about is their potential interaction with prescription medications we are also taking.  Based on the meds I am taking, my MD probably couldn't tell me what Supplements to avoid, unless they were obvious ones. Do your research!

Supplements can increase the effect of some medications or inhibit the effectiveness of others. They may interact in a way that is less than desirable, so it's important to tell you doctor when you are thinking of adding supplements, and if she/he isn't sure about interactions, turn to the a reliable internet source, or better yet, an Anthroposophic or CAM practitioner.

Based on an article I read in an AARP publication, I did a little more research and am going to list some common Supplements and possible interactions here.

Aloe

Aloe Vera

Major interaction: Digoxin (Lanoxin)

When taken by mouth, aloe latex is a type of laxative called a stimulant laxative. Stimulant laxatives can decrease potassium levels in the body. Low potassium levels can increase the risk of side effects of digoxin (Lanoxin).
Taken orally, aloe vera may also interact with blood sugar-lowering medicine used to treat Diabetes.

Bitter Orange

This supplement contains chemicals that can speed heart rate and increase blood pressure to dangerous levels.

  • There have been reports of fainting, heart attack, and stroke in healthy people after taking bitter orange supplements alone or combined with caffeine. People should avoid taking bitter orange supplements if they have a heart condition or high blood pressure, or if they are taking medications (such as MAO inhibitors), caffeine, or other herbs/supplements that speed up the heart rate.
  • Due to lack of safety evidence, pregnant women or nursing mothers should avoid products that contain bitter orange.
  • Bitter orange oil used on the skin may increase the risk of sunburn, particularly in light-skinned people

GinkgoGingko Biloba

Ginkgo biloba interactions include bleeding when combined with Warfarin, raised blood pressure when combined with a Thiazide diuretic and coma when combined with the anti-depressant Trazodone (Desyrel, Oleptro, Beneficat, Deprax, Desirel, Molipaxin, Thombran, Trazorel, Trialodine, Trittico, and Mesyre).

Ginseng

Major Interaction: Warfarin (Coumadin)

Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. American ginseng has been reported to decrease the effectiveness of Warfarin (Coumadin). Decreasing the effectiveness of warfarin (Coumadin) might increase the risk of clotting. Do not take American ginseng if you take warfarin (Coumadin).

Moderate Interaction: Medications for depression (MAOIs) and Anti-diabetes drugs

American ginseng might stimulate the body. Some medications used for depression can also stimulate the body. Taking American ginseng along with these medications used for depression might cause side effects such as anxiousness, headache, restlessness, and insomnia.  Some of these medications used for depression include phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), and others.

American ginseng might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking American ginseng along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. Medication dose might need to be changed.  Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.

Kava

In March 2002, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an advisory to consumers of the potential risk of severe liver injury from the use of dietary supplements containing kava (also known as kava kava or Piper methysticum). Reports from health authorities in Germany, Switzerland, France, Canada, and the United Kingdom have linked kava use to at least 25 cases of liver toxicity, including hepatitis, cirrhosis, and liver failure, prompting some of these countries to remove kava from the market.

Avoid driving and operating heavy machinery while taking kava because the herb has been reported to cause drowsiness.

Licorice Root

  • In large amounts, licorice containing glycyrrhizin can cause high blood pressure, salt and water retention, and low potassium levels, which could lead to heart problems. DGL products are thought to cause fewer side effects.
  • The safety of using licorice as a supplement for more than 4 to 6 weeks has not been thoroughly studied.
  • Taking licorice together with diuretics (water pills), corticosteroids, or other medicines that reduce the body’s potassium levels could cause dangerously low potassium levels.
  • People with heart disease or high blood pressure should be cautious about using licorice.
  • When taken in large amounts, licorice can affect the body’s levels of a hormone called cortisol and related steroid drugs, such as prednisone.
  • Pregnant women should avoid using licorice as a supplement or consuming large amounts of licorice as food, as some research suggests it could increase the risk of preterm labor.

Melatonin

Major Interaction: Sedative medications (CNS depressants)

Melatonin might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking melatonin along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness. Some sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others.

Moderate Interaction: 

Birth control pills (Contraceptive drugs)

The body makes melatonin. Birth control pills seem to increase how much melatonin the body makes. Taking melatonin along with birth control pills might cause too much melatonin to be in the body. Some birth control pills include ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel (Triphasil), ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone (Ortho-Novum 1/35, Ortho-Novum 7/7/7), and others.
Caffeine
Caffeine might decrease melatonin levels in the body. Taking melatonin along with caffeine might decrease the effectiveness of melatonin supplements.
Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
Taking fluvoxamine (Luvox) can increase the amount of melatonin that the body absorbs. Taking melatonin along with fluvoxamine (Luvox) might increase the effects and side effects of melatonin.
Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)
Melatonin might increase blood sugar. Diabetes medications are used to lower blood sugar. By increasing blood sugar, melatonin might decrease the effectiveness of diabetes medications.  Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.
Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants)
Melatonin might increase the immune system. Taking melatonin along with medications that decrease the immune system might decrease the effectiveness of medications that decrease the immune system.   Some medications that decrease the immune system include azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), mycophenolate (CellCept)...
Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs)
Melatonin might slow blood clotting. Taking melatonin along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

For Full list Click Here.

St. John's Wort

  • Research has shown that St. John’s wort interacts with many medications in ways that can interfere with their intended effects. Examples of medications that can be affected include:Photo by Elizabeth J. Czarapata. Click for an enlarged version.
    • Antidepressants
    • Birth control pills
    • Cyclosporine, which prevents the body from rejecting transplanted organs
    • Digoxin, a heart medication
    • Indinavir and possibly other drugs used to control HIV infection
    • Irinotecan and possibly other drugs used to treat cancer
    • Seizure-control drugs, such as phenytoin and phenobarbital
    • Warfarin and related anticoagulants.

Taking St. John’s wort with certain antidepressants may lead to increased serotonin-related side effects, which may be potentially serious.

For more Info Click Here.

Vitamin K

Warfarin (Coumadin) interacts with VITAMIN K: Vitamin K is used by the body to help blood clot. Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. By helping the blood clot, vitamin K might decrease the effectiveness of warfarin (Coumadin). Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin (Coumadin) might need to be changed.

Yohimbe

  • Yohimbe has been associated with high blood pressure, increased heart rate, headache, anxiety, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, tremors, and sleeplessness. Yohimbe can be dangerous if taken in large doses or for long periods of time.
  • People should not combine yohimbe with MAO inhibitors as effects may be additive. Yohimbe should be used with caution when taken with medicines for high blood pressure, tricyclic antidepressants, or phenothiazines (a group of medicines used mostly for mental health conditions such as schizophrenia).
  • People with kidney problems and people with psychiatric conditions should not use yohimbe.
  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take yohimbe.

Zinc

FDA notified consumers and healthcare professionals to discontinue use of three Zicam Nasal Gel/Nasal Swab products sold over-the-counter as cold remedies because they are associated with the loss of sense of smell that may be long-lasting or permanent. The FDA has received more than 130 reports of loss of sense of smell associated with the use of the three Zicam products.  In these reports, many people who experienced a loss of smell said the condition occurred with the first dose; others reported a loss of the sense of smell after multiple uses of the products.

Conversely, if you are taking any of the following drugs, see cautions below.

Aspirin

Aspirin DEPLETES Folic Acid, zinc, potassium, vitamin C and iron. Avoid higher doses of the following if you take Aspirin. Vitamin E,. Bromelain, Garlic, Ginger, Magnesium, Ginkgo, all which act as blood thinners and thus could cause bleeding.

Ativan

Avoid any herbs that act as a sedative, like Kava Kava, Lemon Balm, Calif. Poppy, St. John's Wort or Valerian.  Exception: Melatonin.

Lisinopril

This also DEPLETES Zinc, which could lead to an increase in blood Copper levels and foster cancer angiogenesis and progression. Zinc supplements are encouraged if taking this medicine.

Lovastatin

Statins DEPLETE CoQ10, a nutrient needed for healthy muscle, heart and brain function. AVOID Red Yeast supplements with this drug.

Take Fiber supplements 1 - 2 hours away from this med to avoid reducing its absorption.

Niacin taken in large doses with this drug has been reported to cause potentially serious muscle disorders. Bu taking a low dose (500mg) actually enhances the effectiveness of the Statin drug. IT may also be beneficial to take Vitamin E with this drug to prevent the possibility of oxidative damage to LDL cholesterol.

Nadolol

DEPLETES CoQ10. Supplementation is recommended.

Kale Medley Wraps

Kale and Greens

medley bags from Trader Joe (baby kale, baby chard, baby spinach)  and decided to create an Asian Style wrap filling using that and a few other ingredients.

I had a cup of soaked and sprouted mung beans in the fridge, and about a cup of sprouted lentils that I cooked with green tea, onion, cumin, salt and pepper. So here's what was born from this starter.

Kale seasoning
Kale seasoning

Kale, Greens and Bean Filling

  • 5-6 cups mixed organic Greens (Kale, Chard, Spinach, Collards, Watercress, etc..)
  • 2 tsp.organic  extra virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 organic White onion, sliced thin
  • 1 c. organic Carrots, shredded
  • 1 c. cooked sprouted Lentils (cook in broth or green tea and spices to give it flavor)
  • 1 c. Mung Beans, soaked overnight till sprouted
  • 1/4 c. Water or Vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbs. organic Ginger, chopped
  • 3 Tbs. Tamari Sauce (Gluten Free)
  • 3 Tbs. Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 1 packet Stevia
  • 1 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper

Pour olive oil into a large sauté pan over medium heat, for 1 minute. Tilt pan to spread oil a little. Add onions and saute for 2 minutes, then add greens and carrots.

Stir for 5 -6 minutes or until greens turn bright.

carrot onion kale saute
carrot onion kale saute

Add Mung beans, lentils and water. Stir to mix.  When it starts to simmer, turn heat to Low, cover and cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Kale burrito filling 3
Kale burrito filling 3

Add ginger, and all seasonings.

kale saute _ginger
kale saute _ginger

Stir well, cover and simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until kale is tender. Add a little more water if necessary.

Taste and adjust seasoning.

Kale burrito filling 4
Kale burrito filling 4

Serve wrapped in wilted Chard leaf, whole grain Tortilla, or open face on whole wheat Pita bread. May also be served on top of wild rice or mixed in with buckwheat noodles!

 Bon Apetit!

Black Bean Brownies - Revisited!

On June 5th I re-blogged the Black Beauty recipe from Chronicles of Passion.  I said that I would post the results after I tweaked the recipe to fit in with our Anti-Cancer Diet.

Well, I baked up a batch last week, and below is the end result presented in photo and words.

black bean brownies
black bean brownies

Here is the recipe with my modifications

.

maple syrup Josephs
maple syrup Josephs
  • 1 c. organic Black beans, drained
  • 1 Banana, cut into 5 pieces
  • 1/4 c. organic Zucchini, shredded
  • 1 generous tsp. pure Vanilla extract
  • 1/2 - 3/4 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/4 cup organic Raw Cocoa powder
  • 3 Tbs. Xylitol or Chicory Root powder
  • 3 Tbs. pure Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tbs. brewed Green Tea or Water
  • 1/4 c. organic Oat Flour
  • Toasted Pecans (opt.)

Then I followed the recipe instructions for the most part.

Preheat oven to 375º F. Line an 8×8 inch pan with parchment paper and set aside.

Place beans and banana in food processor and pulse until completely mashed.  Add the rest of the ingredients and process until combined, scraping often.

black bean brownies 4
black bean brownies 4

Pour batter into pan, spreading it evenly, and push pecan pieces into batter.

black bean brownies raw
black bean brownies raw

Place pan on middle rack of oven.

Bake for 22-27 minutes, or until edges curl away from paper. The brownies may seem a little gooey, but they harden as they cool. Let cool on a rack and slice into squares.

I spread a little sugar-free (no artificial sweeteners) raspberry jam on my slice.. and oh my gosh.. it was amazing.  By the time J and I finished tasting them, 1/3 of the pan was gone!

I liked them cold out of the fridge the next day.

Do try this, and tell me what you think!

Make it Fruity

I'm sifting through my Hot Weather recipes to gather them for reference in the upcoming weeks of Summer.  

Fruit is the main feature in a number of tasty meals I am planning for many reasons... its nutrition content, its ease of preparation, its tastiness and its cooling effect, not to mention the gorgeous colors it brings to our table.

I replaced the dairy I used to use with Tofu here.  It's possible to serve this without the topping, and just sprinkling the mint on the fruit.  Watermelon and grapes have high sugar content, so don't overdo those two fruits.  Also make sure you bananas are firm and a little on the green side, since they too are overly loaded with sugar when ripe.

 

bowl-723390_1280.jpg

Makes 4 servings

  • 1/2 c. seedless organic Red Grapes
  • 1 c. organic Strawberries, halved
  • 2 c. organic Soft Tofu, crumbled
  • 2 Tbs. organic Mint, chopped

In a bowl combine Vegenaise, lemon juice, and Stevia; stir well and set aside.

In a large bowl combine fruit, and spoon into serving dishes. Mix Tofu with mint and divide among dishes. Serve with the dressing.

Enjoy!

What's that Black Stuff Doing in my Rice?... wondered Mochi

Black Glutinous Rice...

is an unprocessed, short grain,  that is purplish in color. It is also referred to as forbidden, sticky or sweet black rice.

Lotus Foods Organic Forbidden Rice, 11-Pound Bag
  1. Black rice bran contains high levels of the antioxidant anthocyanins. Anthocyanin is a water-soluble antioxidant that is common in blue and purple fruits. The American Chemical Society reported that you can eat 10 spoonfuls of steamed black rice to get the same amount of anthocyanins you would by eating a spoonful of fresh blueberries. (Those amazing blueberries!)
  2. Black rice has high fiber content because the bran is intact and is not processed
  3. Black rice also contains many essential vitamins and minerals. It contains high amounts of vitamin E, a fat soluble vitamin with antioxidant properties. Like most whole grains, black rice is a rich source of the B vitamins.
  4. Chronic inflammation is associated with diseases such as heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer's disease and many others. Black rice bran may help reduce inflammation.

I haven't priced this rice at Whole Foods yet, but 6 15-oz packs from Amazon are around $22 (so about $4/lb).

Sources:

The fiber content of Black Rice is similar to Brown Rice, so not really optimal with our Good Carb Formula:

Good-Carb formula:Multiply total fiber per serving by 10.  The resulting number should exceed the total Carbs per serving. The higher it is than total carbs, the slower it will break down and the less it will spike blood sugar.

But due to its antioxidant benefit, you can allow yourself a 1/4 c. a couple of times a week. Cook with coconut oil and chopped veggies, or eat with a protein to further slow down the glucose effect. OR for a treat, make Mochi Balls!

Mochi Recipe

  • 2 c. organic Black Sweet Rice
  • 1-3/4 c. Water (or Green tea, or half Blueberry juice)
  • 1/2 c. Xylitol (skip for savory Mochi)
  • 1/4 c. canned organic Coconut Milk
mochi
mochi

Fillings:

  • Seasoned, cooked organic Portobello. Shiitake or Maitake Mushrooms
  • Seaweed and dash of ginger
  • Baked organic Tofu and splash of Tamari

or:

  • Bean paste
  • Almond butter
  • A dollop of low-sugar Fruit Spread
  • Raisins

Preheat the oven to 325ºF, 170ºC.

Soak rice in water and coconut milk Then put in blender, bit at a time, processing until all is well blended. .

Pour batter in to a metal baking dish lined with foil, and then with parchment paper. Grease parchment paper with coconut oil.

Top with another greased sheet of parchment, so it's touching the batter, and another piece of foil right against the parchment so they are touching.

Bake for 1 hour.

Let Mochi cool for an hour, then remove from pan inverting onto a surface dusted with potato starch. Be careful as Mochi will be super sticky.

Form into balls with filling of your choice, or cut into tiny squares dusting with potato starch.

You can toss Sweet Mochi on cereal, a top no sugar Sorbets, or enjoy as is with Green Tea! Savory Mochi can be added to soups and stews, or filled and enjoyed as a snack.

~ Itadakimas! ♥

Parks and Cool Hot-Weather Recipes

Our city has 4 lovely public parks, each with its own unique character and attractions.  Our family is large..( 2 of my siblings live within a mile of me) so between our 9 children and their significant others, and children we're about 28 people. When we all get together it's often outdoors!

Being blessed with a family of excellent cooks, potlucks have less to do with luck and more with certainty! The certainty of tasty dishes from everyone.

Regular Cast of Characters

These appear at most every picnic event we hold:

  1. Authentic Homemade Hummus
  2. Tabbouleh  or Fattoush
  3. Marinated Chicken Kabobs for grilling
  4. Kafta for grilling
  5. Baked Beans

Below are 3 additional Summertime Recipes for your files.  I chose ones that don't take a lot of prep, and that are full of the Fantastic Foods you want to incorporate into your daily diet.

Quinoa and Mango Salad

This recipe can be made several hours before and refrigerated. Take it out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving.

Mango Quinoa salad
Mango Quinoa salad
  • 2 c. brewed Green Tea
  • 1 c. uncooked Quinoa
  • 1 c. Mango,  cut into small chunks (not too ripe to cut back on sugar content)
  • 1/2 c. sliced organic Green Onion
  • 2 Tbs. dried Cherries, chopped (opt.)
  • 2 Tbs. organic Parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 c. extra virgin organic Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbs. Apple Cider Vinegar (I recommend Bragg's organic)
  • 1 tsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1/8 tsp. Black Pepper

Combine tea and quinoa in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 15 minutes. Then transfer to a large bowl.

Add mango, onion, cherries and parsley and mix well.

Combine liquid ingredients with spices and whisk until blended. Pour over quinoa, and mix.

This makes about 8 servings.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Tropical Chicken Macadamia Salad

Spicy Vinaigrette

Combine the following in blender, adjusting seasoning as preferred:

tropical Chicken salad
tropical Chicken salad
  • scant 1/4 c. organic E.V Olive Oil
  • 1/4 c. Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tbs. Cayenne sauce
  • 2 tsp. Curry Powder
  • 2 tsp. Stevia
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1/8 tsp. Black Pepper

Reserve 1/2 c. of dressing.

Chicken Salad

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless organic free-range Chicken Breasts
  • 8 c. rinsed and torn Watercress and Boston or Green Leaf organic Lettuce
  • 1/4 c. coarsely chopped unsalted Macadamia Nuts
  • 1/2 c. shredded organic Coconut, toasted
  • 1 Tbs. organic Red Bell Pepper, diced (opt.)

Place chicken in large resealable plastic food storage bag.  Pour remaining dressing over chicken. Seal bag, and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Heat oven to broil, or prepare barbecue grill. 

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Remove chicken from marinade. Grill or Broil 10 - 15 minutes or until center is no longer pink (165º F).  Arrange greens on a platter. Slice chicken breasts and arrange over greens. Tops with nuts, coconut and bell pepper. Serve with reserved dressing.

Makes about 4 servings.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Egg White Salad

This high protein salad has less than 2g. of fat per serving, and a whopping 11 g. of protein.

  • 6 Hi Omega-3 hard-boiled Egg whites, chilled and chopped
  • 1/2 c. chopped organic Celery
  • 1/4 c. chopped organic Red Onion
  • 1 Tbs. chopped dill or sweet organic Pickles
  • 2 Tbs. chopped organic Parsley
  • 3 Tbs. Vegenaise
  • 1 tsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tsp. organic Lime Juice
  • 1/2 tsp. organic Lemon Juice
  • 1/8 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1/8 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. Cayenne (opt.)

Mix dry ingredients in a medium size bowl.

Mix dressing ingredients in small bowl, whisking till blended.  Pour over egg mixture.  Chill for 30 minutes.

Serve on lettuce leaves, whole grain crackers or on Gluten Free or Whole Grain organic bread.

~ Bon Apetit!

When Chickens Wander to Vidalia

It's time to replace the old adage about "An Apple a Day" - with a new one -

"An Onion a Day"

While it may not win you more friends, it will relieve inflammatory bowel conditions and boost immune function, break down certain cancer-causing compounds, reduce the body’s absorption of cholesterol, AND also fight fungus!
 
In Georgia, where Vidalia onions are cultivated, the mortality rates from stomach cancer are about half the average for the United States. Also, the Chinese rank among the largest population of onion lovers, and guess what?  Their risk of getting stomach cancer is 40 percent lower than it is for people who shy away from them.
So let's add onions to our recipes with generous abandon.

Roasted dinner

Chicken and Vidalia Onion Casserole

Preheat oven to 350ºF, 175ºC.
  • 4-5 Boneless Organic Free Range Chicken Breast halves, cut into quarters
  • 1 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Cold-pressed organic Coconut Oil (to coat casserole)
  • 3 organic Sweet Potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4"
  • 4 c. organic Vidalia Onions, chopped
  • 3 c. organic Portobello Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 c. Almond Milk
  • 2 Tbs. Brown Rice Flour
  • 1 Tbs. Worcestershire Sauce
  • Sea Salt, Black Pepper, and Paprika, to taste
  • Dash of Cayenne, opt.
Rinse chicken and pat dry.
Over medium heat, lightly sauté chicken breasts in oil and drain on paper towel.
Grease a 2-quart casserole with coconut oil.
Mix milk, rice flour, Worcestershire sauce together.
Layer sliced potatoes, onions, mushrooms and chicken. Top with milk mixture and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and paprika.
Cover tightly with lid or foil (not touching chicken) and bake at 350° for 1 hour.
Serve with whole wheat bulgur, quinoa, or wild rice Pilaf.
~ To Your Health!

Power Breakfast Ideas

During treatment, one of the last things you feel up to doing is thinking about what to eat. You already know it's critical that you alter your diet if you haven't yet, but to call upon mental resources to focus on cooking the right things is a challenge. I am blessed that many family members live within 1 - 10 miles of us, so three of my nieces took it upon themselves to rotate weeks and cook 2 main dishes for me (compliant with my diet), which they delivered the 3rd day after each Chemo treatment...when the side effects manifested! They made enough so that I got at least 4-5 meals out of each delivery.

Breakfast was easy once I got into the habit of shopping for the groceries I would need early in the week, (either my daughter or Jon would replenish fresh produce as we ran out), and developed a few routine favorites.

Lunch and snacks depended on what I had in the fridge or the pantry, so I was sure to stock healthy, easy to prepare foods...Sardines, organic beans, hi-fiber bread or RyeVita crackers, salsa, baby carrots, spinach, lemons (for squeezing in tea and on almost anything), almond butter, organic fruit spreads, coconut milk, homemade hummus, avocados and nuts. I'll post some ideas for these two meals soon.

Remember that you are eating to both support your immune system and to boost your energy during treatment. Spice up your food to instantly add antioxidants.

To help you develop the knack of easily creating healthy breakfasts, or for someone who may prepare them for you, I put together the Power Breakfast Guide below.  Be generous with the use of spices you like in any of these breakfasts.

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Berry Oats: ¾ c. of organic oats, 1 cup blueberries, blackberries, raspberries or sliced strawberries, 1 Tbs. chopped almonds or pecans, 1 Tbs. freshly ground flax seeds, coconut or cashew milk, a sprinkle of nutritional yeast and cinnamon. Add cup of Matcha* or Sencha green tea (buy in bulk on Amazon).

*Matcha is premium green tea powder from Japan used for drinking as tea or as an ingredient in recipes. Matcha is rich in nutrients, antioxidants, fiber and chlorophyll. One glass of matcha is the equivalent of 10 glasses of green tea in terms of nutritional value and antioxidant content

Parfait: 6oz. of organic soy or coconut yogurt, 2 Tbs. fresh ground flax meal, and 1 cup organic berries (blueberries, cherries, raspberries, blackberries, mulberries..), a slice of gluten free hi-fiber toast with a tsp. of Coconut Oil, and a cup of matcha or sencha green tea.

Jeanne's Special: One or two boiled organic hi-omega-3 eggs with 1/2 cup steamed spinach, kale or swiss chard and 1/2 cup rosemary-baked sweet potatoes, cup of green tea.

Tasty Lebanese Eggs: Poach 1 or 2 organic hi-omega-3 eggs. Mix 2 Tbs. tomato paste, dash of salt, and 1 Tbs. hot water and stir.  Finely chop 1-2 fresh organic garlic cloves and lightly sauté in 2 tsp. ev olive oil on medium low heat, until pale golden. Add tomato paste and stir. Top poached eggs with tomato mixture and sprinkle with black pepper. Serve with 1 hi-fiber piece of toast, 1 c. fresh spinach or a handful of watercress and a cup of green tea.

Mediterranean: Whole grain toast topped with 1 tsp. flax or hemp oil, 1 clove garlic crushed with a dash of salt and 1 tsp. nutritional yeast, cucumber, basil and fresh tomato slices, and a cup of green tea with dash of black pepper.

Oats n Apples: 3/4 c. Organic steel-cut oats with grated red apple (with skin), 1 Tbs. chopped almonds or walnuts, 5 - 6 organic raisins, 1 Tbs. flax seeds freshly ground, cinnamon and coconut milk.  Remember your tea!

Miso-Veggie soup: (miso, spinach, bok choy, mushrooms, tamari, scallions), and 1 slice of whole-grain rye-flax toast with almond butter, cup of green tea with dash of black pepper.

Breakfast Burrito: Fill a whole wheat or gluten-free high-fiber tortilla with 1/2 cup black beans, chopped romaine lettuce, chopped green onion, avocado slices, salsa, grated home-made Almond cheese and a chopped boiled egg.

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smoked_salmon

New Yorker: Hi-fiber Rye bread or mutli-grain topped with tofu sour cream, smoked salmon, red onion and organic lemon slices, and 1/2 cup steamed green beans. Don’t forget your green tea with dash of pepper!

Tofu scramble: cook silken tofu with grated carrots and zucchini, mushrooms, spinach, garlic and a dash of cumin, or do the same with scrambled hi omega-3 eggs, and 1 slice whole grain toast topped with "better butter" (mix equal parts organic grass-fed butter/flax oil).

CheeseyToast: Toast 2 slices hi-fiber Flax Seed bread (like Udi's) topped with sliced cassein-free Almond cheese, tomato slices and a sprinkle of organic thyme. Serve with 1/2 c. steamed Spinach drizzled with olive or flax oil and a dash of salt and cinnamon. Cup of Matcha tea.

~*~*~*~*

~ Be Well! ♥