Saturday, February 27, 2010

Grilled Marinated Tuna Steaks

Although I am incorporating more raw foods into my diet, I am a pescetarian and include some seafood. One book that has been very helpful and healing for me has been Diet for a Pain Free Life. The premise is that if we are to reduce pain in our bodies then we need to eat the right foods, exercise, improve our mood and quality of sleep, and lose weight. I've adapted this recipe for marinated tuna from page 125 of Diet for a Pain Free Life, which is quite delicious and easy to prepare.

I'm also going to begin incorporate pH balancing with my recipes, as an imbalanced pH, especially if acidic is a breeding ground for illness and disease. But, acid-alkaline biochemistry is a topic for another post.

I cut the recipe in half for the two of us and served our tuna steaks with steamed red rice, lightly steamed zucchini and turmeric cauliflower. Tuna, the marinade and red rice are acidic, while zucchini and cauliflower are alkaline. Turmeric (mixed with with feta and hemp seeds) tossed with the cauliflower is a potent anti-inflammatory spice.


4 4-ounce tuna steaks
1 teaspoon
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
1/2 cup red wine
1 teaspoon Splenda
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1-2/3 cups porcini mushrooms, sliced (optional)

  1. Place the tuna in a shallow dish and season with salt on both sides.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine 1-1/2 tablespoons oil with the remaining ingredients and whisk.
  3. Pour the mixture over the tuna steaks and marinate for 15-minutes.
  4. Remove the steaks and put the remaining marinade in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
  5. Blot the steaks and brush with the remaining olive oil.
  6. Grill the steaks on the stove top or on the barbecue 2-3 minutes each side or until you have achieved the level of doneness you desire.
  7. Serve over a bed of steamed baby boy choy (optional)
  8. When serving the tuna steaks, drizzle the hot marinade over the top of the steaks.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Ask me! via Formspring. me at

A fun way to ask me any questions you have about a gluten-free lifestyle and a raw foods diet, cooking, recipes... or asking me anything you want! I also have an Ask Me! widget in the sidebar, if you return and have more questions for me.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Reversing Diabetes with a Raw Foods Diet

A significant event that influenced why I decided to incorporating more raw foods into my diet is when I watched the documentary Simply Raw with friends at a raw foods meeting and potluck last fall. Having been informed by my doctor that my test results indicated that I am pre-diabetic (also, a genetic predisposition in the women in our family), which means if I don't watch my diet more closely, lose some weight and exercise regularly - I will become diabetic... the subtitle of the film Reverse Diabetes in 30 Days seriously piqued my interest. What I saw and learned was absolutely astonishing.

Based on what I have read and been told by the medical profession all my life, I believed that once a person becomes diabetic, their diabetes it's irreversible. The shocking truth is that diabetes can be avoided altogether and completely reversed in most diabetics - both Type I and Type II - in 30 days!

Because of the impact this documentary film has made on my life, I have modified my diet to eat more raw foods (delicious by the way!), I am exercising more and I am loosing weight. I look forward to seeing the results of my next tests. There should be a significant change in the results! I will report back and let you know.

I encourage you to watch the video and learn the truth for yourself, and order a copy to share with your friends and loved ones who are suffering, even dying from the ravages of diabetes. There is hope!

Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days

Measuring Equivalents - Baking Pan Substitutions

Have you ever found yourself stuck trying to calculate measuring equivalents for a recipe or come up with a baking pan substitution while in the middle of cookin' up something tasty in the kitchen?

Here are some lists and links with conversions that you can print and post on your refrigerator, bulletin board or tuck between the pages of your favorite cookbook and keep a copy in a waterproof, zip-pouch baggie with your camping gear.

Make it a fun learning experience for your kids to learn equivalents and substitutions.

Measuring Equivalents
  • 16 tablespoons = 1 cup
  • 12 tablespoons = 3/4 cup
  • 10 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons = 2/3 cup
  • 8 tablespoons = 1/2 cup
  • 6 tablespoons = 3/8 cup
  • 5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon = 1/3 cup
  • 4 tablespoons = 1/4 cup
  • 2 tablespoons = 1/8 cup
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons = 1/6 cup
  • 1 tablespoon = 1/16 cup
  • 2 cups = 1 pint
  • 2 pints = 1 quart
  • 3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon
  • 48 teaspoons = 1 cup
  • 8 fluid ounces = 1 cup
  • 1 pint = 2 cups
  • 1 quart = 2 pints
  • 4 cups = 1 quart
  • 1 gallon = 4 quarts
  • 16 ounces = 1 pound
More information on weights and measures:
  1. Bedrock Press: a variety of Culinary Weights and Measures and Conversions.
  2. Epicurious: a Metric Food Measurement Converter of recipe ingredients.
  3. Gourmet Sleuth: a Gram Conversion Calculator and a Cooking Conversion Calculator that converts weights, volumes, metric, U.S. and U.K. for over 7000 food items.
  4. Fact Monster (terrific resource for kids): Cooking Measurement Equivalents with a conversion calculator and much more.

Baking Pan Substitutions
  • 10" x 3-1/2" Bundt = two 8" x 2" Rounds
  • 10" x 2" Round = 9" x 9" x 2" Square
  • Standard 12-Cup Muffin Tin = 8-1/2" x 4-1/2" x 2-1/2" Loaf = 9" x 1-1/2" Round = 8" x 8" x 1-1/2" Square
  • 9" x 2" Round = two 8" x 1-1/2" Rounds = 10" x 15" x 1" Jelly Roll = 8" x 8" x 2" Square

Monday, February 22, 2010

Birdie Bread

Do you happen to have an exotic bird for a pet... a pet parrot? I do. I have a green-cheeked, yellow-sided conure.

His name is Picasso and he's a picky eater. He loves his seeds, millet sprays, apples, almonds, grapes and strawberries... and birdie bread. One way I have been able to introduce a greater variety of foods into his diet and improve his nutritional intake is by cooking him birdie treats.

Birdie Bread

2 boxes of Jiffy cornbread mix
2/3 cup applesauce
1 jar baby food carrots or sweet potatoes
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen corn (optional)
1/2 cup pellets

Mix together and bake at 400-450 degrees for 15-30-minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean. Cool. Freezes well.

Birdie French Toast

2 eggs
1 jar of fruit baby food (any kind)
1/4 cup milk
bread slices (use a nutritious bread that is full of nuts and seeds)

Mix all the liquid ingredients together and dip the bread in. Pan fry until golden brown. Cool.

Corn Cake

1/2 cup milk
4 cups corn
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup yellow corn meal
6 tablespoons peanut oil

Combine all of the ingredients, pour into a greased 8X8 baking dish. Bake at 350-degrees for 35 minutes. Cool. Freezes well.

Banana Nut Oatmeal

2/3 cup old-fashioned oat meal
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1-1/3 cup apple sauce

Cook all of the ingredients together for 5 minutes. Cool. Freezes well.

Beans & Rice

1-1/2 cup bean mix
1/2 cup split peas
1/2 cup brown rice
1/2 cup cracked corn or corn grits
1/2 cup dried bell peppers

Soak beans overnight, drain, rinse, cover with water again and boil for 2 minutes. Cool 1 hour. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer 1 hours. Freezes well.

Be sure to completely cool cooked treats before giving to your bird.

Basic bird diet for parrots - the three-bowl system:

  • Fresh water
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Pellets, nuts and seeds
The mainstays of a parrot's diet:
  • apple
  • banana
  • berries
  • grapes
  • mango
  • melon
  • orange
  • papaya
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • chilies
  • corn
  • green beans
  • kale
  • peas
  • spinach (limit - binds calcium)
  • sweet potatoes
  • cooked chicken
  • cooked eggs
  • pasta (raw or cooked)
  • cooked rice
  • whole wheat bread
  • yogurt (limit - birds are lactose intolerant)
Do NOT feed your conure: alcohol, avocado, cabbage, chocolate, fruit pits, iceberg lettuce, parsley, sweets or salty snacks. Read What Not to Feed Your Conure.

Organic. It's Worth It in Schools

I've been concerned about school lunches for many years. There are a number of agencies and non-profit organizations, which are educating the public and advocating for healthy lunch programs. Here are two proactive organizations I support that I encourage you to connect with and support in any way that you can.

Organic. It's Worth It in Schools. Here is a repost from Mountain Rose Herbs about this campaign:
"Kids across the country should have access to organic foods with no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, irradiation, or genetically modified organisms - especially at school, where it's so important for growing bodies and brains to have healthy fuel. Supporting organic gardens and farms that do not use harmful pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, helps lessen our impact on the earth and promotes healthier neighborhoods and ecosystems where children live, play, and learn.

Help the Organic Trade Association provide organic food to a school near you! The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is calling on teachers, parents, students, educators, and others to join the “Organic. It’s Worth It In Schools.” initiative to vote for their favorite school to win an organic garden complete with seeds, soil, and expert gardening support; or a fully stocked vending machine, featuring items like milk, fruit, cheese, yogurt, and organic snacks.

Through May 1, 2010, when you visit you can “vote” for a school by signing up for an electronic newsletter featuring organic tips, recipes, news, and more. You can also write a letter to your school, sign and circulate a petition, or read and share the fact sheet on OTA's website to help us spread the word that organics are worth it for the health and well-being of our world."

Learn more about organic foods.

Another important campaign to support is Slow Food's Time for Lunch Campaign. Watch this short video.

USDA UPDATE: February 23, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Presents Obama Administration's Priorities to Improve National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs. Vilsack Urges Congress to Pass Strong Reauthorization of Child Nutrition Act for Overall Health and Nutrition of America's Children.

Please share this blog post with those who are educators, caregivers, guardians or parents of school-age children K-5 and above at home.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Raw Vegan Pasta Primavera

It's been some time since I've cooked or enjoyed a classic Italian pasta entree at home or at a restaurant. This raw version not only satiated my craving for rich, delicious Italian flavors and texture, but my appetite was completely satisfied sans the heavy, overly-full feeling that often accompanies a traditional pasta meal.


2 yellow squash
1/2 cup dried tomatoes, hydrated in water for 2 hours
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 sun-cured pitted olives
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 fresh parsley
1/4 cup pine nuts
optional: for making pasta puttanesca: red pepper flakes to taste, 1/2 teaspoon capers (rinsed)
sea salt to taste*

  1. Slice the squash into long, thin noodles. Set aside in a medium bowl.
  2. In a food processor, combine the remaining ingredients and pulse until well-blended, but still chunky.
  3. Toss the sauce with the noodles and serve.
*Avoid over-salting. Be aware that the olives (and capers) may be very salty, therefore additional salt will not be necessary.

Serves 2-4

Adapted from the cookbook Rawsome! Page 203.

Asparagus Vinaigrette

What to do with a lovely bunch of asparagus? Serve with Hollandaise sauce? I could, but I don't want the calories. No. I made a tasty vinaigrette to drizzle over lightly trimmed and steamed asparagus. No need to marinate the asparagus in the vinaigrette, but you certainly can.

I recommend buying asparagus with firm stalks and tips. Depending on the thinness or thickness, steam the stalks 6-8 minutes to serve al dente. This vegetable side dish or salad alternative is crisp and bursting with fresh, zesty flavor.


1-2 bunches of asparagus
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1-1/2 tablespoon Champagne or white wine vinegar
Pinch of sugar
Freshly ground black pepper or cayenne to taste
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon tarragon, finely chopped

  1. Trim and steam asparagus for 6-8 minutes or boil in salted water until bright green, about 3 minutes and plunged into an ice water bath. Drain well and pat dry and place or serving platter.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar and sugar. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add the oil in a small stream, whisking until all is well-blended.
  4. Whisk in the lemon zest and tarragon until all is emulsified.
  5. Drizzle the vinaigrette over asparagus and serve.
Serves 4

If you don't have wine vinegar, lemon zest or tarragon on hand, you can make this classic vinaigrette dressing:


2 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
6 tablespoons olive oil

  1. Combine the first four ingredients.
  2. Gradually add the oil, whisking until all is emulsified.
Makes 1/2 cup.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Spanish Rice, without the rice.

After an afternoon of biking and walking, I worked up an appetite. I wanted something refreshing, yet filling... and quick. I had all the ingredients on hand to make Spanish Rice with fresh, organic produce. It took all of 15-minutes. And, did I say it is absolutely delicious?!


2 cups of grated jicama
10-12 ounces, fresh or thawed kernel corn
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 green onions, chopped
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and chopped
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt

  1. Combine all the ingredients and mix well.
Serves 4-6

Adapted from the cookbook Rawsome! Page 209

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Black Pepper Blues

How many times have you discovered that what you were looking for was hidden in plain sight? Like car keys. For me, an unsolved health mystery was solved this past year, when I discovered a food irritant that was hidden in plain sight. Black Pepper.

I had seen numerous doctors, allergists and dermatologists over the years... not one of them mentioned black pepper as a possible allergen or food irritant. Nor did I find much on the Internet. I discovered it on my own, after eliminating many other foods from my diet including gluten, that I am indeed intolerant of black pepper... a seasoning I love and put on every savory meal I served, day after day... all my life. It turns out that I do not react adversely to any other type of pepper, so I am able to substitute black pepper with cayenne just fine.

Another discovery I made is that one can develop combined-food allergies and irritations. Black pepper and raw tomatoes are toxic to my system. Who doesn't like freshly sliced tomatoes with mozzarella, fresh basil leaves, drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil and freshly cracked black pepper?

Whether an allergen or and food irritation, there may be a sea of people in the world, like me, who have a negative reaction to black pepper, but are unable to recognize it as being the cause of their symptoms. For me, black pepper does not cause an anaphylactic response, but a host of hard to diagnose problems from head and sinus to esophagus and gut, including gastroespohageal reflux disease (GERD).

Food Irritants

"In contrast to a food allergy, a food intolerance is not an immuno-response. Symptoms may include any irritation to your digestive system, such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, heartburn, bloating, cramps, constipation, or diarrhea, but will not include a rash, hives, severe anaphylactic shock, or long-lasting damage to your digestive system, as can sometimes happen with food allergies. Discovering which (if any) foods you are intolerant to is often a matter of keeping track of your diet and symptoms. A elimination diet or diet journal may be helpful." - IBS Diet

After eliminating black pepper from my diet, my chronic symptoms completely disappeared. When ever I dine out, I am very selective about what I order, always verifying that the dish want to order is gluten and black pepper free. Occasionally, there is black pepper in take-out food, which becomes apparent within minutes or hours of ingesting it. I do the best I can, but black pepper is a common seasoning in most savory foods.

Food Allergies

I found only a hand full of online articles about black pepper as an allergen: allergynursing, helium, squiddo, ehow and allallergy. If you suspect your child may have food allergies, check out Children Specialists of San Diego.

Vinaigrette for Vegan Caesar Salad

I much prefer a zesty vinaigrette bursting with the flavor of seasonings and herbs over a thick, creamy dairy-based salad dressing any day. A good vinaigrette not only enhances the enjoyment of eating fresh greens, assorted vegetables and fruits, but it aids digestion, as well. Read more about making perfect vinegar dressings.

Vinaigrette for Vegan Caesar Salad


1 head romaine lettuce, washed and dried
1/4 cup lemon juice or 4 tbsps apple cider vinegar (1/4 cup = 4 tbsps)
1 cup water
1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons shredded kelp (if you don't have kelp, don't let it stop you from making this!)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper or 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric (one of nature's anti-inflammatory spices)
1-2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup macadamia nuts or pine nuts, soaked for 4 hours, then rinsed (without the nuts, the dressing is watery, but still delicious and refreshing)
1/2 cup walnuts, soaked for 4 hours, then dehydrated until crunchy (6-12 hours)

  1. Tear bit-sized pieces of romaine and place it in a large serving bowl.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a blender and blend well.
  3. Pour the vinaigrette over the romaine lettuce.
  4. Top with crunchy walnuts. Croutons optional.
Learn how to make your own freezeable, gluten-free croutons.

Recipe adapted from the Rawsome! cookbook. Page 156.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Home Body Fat Test, True Confessions and more....

In order to track my health and fitness progress, I am logging my body measurements and percentage of body fat. I wasn't sure how to estimate my own body fat, until I discovered a slick online body fat calculator at Health Central. According to Fit or Fat guru Covert Bailey, the American male has 22% body fat, while the average American woman's has 32% body fat. Mine is lower than the average American woman, but higher than the average Caucasian woman. Okay, if you really want to know, my body fat is 28%. I can't believe I'm sharing that tidbit with you! So, I hope by being perfectly open and honest I will encourage someone to take this health and fitness challenge with me. We can do this!

Before you go to Health Central to plug in your measurements, take the following measurements with a cloth tape measure: waist, the widest part of your hips (with your feet 4-inches apart), calf (place your weight on your dominant leg and measure your calf at its widest part - about half way between your knee and ankle), thigh (stand with your feet about 12 inches apart. Measure your upper thigh at the widest part) and wrist (measure in the dip between the bony part of your wrist and the start of your hand).

I also measured my neck, chest and arms. I've created a chart to track my weight, body measurements and body fat throughout the year. I'ts my intention to reach my health and fitness goals within 5 months, before my 60th birthday coming up on July 22nd. Yikes, I can't believe I just told you that, too! Crazy! Where did the time go?

Besides including more raw foods in my diet, keeping my body hydrated and getting regular exercise and quality sleep, eating optimally nutritious foods regularly will as help to stimulate my metabolism. If I eat right and burn calories, I will reduce my body fat. Common sense and consistency is the key. That's my plan in a nutshell.

Back in the '80's, I went on the Cabbage Soup Diet and lost 14 pounds in 14 days. Fad diets come and go - weight loss is inevitable, but often the weight packs back on. Anyway, my weight always did. because fad diets are not sustainable. The most sensible approach is to eat clean and eat three meals a day, following the one o'clock rule, occasionally cleanse our system by fasting and burning more calories than we take in. What I did take away from the Cabbage Soup Diet was the soup recipe. It's a nutritious, tasty soup and you can change the ingredients and seasonings for variety. I enjoy this soup cold.

I made up a batch of this soup last night to have on hand throughout the week to ease my way back into adding food back into my diet after a 6 day fast. Tonight, I start adding more raw foods to my diet.

Cabbage Soup Recipe


6 large green onions (I also add one yellow onion)
2 green bell peppers
1 or 2 cans of tomatoes (diced or whole) (or 4 whole fresh tomatoes, chopped)
3 carrots
10-ounces mushrooms
1/2 head cabbage
1 package Lipton soup mix (I use 2 vegetable bouillon cubes)
1 48-ounce can V8 juice
Flavor with any of these seasonings: cayenne pepper, parsley, curry, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, cilantro, mint, etc.

  1. Slice green onions, chop onion and saute in a pot with a splash of olive oil.
  2. Cut, stem, de-seed and chop the peppers and add to pot.
  3. Take the outer leaves of the cabbage and chop into bite-size pieces and add to the pot.
  4. Slice the carrots in rounds or chop and add to the pot.
  5. Slice the mushroom and add to the pot.
  6. For variety, you can add 1/2 pound of green beans, 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  7. If you like your soup spicy, now is the time to add seasonings to the pot.
  8. Add about 12 cups of water or 8 cups of V8 juice, cover and cook on low heat.
  9. When the vegetables are tender, season to taste with salt and pepper (I've never had to).
To add protein to your diet, you can add cooked beans and rice, crispy tofu or tempeh or prawns during the last minutes of cooking. Add more water, as needed. Eat this soup for lunch or dinner or in-between meals instead of snacking when you are feeling a bit famished.

Interested in transitioning to a raw foods lifestyle? Read the Boutenko Family, also known as the Raw Family, story and visit the All Raw Directory website for a plethora or raw food resources.

P.S. One way you can challenge yourself to shoot for your personal goals is to take a contract out on yourself with Last year, I completed a 12-week commitment to exercise a minimum of 3 days per week, and at the beginning of January I took out an identical 12-week contract. The incentive is that if you don't meet your weekly goal, it costs you. An incentive that works for me is to donate to an anti-charity, if I fail. So far, it hasn't cost me a penny.

Give Your Heart a Valentine

For those of you with children, PBSkids LunchLab website and tasty webisodes encourages kids to eat healthy, teaching them how to cook up nutritious meals, walking them through recipes and preparation step-by-step and educates them through music, games and videos. If you allow your children monitored computer time, preview the site, and if you think your children would enjoy the episodes, watch it with them. It will give you and them some great ideas for meals to make at home, while they learn about taking good care of their bodies, including their heart:

"Give Your Heart a Valentine," performed by Freezer Burn, the FIZZY'S LUNCH LAB band, is a love song dedicated to the heart, AKA the "buddy in your chest," exploring how the heart supports the body and how it benefits when you make healthier eating decisions.

Helpful tips for parents and caregivers: How to Create a Good Eater.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Rawsome! Mushroom Loaf

My 6-day fast has come to an end. I have plenty of energy and have dropped 7 pounds. I feel great and I want to stay feeling that way. So, I'm following up by transitioning to more of a raw foods diet.

Raw food. Not only does this raw mushroom and nut loaf make for a great family dinner entree, but it is a big success with guests during the holidays. I served it at our raw foods potluck and party last December; everyone was amazed how good it was. I'm serving it on Valentine's Day, too.


1-1/2 cups almonds, soaked overnight, then rinsed
1-1/2 cups pecans, soaked overnight, rinsed, then dehydrated until crunchy - about 12 hours
1 cup chopped fresh shiitake mushrooms (if dried, soak for 2 hours first)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon of herb mixture: 1 tablespoon each of dried: sage, thyme, rosemary and parsley
1/2-3/4 cup water
4 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
3 tablespoons flaxseeds, soaked in 6 tablespoons water for 15 minutes

  1. Puree all of the ingredients in a food processor until well ground, except the celery, onion, bell pepper and soaked flaxseeds.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the celery, onion and hydrated flaxseeds with the rest of the ground ingredients and mix well.
  3. Shape the mixture into a shallow loaf on a solid dehydrator sheet and dehydrate for 12 hours.
Serves 8

Recipe adapted from Rawsome! - Maximizing Health, Energy, and Culinary Delight with the Raw Foods Diet by Brigitte Mars. Page 202.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Celiac Disease - Do you know what it is? Do you have it?

I just got off the phone with my doctor's office. I called to inquire how long ago my physican ordered a celiac blood test for me. I was blown away. I was tested August 2007. That means I've lived gluten-free for 2-1/2 years!

Celiac Disease - The best resources I have found on line to learn about this disease is the Celiac Sprue Foundation, whic is dedicated to ongoing research, education and support to help those that suffer from celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis, and the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness' Celiac Central. The mission of NFCA is to not only help those who suffer from gluten sensitivity to gain a diagnosis, but seeks to help improve the health of those who have been diagnosed.

From the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA): "Celiac disease is an autoimmune digestive disease that damages the villi of the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. What does this mean? Essentially the body is attacking itself every time a person with celiac consumes gluten.

Celiac disease is triggered by consumption of the protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye. When people with celiac disease eat foods containing gluten, their immune system responds by damaging the finger-like villi of the small intestine. When the villi become damaged, the body is unable to absorb nutrients into the bloodstream, which can lead to malnourishment.

Left untreated, people with celiac disease can develop further complications such as other autoimmune diseases, osteoporosis, thyroid disease, and cancer." Learn more.

Once I learned about Celiac Disease, gluten intolerance, it became clear that this was probably the hidden, underlying root to some of, if not most, of my health problems over the years. It is common that blood tests for Celiac Disease return negative, meaning no - you are not a Celiac according to test results. This happened to me. Because, I had so many gut and food sensitivities and allergies that are symptomatic of those with this disease, my physician suggested that I simply remove all foods containing gluten from my diet and see what would happen. I did, and I immediately began to feel relief - the absence of discomfort, and positive changes in my body, my digestive system and overall health, which made it an easy decision live a gluten-free lifestyle for the rest of my life.

There are more than 300 symptoms of Celiac Disease, which varies among sufferers, and can show up in early childhood or later in life in adults. Diagnosis has bee problematic, and according to NFCA 95% of Celiacs have either been undiagnosed or misdiagnosed as having other conditions. This would be me. Check out the list of symptoms and if you think you might have Celiac Disease, take this short survey by the NFCA, their celiac disease symptoms checklist.

For more information about Celiac Disease visit National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Are you a Celiac? Having a hard time finding gluten-free foods in your area? Check out Gluten Free Mall and Your Gluten Free Source.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Rebooting a Life

I'm getting a late start kick-starting the new year with new resolutions. After three weeks of being sedentary post-op, it's time to unblock, to reboot my life. Yesterday, I started a cleanse using the Master Cleanse Lemonade detox regime. No food, no medications or supplements, no beverages other than pure water for 6-7 days. Day 2 and I'm doing great. Not a bit hungry. More energy.

I also want to start this year with more positive changes in my life than just cleansing my body. Changes that will cleanse my mind and spirit. I'm doing some personal housekeeping, sweeping out the cobwebs in my mind and dusting off some of my previous resolutions, reactivating or ramping them up for 2010.

Here is my list of 18 positive ways I'm rebooting my life.
  1. First thing I do when I wake up is to greet God and thank Him for whatever immediately comes to mind. Invite Him join me as I embark on a new day and ask Him to reveal to me what He would have me do to share His love.
  2. Drink a large glass of room temperature water to hydrate my system.
  3. Shower and dress (although a nice luxury, no more working from my home office in my PJs unless feeling under the weather).
  4. Continue to eat clean eat raw, drink more water and abide by the one o'clock rule - breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen and dinner like a pauper. No starchy "super sugars" (breads, potatoes, rice, pasta or beans) after 1:00pm.
  5. After breakfast is my time to read in my Bible and pray. Update prayer journal daily with requests and answers to prayers.
  6. Set regular "work" hours and take regular visual breaks, as well as break to move around and stretch.
  7. Review and revise work priority-list and track progress, daily and weekly.
  8. Take a break late morning or in the afternoon to write something in my journal.
  9. Make life easier - make daily entries into bookkeeping system and do more menu planning.
  10. Write a handwritten letter or call a friend or family member I've been out of touch with for a while.
  11. Find new educational opportunities to avail myself of - cooking, writing, photography, and videography, software.... schedule more time, more often for sketching, painting, textiles....
  12. Spend time outdoors EVERY day. Walk to the post office rain or shine.
  13. Sign up for new volunteer opportunities to serve others in my local community.
  14. Exercise or walk prior to my last meal of the day.
  15. Take at least one photo or make one video every day - life is made of moments.
  16. Continue to live simply, use less, recycle more and reduce energy consumption at home.
  17. Watch movies less. Spend more time reading in the evenings.
  18. Print out my Reboot Agenda and post it in my office and on my refrigerator. Carry a copy with me. Add to or revise my list as needed.

What kind of changes or re-commitments have your made when you've rebooted your life?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sweeten Up Your Valentine with Gluten-Free Macaroons

Macaroons are what my sweet tooth graves when I want to enjoy a gluten-free dessert. My husband buys me freshly baked macaroons at a local French patisserie. But, now I have a fabulous recipe to make them right at home, whenever the craving strikes. Dipping in organic, rich, dark melted chocolate is an option... just suggesting.


"This is the ultimate sweet Valentine treat that is actually good for you. There are ridiculously easy to bake, so enjoy!"Gorgeously Green


6 egg whites
¼ tsp. sea salt
½ cup agave nectar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
3 cups shredded coconut
1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

  1. Pre-heat oven to 325°F
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk egg whites and salt until stiff.
  3. Fold in agave, vanilla, coconut, and cocoa powder.
  4. Drop the mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, one rounded tablespoonful at a time.
  5. Pinch each macaroon at the top.
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned.

Fit to Serve Basics

My friend Brad Bloom, publisher of Faith & Fitness Magazine, posted a fitness challenge for 2010 inviting readers to submit an application to be considered to be one of five participants in a yearlong fitness challenge to reduce their overall body mass, while being personally coached by Coach Tim Powers.

Click on image to read the Faith & Fitness article about Coach Powers' book Fit to Serve.

Here is an excerpt about the 2010 Fit To Serve Challenge from the Faith & Fitness article Read, Set, Engage! by Coach Powers:


"... I want to share with you common strategies that I am having all (the "fab five") of them integrate into their daily and weekly physical fitness workout programs:

- All five on our team believe that they need to reduce their overall body mass, i.e. Body fat percentage. So, I have invoked the “one o’clock rule” for each one them. This rule states that they are not to ingest any starch carbohydrates after lunch. Starchy carbohydrates are considered a “super sugar” and include grains, flour, breads, cereals, chips, pasta, rice, beans and potatoes. They have been encouraged to have as much starch as they want for breakfast and lunch, but not after that. If you want dessert, have it for breakfast.

- The five will all be on an eating modification system where they will eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen and supper/dinner like a pauper. God created the human body to have its highest metabolic rate of burning calories from three o’clock in the morning through approximately eleven o’clock in the morning. By one o’clock in the afternoon physiology starts to ramp down. Supper is still a significant meal, but only in terms of actual hunger and not appetite and the enjoyment eating good tasting food.

- The team will be eating as organic as possible in terms of finances and convenience. The biggest concept will be to not eat any genetically modified breads and cereals and meat and poultry that have been shot up with growth hormones and antibiotics. Additives, preservatives, color dyes, pesticides, fungicides and herbicides are considered toxic and unsafe to consume for your 75 trillion cells. God has hard-wired them to recognize danger, so they encapsulate these poisons with body fat to protect the body.

The team will for the most part be engaging in two exercise sessions per day five days per week – 90 to 120 minutes in aggregate duration. The morning is the best time to train in resistance exercise such as weight-training and run sprints. Most our five will be weight-training three days per week and running sprints three days per week (trust me, they will all be easing into these protocols). The best time to train aerobically is at the end of your day and before your last major meal. Our goal to achieve an arterial blood cleaning and strengthening of the heart and lungs with a non-competitive workout such as power walking, light running, cycling, swimming or any other workout that they can sustain a “steady state” of 70% to 75% of their maximum intensity."

Great tips! Meet the team and join me to take the fitness challenge at home. Read more.

Faith & Fitness Magazine is a lifestyle resource to build physical and spiritual strength. It helps readers make connections between the Christian faith and their fitness lifestyle. It is your tool for powerful, healthy, and passionate living.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Eat-Clean Movement

I invite you to watch a great new food series, the Clean Eating series on Life's Delicious TV with Robin Shea! In full disclosure, I need to tell you that Robin is a member of our extended family, but she does a terrific job of explaining the concept of "clean eating" and sharing healthy recipes with her viewers. Check it out. Maybe you will win a copy of The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook!

Series description: "The Eat Clean Series, Part One of Five! Enjoy the first of a five-part series on Clean Eating. Robin will introduce you to Basic Clean Eating, as well as advanced Uber-Clean Eating. She will also introduce you to Author and Fitness Model Tosca Reno; visit http://www.rememberlifesdelicious.blo... for your chance to win Tosca's The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook."

The Master Cleanse Lemonade

Since having surgery, I've been thinking about a body cleanse to rid myself of toxins, and post-op medications. I've come across the Master Lemonade Cleanse and am going to give it a try, starting tomorrow through Sunday. I hope it works for me. I do have a black pepper allergy, but not sure about cayenne pepper. I should know within a day or two. I'll report back how I did on The Master Cleanse Lemonade detox.

Before you try this cleanse, read the book The Master Cleanse by Stanley Burroughs or visit this The Master Cleanse website for more information about the The Master Cleanse. You can buy all the ingredients locally or order online a Master Cleanse 10-Day Organic Kit.

The Master Cleanse Lemonade is prepared by mixing the ingredients in the following recipe:

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice. Use organic lemons, fresh, not bottled juice. Limes may be substituted. Lemon zest and pulp may be added, making sure that the lemons are organic and not artificially colored or treated with pesticides

2 tablespoons of maple syrup. This must be pure maple syrup, not pancake syrup, Grade B, which has more color and nutrients than Grade A.

1/10 teaspoon cayenne pepper.

Water. 8 ounces, preferably spring water, but not tap water or chlorinated water. Drink 6-8 glasses minimum each day.

AnswerBag - It is recommended to do this cleanse either once a week or do it twice a year, spring and fall for 6-10 days. Galeanda claims to experience after a few days increased energy and after day 6 or 7 feels like it's time start adding foods very slowly into the diet, starting with veggies and fruits and maybe some rice. You can add a food group back as you feel the need. It is recommended to stay away from 'white' foods such as white sugar, white flour and processed foods for as long as possible."

Do not use honey in the lemonade.

Do not take any kind of supplements or vitamin pills or using illicit drugs. You shouldn’t smoke or drink alcohol, coffee, tea, cola. Evidently, when you are on this cleanse your cravings for them usually completely disappear.

No other food or drink should be consumed at all. If you get hungry, you can drink all the lemonade without harm.

To help you eliminate your bowels during this liquid cleanse, it has been recommended to either take Trifala (triphala) capsules (available at health food stores), drink an herbal laxative tea like Smooth Move or drink a sea salt water flush (2 tsp. with 32-oz. of luke warm water - listen to Jim's recommendation in the video below).

Watch this short video for making larger batches of the Master Cleanse Lemonade. I found this to be very helpful. Jim shops at Whole Foods for the ingredients, then takes it all home to make 32-ounce or 64-ounce jugs of the cleansing lemonade.

Let me do a little math for you here for larger batches. For every 8 cups of water, add 1 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice and 1 cup of Grade B pure maple syrup, along with 4/5 of a teaspoon, or to make it easier measure 3/4 of a teaspoon, of cayenne pepper. I mix and store this size batch in an empty distilled water jug. Shake well, before measuring out each 6-8 ounce serving throughout the day. One large batch provides your enough servings for one day of a 6-7 day cleanse.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Search for the Best Local Gluten-Free Baked Goods

Although I rarely bake or eat pastries or desserts, I keep my eye open for the best gluten-free baked goods sold commercially, especially a firm, but moist slice of gluten-free bread I can toast.

A couple of months ago, my husband purchased a freshly baked loaf of Tarte Desserts & Bakery's Gluten-Free Multigrain Bread for me at Market of Choice. Visit Tarte's website for other locations. So far, Tarte's Multigrain is my favorite gluten-free "toasting" bread of all I have purchased to date. It freezes well. Rainbird also specializes in gluten-free buttermilk, white pumpernickel, ciabatta rolls and amaretto biscotti, has developed a line of gluten-free pastries and plans to open a gluten-free cafe. Tarte opened in October 2009. Rainbird advertises her business solely by word of mouth. S0, tell your friends!

Photo Credit: Trask Bedortha, Eugene Weekly

Read the full article about Tarte in Eugene Weekly featuring Tarte's owner Phoenix Rainbird in their Winter 2010 CHOW! publication. Tarte is located at 1037 Maxwell Road, Eugene, Oregon.

Do you live in Portland, Oregon? I highly recommend New Cascadia Traditionals - The Gluten-Free Artisans. Whenever I visit Portland, I look for them at the Portland State University Saturday Farmers Market to satisfy my carving for their rich, dark chocolate gluten-free brownie. Chris and Teresa's artisan breads, baked goods and gourmet desserts are incredible!! This past year they moved into a new location at 1700 SE 6th Avenue.

Where are you shopping for your gluten-free baked goods in your area? What are your favorite products? Any disappointments?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Healthy, Hearty, Homemade Lentil Soup

Feeling kind of funky like me or want something nutritious waiting for you at home to eat following a long walk? Make yourself a pot of this hearty lentil soup - rich in proteins, plus a good source for B-vitamins. Here's my recipe. Delicious!


2 cups lentils (I use a mix of regular red lentil and french lentils)

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 large potato, diced

1 large onion, diced

1 large carrot, diced

1 15-ounce can stewed tomatoes

2 quarts organic vegetable broth

1 teaspoon thyme

1 6-ounce can tomato paste

2 cups water

Juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon sea salt and pepper to taste


1. Sort lentils looking for debris, bad lentils and rocks

2. Place in strainer rinsing them thoroughly

3. Place lentils in a large soup pot, add water and

tomato sauce cooking on medium-high heat.

4. Peel potato and carrot and dice. Dice the tomato,

onion, and mince the garlic.

5. Add everything to the pot, except the salt, pepper and lemon juice. Let it cook for 45-50 minutes on medium-low heat (simmering); check your water adding more, as needed. Sample the lentils. If they’re soft the soup is ready. If not, cook until tender.

6. Stir in the juice of 1 lemon and 1 teaspoon sea salt or salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and corn tortilla chips, optional.

Adapted from Ero Fit & Associates' recipe. Thanks to Wonders of Walking for sharing the link.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Curry Tempeh - A Laptop Meal

A laptop meal is especially great for those recovering from an illness, injury or surgery. My definition of a "Laptop Meal" - - nutrient-rich, no cutting required, easy to chew and digest, and not too brothy (avoids spillage).

My husband prepared this nutritious Curry Tempeh laptop meal for me the other night, so we could enjoy dinner with a movie, while keeping my leg elevated and iced at the same time.


2 bunches green onions
1- 14 ounce can light coconut milk
1/4 cup gluten-free soy sauce, divided
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons chile paste
1 pound tempeh or tofu, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (browned to crisp in a little oil)
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
4 ounces fresh mushrooms, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
4 cups bok choy, chopped
salt to taste

brown rice, steamed

  1. Chop green onions: white part, finely chop; green part, chop into 2-inches pieces.
  2. In a large heavy skillet or wok over medium heat, mix coconut milk, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, brown sugar, curry powder, ginger and chile paste. Bring to a boil.
  3. Stir in tomatoes, yellow pepper, mushrooms, and finely chopped whites of the green onions.
  4. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Mix in the browned tempeh or tofu, basil and bok choy.
  6. Season with salt and remaining soy sauce.
  7. Continue to cook covered or uncovered depending on how much broth you prefer, until vegetables are tender but crisp - - about 5 minutes.
  8. Garnish with remaining green onion.
  9. Serve over rice.
Serves 3-4

The extra serving was great reheated for lunch the next day.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Diet for a Pain Free Life's Berry Nice Smoothie

Two weeks and four hours post-op and this is the first time I have been able to sit at my computer for more than a minute or two. So, I have to make this really short.

First I want to thank my daughter Effie for the amazing meals she cooked for us, which nourished us for a week and a half. And thank you to my husband who has taken care of my every need for the past couple of weeks without complaint.

Pain makes you cranky, exhausted, agitated... and did I say cranky?

A couple of days ago, I remembered a book I have on my shelf that I wished I'd thought of pre-op. Diet for a Pain Free Life by Harris H. McIlwain, MD and Debra Fulghum Bruce, PhD. Although my current diet pretty closely matches the recommended diet to live "pain-free"... anything I can do to better manage and reduce my level of pain nutritionally is essential.

My husband has been making me the Diet for a Pain Free Life's Berry Nice Smoothies for the past couple of days. Probably the best smoothie I have ever had. I love the zesty zing of fresh ginger.


2 cups ice
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (or raspberries)
1/4 cup fresh or frozen blackberries or raspberries
1 cup calcium-fortified vanilla soy or rice milk
1/2 cup pineapple chunks (fresh or in juice)
1/2 banana (frozen)
1 tablespoon Splenda
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger


In a blender, pulse all the ingredients until smooth.

Serves 2

Wishing us all better health and a pain-free life!