Wednesday, July 14, 2021
Just over a year ago, my husband and I switched to a "whole food plant based diet." Some would call it "vegan" but it is more than that. It's not just avoiding animal products, although that is part of it. We only eat "whole foods" such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes (beans and lentils, etc.), nuts and seeds. We use no added oils, and only a very modest amount of added salt and natural sweeteners. (maple syrup, molasses and a little honey) I use unsweetened applesauce instead of oil in baked goods, and flaxseed meal as a substitute for eggs. I sauté in water or vegetable broth (yes, it really works!) I ran across some information about this on Facebook and became intrigued.
I know that food preferences and addictions get in the way of most people when they are trying to restore and protect their health. It's an interesting thing. After 3 weeks of eating this way, my husband said, "You know. I don't crave chocolate anymore." You could have knocked me over with a feather. What that tells me is that his intense chocolate cravings were being caused by some deficiency in his diet.
More than 2/3 of American adults are overweight or obese. This, of course, leads to heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, auto-immune disease, cancer, arthritis and most of the other things we can be afflicted with as we age. This way of eating is the only way that has been proven scientifically (and for many years) to actually reverse heart disease, cure diabetes and help to prevent all those other terrible chronic conditions.
My husband had open heart surgery (quadruple bypass) about 6 years ago. Since then, he's had stents placed two times, so things weren't looking good. Now, he's definitely improving. The pain he used to get when we'd walk (in his legs) no longer bothers him. The swelling he used to get above his socks that he noticed when he took them off at night is gone. His blood pressure plummeted and he's currently taking much less blood pressure medicine and it's looking like he might need to decrease it some more soon. His cholesterol, which ran about 400, is now well below 200. He was able to drop another of his medications. The angina is all but gone. This is all after only 13 months.
And here is what I've noticed with my own health. I have much more energy. I am 72 years old. I can work hard outside in the garden for hours and not get tired. Sometimes I get tired of being hot and come in for a while, but I do not get worn out. The macular puckering in my eyes that was blurring my vision seems to be gone. I can see clearly now and colors are more vibrant. The varicose veins in my left leg that appeared during my last pregnancy have improved and stopped advancing. The spider veins that were appearing around my ankles are all but gone. The osteoarthritis in my hands is some better. I am able to knit and crochet now, which is something I could not do for a number of years. I was able to quit taking the products I was using for hot flashes. I still have them, but they are very mild and infrequent and not a problem anymore. My cholesterol went from 285 to 180 in a few months. All my other blood indicators are excellent. My blood pressure is very good. My hair and nails grow faster. :)
For me, this has been easy. I am that type of person. For some others, it may be more of a struggle, but I tell you what.... it is SO worth it. And we no longer miss any of the foods we used to eat. It's so strange. There are many books written on this subject.
I just wanted to share this will all of you just in case you might be interested in looking into it. I suggest that your read this book: The Starch Solution by Dr. John McDougall.
There are also many wonderful cookbooks availabe.
I also suggest that you watch this film. This is what got us started on this path. You will be amazed.
We also take a Vitamin B12 supplement daily. That is a whole different topic that I won't get into right now. Truth be told, everyone should be supplementing with B12.
Sunday, April 4, 2021
My mother grew up on a farm in North Dakota, in the early 20th century. They had chickens, but their chickens laid white eggs. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but she told me that for Easter, her mother would boil the eggs with onion skins in the water to make them be a pretty color. I always think of that. I made these hard-boiled eggs a couple of days ago and wondered what she would think. These come from the chickens of a friend of mine, and they are brown, tan, white and even blue! Araucana chickens lay blue and green eggs. There is no need for me to color them at all, but if you DO color eggs, there are ways to do it naturally and not have to use chemical colorings.
Hard boil your eggs, and allow them to cool completely. Make sure they are well dried before placing them in the dye baths. Immerse the eggs in the coloring liquid to which you have added 2 Tablespoons of white vinegar (per quart of liquid) and put them into the refrigerator. Go back from time to time and check on the color. When it is as you wish, then remove the eggs and discard the dye liquid. The longer they soak, the deeper the dye color. After coloring, be sure to store your eggs in the refrigerator!
1. Onion Skin Dye Yellow to Gold
To make dye from yellow onion skins, place several skins in your pot of water. Boil them for a little while and allow the mixture to cool with the skins in the water. Then drain off the water to use for the actually dyeing. Add the vinegar. Put the skins in your compost. Soak your hard-boiled eggs in this dye bath and depending on how many eggs you use and how concentrated the dye bath is, you can get warm tones that range from gold to a lovely terra cotta.
2. Cranberry Dye Light Blue
To use fresh cranberries, boil 4 cups cranberries in 2 cups cold water until the berries burst. Let them cool. Drain and save the liquid. Add the vinegar. For a light blue, soak only a short time. If the eggs stay in very long, they will become dark gray in color.
3. Turmeric Yellow Dye
In a quart of water, simmer 1/4 cup of ground turmeric. Cool. Strain, add the vinegar and proceed.
4. Red Cabbage Blue
About 3/4 of a head of red cabbage chopped up will make a lovely blue. Again, cook for a while, cool in liquid, strain, add the vinegar and then dye your eggs.
I am sure there are a number of other recipes you can use. These are the ones I am familiar with.
You might wonder why I'd go to the trouble...? I used to use food colorings when my children were still at home. I was not aware of the natural choices besides the onion skins. This natural method is healthier, of course, and I think a lot more fun!
You can make patterns on the eggs by drizzling them with melted wax or wrapping them with rubber bands before dyeing.
Easter is coming soon! Make your plans and have fun with this.
I have blogged about this previously, but I will mention it again here. This is the BEST way to make hard-boiled eggs. even very fresh eggs will peel easily and you won't have the unattractive green layer between the yolk and the white of the egg.
To Hard Boil Eggs
1. Bring a 3 quart saucepan half-full of water to a boil. 2. Using a push pin, poke a tiny hole in the large end of each egg. 3. With a slotted spoon, place all of the eggs in the boiling water. 4. When the water begins to boil again, set your timer for 10 minutes, and reduce the heat so the water is simmering. 5. While the eggs are cooking, prepare a bowl of ice water. 6. When the eggs are done, immediately transfer them to the ice water. Let them sit in there for a few minutes. 7. Drain and peel when you are ready!
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
In about a month it will officially be Spring! I put sweet potatoes in jars of water this morning to grow slips for this year's garden. It did my gardening soul good. Happy Gardening 2021!!! That is one thing the pandemic did not affect. I was still able to grow food. I enjoyed it very much last year.
Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Thursday, November 26, 2020
Here in the United States of America, on the 4th Thursday of November each year we celebrate "Thanksgiving Day." It is a time when families and friends gather together and share a special feast and thank God for our blessings. The last time our whole family was together for Thanksgiving was in 1991. Then our children started growing up and leaving home. Today, partially because of the worldwide pandemic, my husband and I celebrated Thanksgiving with each other. We had a lovely time.
In May of this year, we began eating a "whole foods plant based" diet. Essentially, that is a vegan diet, but with important conditions. We eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds and legumes. We don't use any added oils or fats. We don't eat any meat, poultry or fish and we use no dairy or eggs. We avoid most processed foods. I do buy whole grain pasta and certain condiments, but nothing with added fats. I make my own oat milk and it is very economical. It's not something we really drink, but we use it on porridge and in cooking.
We started this after watching this movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1LUj3kxB9M&list=PLvFgN9QYT1HtoYPfyIEn8aiuLL3KjCM8o
My husband has heart disease, and his cholesterol level has always been very high. Mine was high, also, but not like his. Since changing what we eat, our cholesterol levels are normal. I know it will take time for the full benefits to happen to us, but very quickly we noticed improvement. Here is a list of what I've noticed for myself.
1. Within two days I had a lot more energy. I could go out and work in the garden for hours.... work hard and never become tired. Sometimes I got tired of being hot and would come inside for a while, but I was not fatigued. Keep in mind that I am nearly 72 years old.
2. I was able to stop taking the things I was using for hot flashes and my hot flashes are not nearly as bad as they were.
3. My varicose veins have improved and the spider veins on my legs are nearly gone.
4. Last year I was diagnosed with "macular puckering" which caused some blurring of my vision. That is entirely gone. I can thread a needle now with no trouble.
5. I rarely feel hungry and there are no cravings at all. I do not miss the foods I quit eating. I remember that after two weeks, my husband said,"I don't crave chocolate anymore." I was astounded! He has always craved chocolate.
6. I can eat all I want and my weight stays normal.
7. I work out with weights some in our garage. I used to do 3 sets of 5 reps squatting with 90 pounds. Now I just go ahead and do 20 reps in one set. It became that much easier. I've also begun a little jogging. My husband and I walk 3 miles nearly every morning together and now I can do some jogging. I hope I can increase that. I have not done any running in decades.
8. My hair and nails are growing faster.
9. I got to buy some new cookbooks!
Here is a picture of me and our little Thanksgiving meal that we had today. I was very proud of myself. It was all delicious. It's been quite a "learning curve" to get into this, but if you have health issues, or want to do all you can to avoid (or cure) heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and many cancers, you can eat very simply and be perfectly healthy this way. In fact, you could live on sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli and be fine for a long time. I recommend this book as a wonderful place to begin: https://smile.amazon.com/s?k=the+starch+solution+by+dr+mcdougall+paperback&crid=136SVW9HL1NAL&sprefix=the+startch+solutio%2Caps%2C568&ref=nb_sb_ss_sc_1_19