The horse's pasture to the East...

Thursday, May 26, 2016

DINOSAURS AT THE TABLE or How I Dumped White Flour

On with the show! Everyone has different ideas on how to let go of your sugar cravings. I need to let you know (and probably will repeat this every time I write  about diet and nutrition) that I am not an MD, or even a Nutritionist by trade or education, at least not a formal education. I'm someone's Mom, Grandma, Wife, Sister, Aunt, Friend, Artist, me. And I pay attention to my inner voice. It's directed me for all of these years and, so far so good. That being said...

We're getting ready to move in to your 7th week of leaving sugar and highly processed foods behind. At this point you've almost certainly snuck in to your best friend's kitchen (because I didn't say anything about your "best friend's kitchen" and, at this point, you're an 'attorney' of sorts who is finding every grey spot there is so you can justify eating glorious, rich, sweet, gooey, sexy SUGAR.) to eat some cake and ice cream, cookies or to have a cup of cocoa. Damn, damn, double damn! It tasted good didn't it? You're an addict and you just took a hit! 

So now what? There are things that mimic sugar. I prefer raw, unfiltered, organic honey myself but there is also stevia. It's so popular as a sugar substitute that you can find it in regular grocery stores and it even looks like white sugar. Sigh... DON'T USE THAT. It's highly processed. If you're going to use stevia go to the health food store nearest you or the section of your store that sells bulk spices and herbs and buy the real stevia. It's green, an herb. And it will probably come in the form of something that resembles ground oregano. And it really does taste sweet. Buy the organic stuff and learn how to use it. It's stronger than sugar so 1/2 tsp will be sweeter than a tsp of sugar. Cooking with it? That's another subject. 

How about 100 % organic Maple Syrup? Organic Molasses? Each of these sweeteners is natural and brings it's own set of flavors and nutritional essence to your table without being highly processed. 

Your 7th week is going to begin the process of letting go of highly processed grains ie. white flour. We'll also start learning how to let go of those oh so easy boxed and frozen meals. Yikes! Teeth chattering thrills and spills! 

Week 7. 1. Go to your pantry (you know what's coming here so put on your Big Girl Panties and get to it!), freezer, basement and garage storage and find your bags of white flour, bleached or unbleached, and THROW IT OUT. 

This step is in two parts. 2. While you're pulling out the flour, get rid of the white bread, tortilla's, pasta and(except the 100 % whole grain pasta), crackers (most of which have sugar in them unless you went head blind and forgot to notice that when you culled this stuff out before...sigh. Believe me, I know all about it. I make excuses too.) 

OK. You're kind of shaky at this point. And you probably need some new ideas on what to fix for dinner when you have crazy kids to feed and the day has been 107 hours long. (My sons grew up eating like this and they did rebel and eat junky crap for a while. But they also did it with money they earned and figured out pretty soon that not only was it expensive but brought on pimples, a tire around the middle and cavities. Not bad lessons to learn by themselves.)

How about fixing some 100% whole grain spaghetti and serving it with your own home made sauce? You can make a sauce by buying a large can of organic tomatoes, blending it in to a creamy texture, adding things like a pinch of oregano and rosemary, some freshly ground pink sea salt and black pepper, a tsp or two of organic first press olive oil and heating it up while the water comes to a boil and the pasta cooks. (My Italian friends are cringing at this point. I apologize. This is my version of 'fast food'.) Serve with grated parmesan cheese (the real deal, not Kraft) and a nice side salad with fresh greens, chopped sweet red pepper, chopped or sliced radishes and a handful of organic, dried cranberries. All kinds of colors and textures. Make your own dressing with olive oil, basalmic vinegar, pink sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss it and serve.

Want variations on a theme? How about adding fresh sugar snap peas and fresh pears cut in to thin slices, to the salad? Toss in a handful of nuts to either the salad or the sauce. Mushrooms cut up in chunks and cooked in to the sauce are tasty. Or add some chopped up tomatoes to the sauce for texture; celery, green pepper, sweet peas. Use your imagination! 

If everyone is still craving grains, buy some really good, crusty, 100% whole grain artisan bread and lightly butter the slices and toast them just before you serve dinner. 

If you eat meat, add grass fed, local hamburger, cooked well, to the sauce. (I'm vegetarian. And, yes, not even bacon!)

This meal will take you thirty minutes, tops, to fix. It takes less time if you don't eat meat. Get your children involved in the process too. They can clean and tear the lettuce, slice the radishes and red peppers, or even add in their own ideas. You'd be surprised how creative and willing to eat unusual combinations kids are if they are part of the process. Bonus: Your children grow up learning how to cook. Major life skill there!

Need more ideas? Invite a dinosaur to dinner. They always liven up the meal.

OK. Definitely getting silly here. But laughter always helps while you're letting go of easy, crappy, over processed food. 

How about making a Frittata? You'll need :

A large, preferably iron, frying pan. If you don't have an iron pan (really good for you to cook in, by the way. Wee, tiny bits of iron become part of your diet...microscopic of course. I use the pan my Grandmother cooked in. A good iron pan becomes a family heirloom!) than use a large stainless steal pan with a stainless steal handle. Stay away from wooden or plastic handles. This goes in to the oven as part of the recipe. You don't want to ruin your cook ware.

Olive oil (preferably first press, virgin, organic)

All kinds of veggies, chopped. I like to use combinations of onions, green and/or red sweet pepper, mushrooms of any variety, a sweet potato and/or baking potato chopped in small pieces, zucchini and yellow squash sliced or chopped thinly, fresh radishes from the garden, sliced thin or any other vegetable combination you come up with. Sometimes I throw in some sliced pear, cranberries or apple.

A cup or two of shredded cheese, any kind you prefer. Organic, made from raw milk is best if you can find it. But any kind of cheese will do. Variations on a theme are nice here because your frittata will be different every time. Same goes for the veggies too, by the way. Make those as simple or complex as you like. 

Six to eight eggs, beaten as if you were going to be making an omelet.

Pink sea salt and pepper, freshly ground. A tiny pinch of dried, ground hot peppers is nice. Or add a drop of rosemary essential oil. Or a crushed or chopped clove of garlic. You get the picture. Variations on a theme.

Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. 

On top of the oven put your chopped veggies etc in to your hot pan with the olive oil and cook just until the veggies are in that between place ie. not crunchy, not soft. Pour your eggs flavored with whatever you're using that night over the veggies and evenly sprinkle the cheese(s) on top.

Put your whole pan in to the oven for fifteen minutes. 

Serve with a fresh fruit salad on the side and maybe some nice, dense, 100% whole grain bread with real butter. We usually eat this meal without the bread. It's very filling. But if you have children who are growing and hungry, add the bread. Better yet, make your own! But that's another article.

This meal, again, takes 20 or 30 minutes to prepare. Nice way to relax at the end of the day, cooking. One of my places to meditate. And, yes, both of my sons learned how to cook like this. Make teaching your children how to cook with real food a game. I promise, they'll love it especially if you crank up some good tunes and dance in the kitchen!

Week 8 on the next post. I'll write down some of my all time easy, peasy recipes for you too. You are going to have so much fun!

In the meantime, start keeping a journal. Write about your frustration, your excitement, recipes, funny stories, all of it. You are making some major changes in your life. It's worth noting! Who knows. Maybe you'll end up writing a book!

I am, ever yours, Nancy, head back and laughing at the way things go!

And here's Apple meeting her first tree frog, in case you need to laugh again.

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