Lifestyle Medicine – Your health care answer?

Today many people are wondering, how can I really get the health care I need? The government system doesn’t seem to be working too well, I’m running out of personal resources, and I feel terrible — maybe even, I’m really sick and feeling desperate!

Lifestyle Medicine is all about taking responsibility for your own health with the aid of professionals in this area and seeking to determine and deal with the causes of disease and not just the symptoms.

Dr. Michael Greger does a real nice job in a just a few minutes to give you an overview of why lifestyle medicine is the answer to many of today’s problems in health care. Please enjoy and feel free to comment below on what you found most interesting and or helpful.

Watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ofBnzmQMsA

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Crookneck Squash Chips

This summer is flying by and it has been so busy I’m afraid this blog has been neglected!  Today I have a fast and summery recipe on my mind. Seems like summer squash is often available in incredible quantities, especially if you are growing them. A friend gave me a boxful of yellow crookneck squash and I determined they would not go to waste! So I tried making dehydrated chips out of some of them. Ithink they turned out quite edible. You can easily vary the flavor – so try them out and see what you think!

Wash the squash very well and remove the stem end and a thin slice off the blossom end. Slice about 1/8th of an inch thick. Because squash are so high moisture, if you slice them any thinner (like with a mandolin) they end up sticking to the dryer and falling apart when you try to get them out.

Toss with a little olive oil and seasonings of your choice. Here are some of the things  I tried:

  • salt
  • chicken style seasoning
  • paprika and garlic powder and salt
  • seasoned vegetable salt.

I think the chicken was my favorite but all were good. Dry them at about 130°F until crispy. Remove them and immediately place them in airtight container, like a canning jar with lid and ring. They absorb moisture quickly and will lose their crispness if allowed to sit before packaging.

I also dried some plain and plan to throw them into tomato sauces and vegetable soups randomly.

Tomato Onion Relish

This is a very simple and tasty way to deal with a bountiful summer harvest of homegrown tomatoes when you’re tired of tomato sandwiches, tomato soup, salsa and fried tomatoes! I threw this together with leftovers from a large potluck with lots of friends that we enjoyed last weekend. I had about 2 cups of chopped tomatoes (from the taco salad fixings) and about 2 cups of chopped sweet onions that were not going to keep. I actually surprised myself at how good this was just spooned onto crackers or crisp bread!

Directions are too simple to put into recipe format 🙂

Take equal amounts of chopped, ripe tomatoes and chopped sweet onion.Simmer together (with no added liquid) on very low heat until all is very soft and flavors have mingled well. I did it for about 1 1/2 hours.  Add salt to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature on crackers, crisp flatbread, or zwieback.

Hard to believe that something this tasty is so rich in health-enhancing properties – the cooked tomatoes are loaded with the phytochemical lycopene which has significant   risk reduction factors for prostate cancer, among other benefits. According to Winston Craig, MPH, PhD, RD onions are high in a variety of sulfur-containing compounds that are known to help prevent cancer, aid in lung problems such as asthma, and decreases rates of stomach cancer in populations that consume more onions. Their effects are similar to garlic, also in the same family, but milder.

More information:  http://www.vegetarian-nutrition.info/updates/onions.php

Awards . . .

This 3D Health for Life blog was just nominated by http://foodstoriesblog.com for the “Illuminating Blogger Award! What a nice way to be affirmed for the time and energy put into sharing life learnings with others who can in turn be blessed and grow. I am looking forward to nominating some of my favorite blogs for this award, whether they choose to participate in it or not. I’m really a very social person but currently spend a lot of time at home with elder care responsibilities and I’ve found blogging to be a productive way to continue with my passion for education in the arena of healthy, whole person, lifestyles for health and happiness. If you would like to learn more about this award, please visit http://foodstoriesblog.com/illuminating-blogger-award/. Keep your eyes open for my nominees for this award, coming soon!

Edamame – the whole soy option

Much as been written on the pros and cons of soy in the diet. There is a very simple principle that cuts through much of the hype on both sides of the question. That is – for best health, consume whole, unprocessed foods. For example, if you are taking thyroid supplements/replacement medications, you will need to adjust your dose upward if you start adding things to your diet like tofu, soy milk, and soy-based veggie meats or soy analogs. These soy products will increase your body’s need for thyroid supplementation among other things.  What I find very interesting is that if you add whole soy beans to your diet it won’t affect the amount of thyroid replacement medication that you need. Many doctors are not aware of this difference. In addition, if you look closely at the studies that purport to show that soy has negative effects on the body, I have yet to find one that used whole soy beans as the source of soy. In all the cases I have come across so far they are using some sort of soy isolate, soy isoflavones, or other partial soy product. We often don’t think about the fact that even tofu and soy milk are NOT whole foods – tofu concentrates the protein portion of the bean and milk removes most of the fiber. There are many things we don’t yet know about how this affects the body. We also know that many women experience relief from menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, when they increase the soy in their diet. It seems clear that the majority of soy in our diet should come from whole forms of this wonderfully rich bean.

That being said, I would like to suggest a great tasty way to add WHOLE soy to your diet (and no, I don’t recommend that you eat it every day to the exclusion of the dozens of other bean options out there!). Dry soy beans can be prepared to be very tasty, but take more work and time then some other beans. Green soy beans, also know as edamame, have a completely different flavor and cook up very quickly. They are often in the freezer section of your supermarket and can be purchased shelled or in the pods. As the pods are not edible, I prefer to buy them shelled.

Preparation:

Pour desired quantity of frozen green soy beans (edamame) in a pan with about 1/2 an inch of water in the bottom. Bring to a boil and add enough Chik-it Seasoning or other vegetarian chicken style seasoning to salt to taste. Allow to simmer until very soft with the pan covered tightly. Takes about 20 minutes. Check a couple of times to make sure it is not drying out. That’s it!

I like it served with a big tossed salad and perhaps a starch like rice, potato, or corn as part of my main noon meal. If you buy the edamame in the pod, it’s also fun to eat as you squeeze the pod after cooking and the beans just pop right out and into your mouth!

Almond Milk

This is such an easy and tasty way to have an alternative to dairy or soy milk, I can hardly believe it! I usually use soy milk on dry cereal or hot whole grain cereal at breakfast, but I ran out the other day and decided to make a nut milk instead. I grabbed a handful of raw almonds, added water and a few seasonings, and voilá! yummy milk. Here is how I did it and we really liked it –

Place in blender:

  • 1/2 cup of raw almonds (if you don’t have a high power blender, soaking them several hours or overnight will make it easier on your machine and is recommended)
  • About 3/4 – 1 cup of warm water
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Sprinkle of salt
  • Sweetener to taste ( I used 2 Tbs. of Cane Juice Crystals)
  • Blend thoroughly till smooth and not gritty in texture. Add enough cold water to make 4 cups total.

You may use immediately or refrigerate in lidded jar for several days. The almond solids will settle out, so stir before pouring. If you prefer a whiter milk (my photo is milk made with whole, raw almonds, skin and all) you can blanch the almonds first to remove the skins and then use them in the milk. Also, you may choose to strain the milk to decrease the amount of solids that settle out, but I actually didn’t have any problem with using it as is. I was surprised how few almonds were needed to make a nice tasting “milk” – it makes it pretty economical. Feel free to tweak the amount of water (I’ve made as much as 6 cups of milk with this quantity of almonds, but it was on the thin side) that you add at the end.

 

 

 

Quinoa Tabouli (GF and delicious!)

Ever since becoming wheat intolerant I’ve been keeping my eyes and ears open for good substitutes for things usually made with wheat. I’ve always loved Middle Eastern cooking which uses a lot bulgur wheat. Tabouli is a favorite of mine and when I came across this idea, I had to work with it and try it out. The idea came from a deli salad I picked up at a local health food store one day when I wasn’t going to make it home for lunch. It was so good, I decided to go home and try to replicate it. Today we enjoyed this for lunch and I can honestly say I didn’t miss the bulgur!

Here are the super simple directions:

  • 3 c. water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of quinoa, rinsed (use a fine mesh strainer)
  • 2 med. tomatoes, chopped fairly small
  • 1/2 c. cucumbers, chopped fine (May leave skin on if using organic English cucumbers, also known as “burpless”)
  • 3-5 whole scallions, chopped (use the whole green top as well)
  • 1 bunch of parsley, chopped fine (about 2 cups)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1-2 Tbs. chopped fresh mint (optional)
  • 3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. Vegetable season salt (or to taste)

Place water and salt in a 2 qt. pan, preferably with a heavy bottom. Bring to a boil and add the quinoa, stirring gently to mix. Cover and simmer on low heat for 30-45 min, stirring occasionally, until soft and done. Remove from fire and chill while you prepare the rest of the ingredients ( I actually stick it in the freezer, spread out in a large metal bowl,  if I’m in a hurry!) Combine all other ingredients in a medium size bowl and stir well to coat all of it with the lemon juice and oil. Allow to stand for a few minutes. Then mix all with the quinoa, stir well, and serve chilled.

This is excellent for packing in lunches, it keeps well in the fridge for several days and the flavor improves as the seasonings continue to blend over time. Use as stuffing in pita bread, with a side of hummus or other beans and you have a great, healthy, high quality protein dish to share with your family or friends.