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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Eating to Heal

I love baking. I love eating just as much, especially sweets. I have changed my habits in the past and stuck to a very low carbohydrate diet that is high in vegetables and moderate fats. For a while I went crazy and ate a LOT of baked goods. I calmed down again and actually ate very little of what I baked and stuck to greens. Because of issues with systemic candida, I have been on a really restricted diet and it kind of got me down. I don't like feeling extremely restricted. That is probably a large part of why the blog slowed down. I started to resent food a bit.

Annie has been my nap coach, helping me rest
through migraines and nausea

I went to an acupuncture appointment yesterday and it reawakened an interest in Eastern Medicine and using foods to heal. I had to go on a very strong medication for a couple months, and I'm having various symptoms (nausea, irritability, abdomenal pain, etc.) and the acupuncturist picked up on how cold I'm running right now. In Eastern Medicine, yin and yang is a very important concept. Balance is key, and certain foods will help balance a person's heat or cold. These attributes will impact everything from behavior to pain patterns. Foods run cold, warm, or neutral, and selecting foods that complement a person's current constitution can help with health issues. Cooking temperature and time also impact heat versus cold. I was interested in the theory that low temperatures over a long period of time are considered more warming than high temperatures for a short period of time. Chewing thoroughly can also help neutralize mildly cold foods, as can cutting finely.

Leeks are a warming food and very friendly to those with candida.
They are great sweated down in a pan and then mixed with other veggies.

I picked up some Chinese herbs to help with digestion and nausea and reopened my Healing with Whole Foods and started researching warming foods and foods that are friendly to people with candida issues. I've noticed that sweets, fruits, and cold foods and drink are triggering issues, so I wasn't overly surprised to see that those foods were on the "avoid" list. Unlike most traditional candida diets, Chinese medicine does not ban all grains. Quinoa, oats, buckwheat and some others are warming and rye, sweet brown rice, and corn are all neutral. While sweet potatoes are warming, they are considered too sweet for the candida diet. Parsnips, carrots, and beets are considered allowable. Beans are also OK in small amounts. Other than that, there weren't any big surprises. I went to the grocery store with a list of herbs, green leafy vegetables, and a lot of selections from the onion family.

Kale, fennel, and onions are all warming foods and go great together

This evening I cooked up a big batch of mustard greens with garlic and some parsnip pancakes with scallions. It was a very satisfying dinner and for once I'm not nauseated and feel satiated. I have better energy than yesterday and my stomach isn't as distended, but that is the extent of relief I've experienced so far. I'm excited to continue with my warm diet and acupuncture. Friday I'm planning on getting my blood work done to check liver and kidney levels (fingers crossed!). I'm hopeful that I'm turning a new leaf and finding new energy to develop recipes.

In other news, Lance got a new job and is sticking to his gluten free diet. Annie has been doing well and playing well with Champ. I'm looking at new car options and trying to remain environmental conscious and stick to vegan values (has anyone else noticed it's harder to get new cars without leather seats????). We bus to and from work all week, but I would like a reliable car for medical emergencies and camping trips.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

No Chicken and Dumplings

I watched the flu sweep through the office over the past few weeks and would cringe while I sat in meetings with coworkers who were coughing, sneezing, and sniffling. I managed to dodge the main wave. Those of you with children know that once they go to preschool or daycare, there seems to be several months of the child contracting and passing along cold after cold. Owen has started going to preschool and brought home a humdinger of a cold that got him the nickname "Typhoid Pookie." My grandmother, mom, brothers, and now husband have all contracted "Pookieitis." Now I have been getting the sniffles and have been making huge pots of soups. My favorite growing up was Chicken and Dumplings. I wasn't huge on the chicken, but I LOVED the dumplings. I decided to make it vegan and gluten free.

No Chicken Soup
2 large sprigs of fresh Rosemary
3 clippings of fresh Oregano
3 fresh Bay Leaves
1/2 cup rough chopped Parsley
1 tsp Salt
Pepper to taste
1/2 head Garlic
1 large Onion
6 stalks Celery
4 Carrots
3 quarts - 1 gallon Water
3-4 Tb Olive Oil
10 small Crimini or Button Mushrooms, quartered

1/4 cup Tapioca Flour
1/2 cup Brown Rice Flour
1/2 cup Teff Flour
pinch Salt
1/2 tsp dry Sage
3 TB Palm Oil
around 1/2-3/4 cup water

Cut the vegetables into one inch chunks. Mince the garlic and add all of the ingredients except the mushrooms into a large soup pan. Turn the heat up to a high medium, simmer for 20 minutes and bring to a boil. Put the flours, salt, and sage for the dumpling ingredients into a mixing bowl and combine. Use a fork to press the palm oil into the other ingredients until combined. Add the water until the dough combines well but is still easily handled. Form dumplings about half the size of a golf ball. Once the soup is in a rolling boil, add the dumplings one at a time, spaced apart from each other so they do not stick. Once the dumplings have been added, add the mushrooms. The dumplings will float to the surface once they are done - after about 20 minutes in the soup. Pick out the rosemary twigs, oregano, and bay leaves while serving.