Saturday, April 30, 2011

Meeting with a Sadist

This morning, I met with Matt, my personal trainer at Gold’s Gym in Shallotte. He is a Sadist. Well, okay, in fairness, he isn’t a Sadist so much as a Designer of Tortuous Workouts. As I reminded myself during the session, I actually pay him for this service. He is good at his job, I will give him that much. I meet with Matt once a month for him to “up the ante” on my strength training workouts. Matt has a degree in—and has worked as—a physical therapist. This is why I pay him to torture me—he knows how much to push me and when to say “slow down girl”. As I mentioned in an earlier post, a few months ago—February 18th to be exact—I hobbled into Gold’s and joined up. I was a sick lady looking for help to get better and they were part of the plan to achieve health and wellness. I told Matt that I intend to return to the GSMNP to backpack next Spring and I want to see my biomarkers improve—and obviously I need to work on the whole walking upright without wall support thing. Step by step Matt and his sidekick Randy (who also has a degree in physical therapy) have been helping me toward those goals. I am walking upright, without need of wall support, and at a decent pace again. My strength is improving and my core muscles are getting stronger. So, for all my complaining, he is worth every penny and every achy muscle. If I had one complaint, Gold's needs a jacuzzi--with lots of Epsom salts in it! They have a dry sauna which is great but if they would just add a jacuzzi it would be purt near perfect.
Back at the Ranch:
I bought a new toy today at Walmart. It is a three-in-one crockpot! It has three 2quart crockpots! It is so way cool! Why, you ask, do I need this gadget? Well, I’m glad you asked. Now, I can set my breakfast cereal to cook in one, beans in another, and grain in the third. Talk about efficient Macrobiotic cooking! It is fabdabulous!
After a nap, I went out to try to help BJ with weeding the garden. My legs hurt from this morning’s torture session and have not yet been treated with an Epsom salt soak (forgot to get it at Wally World) so I did not last very long…only about 45 minutes. Mother took over the hoe which is a task she has decided she likes very much. My mother working in the garden—miracles never cease! Mother has been told and told by her cardiologist to exercise but she has refused. But, seems gardening is a form of exercise she is willing to do. And BJ….I’ve never seen a kid get so excited about gardening. He is blossoming right along with the vegetables.
As for meals today: breakfast never quite happened. Gasp…I know, very bad. I intended to but strawberry picking too longer than expected and I was late for my torture session. I had intended to take soup from last night with me to drink on the way but forgot in the rush. 
Lunch was a salad at Chili’s in Shallotte. I chose the Caribbean Salad but asked for black beans and corn in replacement of the chicken. No problem there. They had no healthy soup choices so soup was out. The Caribbean Salad has fresh fruit and –gasp—iceberg lettuce. I should have asked them to toss in some vegetables but I didn’t want to push my luck. I did add some of the guacamole from the appetizer to my salad. I’d also eaten a few tortilla chips with guacamole. Overall, not terribly macro but not as horrible as it could have been.
Dinner will be leftover Quinoa and Lentil Soup with some added tomatoes along with a pressed salad of carrots, radish, and onions and a salad of spring lettuce, carrots, radish, and onion with balsamic vinegar. At least one meal today was Macrobiotic! 
Tomorrow, I hope to actually plan out the weeks menu so as to come closer to hitting a good macrobiotic meal balance. That said, I think I am transitioning pretty good as I continue to learn how this diet is supposed to work. Hopefully in a few months I’ll be much better at it!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Sweets and Salt

Very limited fruits and extremely limited salt—it may be good for my body but my emotional connection to the taste of sweet and salty is having a hard time with this idea. “Modern Macrobiotics” says to limit fruit to 3-4 times a week which seems shockingly limited until I start reading Dr. Rogers who says to eat no fruit during the healing phase! NO FRUIT! Seriously!?! Well, she is serious because she is talking about dealing with Candida/yeast infections. I don’t think this is an issue for me but I could be wrong. I just hate to totally wipe out a nutrient-dense food group if I don’t have to. I think I will follow the Modern Macrobiotics advice, for now, and see how things go. At some point, I’ll need to address this issue again and see if perhaps a period of time sans fruit would be beneficial. If Candida is a problem, it isn’t just fruit I’d need to avoid but all my fermented foods as well since those are yeasty. Both fruit and fermented are keys I want to use to help me heal. I just need to be sensitive to what they are doing in my body—that they are serving beneficial roles and not harmful roles.
As for salt…there really isn’t an excuse for using more than is recommended by macrobiotics. Salt is not needed in more than very small amounts. I have to learn to enjoy other seasonings and other flavors besides “salt”. I also need to make such seasoning mixes as gomashio so that I have a way of flavoring my foods without much salt. This is not going to be an easy transition. Not easy at ALL.
Speaking of fruit: my breakfast was mixed rice with plum and kiwi again today. That means no fruit for a few days. And, tomorrow is strawberry pickin’ time! Oh, my! I tell you, giving up fruit is not going to be easy!
Lunch today was leftover cooked cabbage and root vegetables from the miso soup I made last night. I ordered miso soup and seaweed salad from the Japanese restaurant. Their miso soup is so good and the seaweed salad…I really need to learn how to make a good seaweed salad. With no grains or beans, lunch was a light meal and not the greatest example of macrobiotics. I am definitely still learning!
For supper I made a soup. The seasonings need some tweaking but the soup was delicious, nutritious, and filling.
Quinoa & Lentil Soup
  • 1 cup Green Lentils
  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 1 small Vidalia onion
  • 1 small turnip root
  • Greens of one beet
  • Chinese Five Spice Blend
 Wash quinoa in cold water very well to get the saponin off. Even if the package says the quinoa is pre-washed, wash it until the water is clear. Also, wash the lentils and remove any stones, bad beans, etc. Once washed, put lentils in soup pot with water and bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium. Meanwhile, dice your vegetables and chop your greens. After the lentils have cook for 15 minutes or so, add quinoa and vegetables, except for greens. Add seasoning. Cook until lentils and root vegetables are tender. Add beet greens and turn off heat. Cover pot and let sit for 5 minutes.  Makes about 3 servings.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

When You Fail to Plan....

No, I didn't fail today or fall off the wagon...but it wasn't due to appropriate planning. I need to plan a week in advance or at least a few days or something. Having a plan would definitely help until I get more familiar with the process of putting together meals. Today's meals is what happens when you wait until you are asleep on your feet to prepare the next day's breakfast and lunch. I could blame that on my mother and BJ both wanting to tell me about their days when I arrived home from church. But, do I really want to discourage their desire to include me in their lives? Hardly! No, the failure falls squarely on my tired shoulders.

Okay, so breakfast was: Sprouted Grain Tortilla spread with natural peanut butter and a bit of almond butter. I didn't have a banana so I decided to try a kiwi fruit. So...slice, slice, slice and wrap. Well, it wasn't horrible but I would not recommend it! This breakfast also, so I'm learning, breaking a few macro rules: macro discourages nut butters--something about the fat but I'm still fuzzy on that. Also, fruit is supposed to be limited to a few times a week. I'm having fruit again in the morning so I guess Saturday and Sunday must be fruitless. I'm going to have a hard time adjusting to low quantities of fruits. I do understand that if Candida is a problem, reducing or eliminating fruit is a good thing. But, on the flipside, fruit is nutrient dense as opposed to being just a source of sugar. I'll have to observe and see what level of fruit works well for me.

Lunch: I was ready for lunch...breakfast did not "stick to my ribs". For lunch, I took two sheets of nori, spread them with my Brown, Red, and Black Rice mixture (leftovers), topped with a sardine each, some daikon/carrot pickles, and on one some of the leftover tofu/broccoli mixture I'd had in a wrap yesterday. These were rolled up and sliced sushi style. My bosslady had some packets of soy sauce which she gave me and I declared lunch--almost perfect. Minus the tofu and plus some avocado or cucumber or some such and it would have been better. The sardines were actually good eaten this way--not overpowering at all. Since sardines are excellent sources of Omega-3's, low on the mercury food chain, and cheap I'm hoping to find a number of ways to enjoy them.

Dinner was planned through the afternoon and texted home to BJ and mom to help with. Dinner was supposed to be a baked sweet potato, cabbage and onions, and miso soup. I needed a vegetable meal since breakfast and lunch was sans veggie for the most part. They forgot the sweet potato but did make the cabbage and onions and the broth for the miso soup. I ate the vegetables from the miso soup as a side dish to the cabbage and drank the broth. It was all good but not filling. So, after making tomorrow's breakfast and lunch, I am eating a 1/4 cup of mixed rice with a bit of viniagrette along with a glass of kombucha.

I have been feeling very tired this week. Sleepy tired rather than achy tired. I was thinking it was from the hard gardening of last weekend but I'm not positive. There is the chance it's my body adjusting to the diet. Perhaps I'll read something about this in the books by Dr. Sherry Rogers that I got in the mail. I'm tempted to sleep in tomorrow morning....we'll see....

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Brown, Red, and Black Rice

Oh, I have so much to learn! First, how to enjoy foods that aren't excessively sweet. Second, how to enjoy foods that are not drenched in dressing or gravy or sauce of some sort.

Okay, this would probably be a good time to confess that I am addicted to the taste of sweet and to condiments! I think many of my food choices were about what I could put either ketchup or mayo or salad dressing or...okay, I think you get the point...on. Honestly, beef and chicken are just foils for sauces and condiments to me. Well, grass-fed beef does actually have flavor and eggs from grass-fed chickens are amazing sans ketchup. But, the commercial stuff? Give me condiments! And dessert--even a fruit salad dessert because I know how to make those taste deliciously sweet!

Okay, now that I have that off my chest... I think I have to get used to fixing tasty food (or perhaps just appreciating the flavor of real food) without relying on sweet or sauce. Or, perhaps I just need to give my creative cooking side time to adjust to new ingredients. Whatever the case may be, my first day's cooking had some hits and some "need improvement" recipes.

Breakfast was -- strange as it sounds to my ears -- soup. Carrot & Radish Soup. Yeah, I know. That's a long way from scrambled eggs and ketchup or even my former "healthy breakfast"--fruit smoothie. But, actually, the soup was tasty!

Carrot & Radish Soup:
4 carrots, in large chunks
4 small radishes including greens, sliced or halved
Few sprigs of cilantro
½ onion, diced
Dash of olive oil

4 cups of water
1/2 tsp miso
1 cup leftover oatmeal
Heat soup pot and add oil. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add carrot and radish but hold back the radish greens and cilantro. Add water slowly. Bring to boil, add seaweed, then reduce to simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add greens. Simmer a few more minutes. Put contents in blender and puree. Return to to pot. If too thick, thin with more water. Add leftover oatmeal and heat gently. Remove from heat and add miso.
The recipe I modified said the soup will last for 2 days so I plan on having the rest for supper tomorrow night. I used the first radishes we harvested from our garden. This soup was lightly flavored but good. With the miso, there is no need for additional salt. Be sure not to cook the miso as that destroys the probiotics it contains.
Lunch was a serving of the Tomatoes, Beans, and White Rice mother had made. I was just too tired last night to make anything else. Along with that, I had a salad with mixed greens, raw broccoli, onion, buckwheat sprouts, balsamic vinegar, and a dash of almond oil. I also had some of my Daikon Radish & Beet Pickle I mentioned making last week. Oh, is it ever goooooodd!!!
As for supper: I remembered we had some tofu in the freezer so I texted home and asked BJ to take one out to thaw. I also asked him to put some dried mushrooms in soak. Along with the mixed rice I had put in soak before leaving this morning, I had the beginnings of a meal plan--I just wasn't sure what the plan was...

Balsamic Marinated Baked Tofu:
1 package firm tofu
Spring onions
Dried mushrooms, soaked for several hours (save soaking water for soup stock)
Japanese 5 Spice Blend
Balsamic Vinegar

Put tofu cake in a plate, place another plate on top and a few cans on top of that. This will squeeze liquid out of the tofu which in turn helps the tofu absorb other liquids/flavors. Let stand for 15 minutes, draining off liquid periodically. Mix balsamic and spice blend in a pie plate or other container. After tofu has been pressed, slice and put into the balsamic vinegar. Allow to marinate for 5 to 10 minutes. Slice onions and mushrooms and place on baking sheet. Top with marinated tofu slices. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes or so.
Garlic Brown, Red, and Black Rice:
1 cup Brown Sweet Rice
¼ cup Red Rice
¼ cup Black Rice (“Forbidden” rice)
2 cloves garlic

Mix rice together and cover with water. Allow to soak for 8 hours or so. Drain off soaking water and rinse. Place in pot, add twice as much water and garlic. Bring water to a boil and then reduce heat to low. If water is absorbed before rice is done, add a bit more water.
Steamed Broccoli:
While rice is cooking, put a steamer over pot with broccoli spears. Cover. Broccoli steams while rice cooks.
Pressed Carrot and Radish Salad:
2 carrots
4 radishes (without the greens)
Spring onion
Sea salt

Use mandolin or knife to cut vegetables small. Add a bit of sea salt and massage vegetables. Place a plat over the vegetables and weight with can. Allow to set for 15 minutes.
That was dinner. The tofu was....okay. I think if I'd fried or sauted the tofu instead of baking it there would have been more flavor and texture. Honestly, I'm still trying to find a way to eat tofu that I like other than Hot & Sour Soup. It doesn't bother me in soup but otherwise...I always take issue with it. But, as tofu dishes go, this was not entirely bad--it's almost worth going into the recipe file. It just needs a bit of tweaking. (The mushrooms and onions were delicious, though.) The rice was in need of more flavor. The garlic just wasn't enough. Perhaps if I'd had some gomashio made up that would have done the trick. I'm not sure. Need to work on it but I have to say that red and black rices--and the brown sweet rice--are more flavorful in themselves than the anemic white rice. The broccoli and pressed salads were lovely. Clean, not overly seasoned so I actually enjoyed the flavor of the vegetables. Nice change actually.
As for tomorrow....I'll go ahead and share tomorrow's menu since it's Wednesday and there won't be an entry tomorrow. Tomorrow is leftovers from today. Here's what I did:
Fruit and Mixed Rice:
Plum, diced (with skin)
Kiwi, diced (without skin)
½ tbsp raw honey
¼-1/2 cup leftover Brown, Red, Black Rice

Dice fruit, add honey and rice. Mix well. Can prepare the night before so it has time for marrying of flavors.
I know, I know. I am supposed to keep fruit and added sweeteners to a minimum. I thought the fruit and honey would go well with the rice. This is for breakfast.
Tofu Wrap:
Leftover Balsamic Tofu
Leftover steamed broccoli
Leftover rice
Spinach leaves
Sprouted Grain Tortilla (Ezekiel 4:9)

Combine tofu, broccoli, small amount of rice (tablespoon or two), mustard, and horseradish. Put raw spinach leaves on tortilla and top with tofu mixture. Wrap.
I took a taste of the tofu mixture--this is a winner. The mustard and horseradish gives it a nice boost. I'm hoping the wrap holds up otherwise I'll be eating it with a fork. We'll see. Dinner is the rest of the Carrot & Radish Soup.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Planting, Family time, and Adjusting to the new plan

My sister, Alisha, wasn't able to join us for Easter lunch yesterday, so today she came over and cooked for us. This meant that I would need to trust her with my food prep and let go of the need for perfection. Breakfast had been oatmeal with tahini with some leftover for another use. Alisha was to come fix lunch. One thing I can tell you, my sister and I take after our mother--we are good cooks! Alisha made al dente green beans and a pesto spaghetti with vegetables and chicken (I was able to avoid the chicken). Dessert was strawberries and banana (mine was without sugar). I had planned on making a carrot soup for my supper but after a day of gardening, I got a late start with the soup. So, change of plan. Dinner was rice, tomatoes, and adzuki beans. I would have perferred the pasta had been whole wheat and the rice brown but today was about family -- lunch with sister and working in garden with mom and BJ. Sometimes, family takes precedence. And, exhaustion and seriously achy muscles and feet also have an effect on choices....

Sunday, April 24, 2011

8 Rules to Live By....Official Start to 4 Month "Healing Phase"

Tomorrow marks the start of my 4-month long experiment in Macrobiotic eating for healing. I'm still waiting for the three Dr. Rogers books on macrobiotic for healing but will start with the advice provided in the book "Modern-Day Macrobiotics". While it seems simple enough, it does seem a bit overwhelming in the simple fact that it is such a different way of thinking of food. Some of what I'll be trying to keep in the forefront over the next four months are:

1. Grains--eat a variety and eat about 40% of my diet in grains. This is why I went to the Asian market to get a variety of grains. Now, to work through the simple and yet seemingly complex process of incorporating them into my daily fare.
2. Vegetables--over the next 4 months, I will be aiming at having eaten 30 different vegetables. Since eating in season and locally are also factors (both macrobiotically and my own preference) this will be an interesting challenge. I'll keep a tally here so we can see if I achieve this goal.
3. Sea vegetables--using a variety of these and having some sea vegetable every day. While it is easy to sprinkle dulse flakes on my rice or beans, I need to include other sea vegetables as well. I'll share with you how these get included.
4. Ferments/pickles--I already make kombucha and kefir so that is two ferments. I will also be experimenting (have already started!) with fermenting vegetables. Store bought pickles (vinegar pickled rather than lacto-pickled) are not acceptable. Miso counts..yum. I'll be sharing more about my adventures in the area of lacto-fermentation of vegetables. A small amount of ferment is included in each days menu.
5. Fish. This is be my main source of animal protein to be eaten a few times a week. Salmon and other fish high in Omega 3's will be the main focus. Since mercury is a concern in fish now and I do NOT want farmed fish, I will be trying some fish I have not heretofore tried. Namely, sardines. Alton Brown claims eating sardines and avocados was the magic diet pill he used to lose a LOT of weight. Sardines are also low on the mercury scale and cheap. I'm collecting promising recipes--including one from Alton. This does not mean I will giving up tuna entirely--just that aweful stuff in the can. My tuna will be sashimi grade or not at all.
6. Salt. Very little. Mineral rich sea salt when I use salt at all. My blood pressure will love this. Lacto-fermented vegetables are actually pretty low in salt and are eaten as a condiment not as a side dish.
7. No microwave. Wrong kind of energy. Sounds all Zen Buddist or New Age but actually I got rid of my home microwave a few years ago because of reports that it has a negative effect on our foods and by extention on us. I had been using the microwave at work but will now be using insulated thermoses to keep my food warm.
8. Teas and supplements. Macrobiotics places importance on drinking medicinal teas daily. Which ones depends on what your body needs. This does NOT, unfortunately, include my fav--Chai lattes--sad but true. We are talking about a whole other type of tea--peppermint, dandelion, parsley, bean, etc. Medicinal but not necessarily unpleasant tasting. As for supplements--the regimen I started a few months ago will continue. The only change may be in trying to get a multi that covers some of the vits/minerals. The supplements have been very helpful in rebuilding my body so I am not ready to stop using them--though finding a cheaper route would be very nice.
Omega3 fish oil: 4000mg
Adrenal Rebuilder
Magnesium 1000mg
Intenzyme Forte
Solar D Gems: 4000IU
B12 Sublingual with B6, Folic Acid, Biotin
Vitamin C 2000mg
Taurine: 500mg
Chromium Picolinate: 200mcg
OptiZinc: 30mg
Niacin: 300mg
Vitamin E: 400IU
Selenium: 200mcg
Calcium: 600mg

Geez...8 rules. Now I feel compelled to think of 2 more to have the "Ten Commandments of Macrobiotic" or some such. I resist the urge. I've probably already bore you to tears. Whoever "you" there a "you"? Is anyone reading this?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

500 Pounds of Manure...300 to go...

Yesterday and today I have moved 500 pounds of manure (in 40lb bags) from the car to the garden and spread it on the beds. I have another 300 pounds to move. I'll need many beds, so little sh...manure. 800 pounds of manure cost me $25 at Walmart. I'll be glad when I have chickens and rabbits making poop for me so I don't have to pay for the sh...manure. Especially the rabbit poop...I plan to have wormbeds under the rabbit cages so the worms can take all that lovely poop and make it even better with their worm castings. Put that on the garden beds and we are talking black gold!

Mom and I planted several types of squash, sunflower seedss, and beans beans beans today. Monday, I will plant more beans and start the potatoes in their first tire. I have white potatoes and new potatoes (red) and I think I'll have enough to have two tire towers for each type if not three. Each tire tower should yield 25 pounds of potatoes if not more. 200 pounds of potatoes should provide well for the winter. We should have enough beans to feed an army! There should even be enough for me to experiment with fermenting them. Oh, that should be fun.  Oh, we also planted onions...spring onions and yellow onions. yummmm....

I could use a massage....a soak in a jucuzzi with epsom salts and then a massage....

Friday, April 22, 2011

Daikon Radish Ferments

Last night I made pickles. Daikon radish fermented pickles to be exact. Two different types. In 5 to 7 days, I'll know if they are good or not.

The first one is Daikon Radish and Carrot. I use my mandolin to julienne the radish and the carrots. The recipe said to use a food processor to grate them. For one, my food processor is broken (my birthday is in June...hint hint). Second, I thought it would be better to have larger pieces. After julienning the radish and carrots, I added sea salt and pickling spice and a few garlic cloves (more than the recipe called for...I love garlic so sue me). Then, knead the juices out of the veggies. Knead. Knead. and Knead some more. Pack into a quart jar. Emphasis on PACK. Got to get them in there and then as if that wasn't hard enough, push them down enough to make room for the weight. The weight, in my case, is a can of tomato soup (one good use for SAD processed foods!) inside a baggie. There wasn't quite enough juice. I waited until this morning to see if more generated over night. It did but still not enough to cover so I made some salt water and added to the jar. The veggies must be covered in juice or brine. Now, we let the microbes do their thing.

Then, I did the same thing but with a beet instead of carrots. Same process. The fermenting book said that fermented beets get a very thick juice which could be offputting to some (although delicious) so they recommended fermenting beets with other veggies.

The pictures are of the steps in making the first recipe. It seemed redundant to take pictures of both recipes. Hopefully, this is the first of many delicious efforts.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Working out at Gold's Gym

Okay, so I've mentioned the triune nature of our beings (physical, emotional, and spiritual) and how we must address each in order to heal and reach a higher level of "wellness". On the physical level, we do this by looking at three areas: nutrition/diet, exercise, and lifestyle. Each is important to helping us reach our goals. As you know, the diet part of my equation is going to consist of a macrobiotic diet and a heavy regime of supplements to help restore my nutrition stores and help my body recover from nutritional deficencies and toxicity. Well, part two--exercise--is the next step to address.

I walked...okay more accurately I hobbled...into our local Gold's Gym back in early February with a simple plea: help me. At that point my daily exercise consisted of extremely slow walking (using the wall as support) around the hallways of our office building. Several co-workers were kind enough to walk with me and encourage me. I was in rough shape but determined to get better. After explaining my situation, the trainers were confident that they could indeed help me. You might think that such bravado was because they wanted my money. I'm sure that had a small amount to do with it. But, I also believe they sincerely wanted to help.

The first two weeks, I worked on the treadmill and stationary bike to improve my mobility a bit. What a sad display I must have been! But, I persevered. Then, I met with Matt, the head personal trainer. He explained that he, and one other trainer there, has a degree in Physical Therapy and has worked in the past as physical therapists. He was surprised to see that #1 on my list of goals for the next year is to backpack in the Great Smokie Mountains National Park. "Doable" said he, "if you are willing to work hard." I'm willing. Matt and Randy are now my coaches and, along with lots of encouragement, they redesign my strength training workouts on a monthly basis.

No, I'm not in the free weights area with the muscle bound guys. Nor am I spending all my time on the fixed weight machines. I do a few here and there but mostly I do exercises using the balance ball, medicine balls, and a torture chamber monster called PURmotion (functional fitness). Functional fitness is a fitness program that trains your body to function in real life. Rather than isolate muscles, all muscles get involved including all the little balance and stablizing muscles. Thus, I will be a stronger backpacker with better balance and stability. Functional fitness will also help us as we mature to have fewer falls and less chances of breaking bones.

I can not take pictures at the gym so I found a youtube video for you to see what this torture chamber looks like. I'm still a rookie so am only doing a few exercises on this thing but as time passes, I'm sure they will increase the number of exercises I do on it.

Oh, and I also took my personal balance ball to work and am using it as my chair for all or part of each day! Seems so simple but it is amazing how it works your core muscles without you even noticing!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Stocking up Trip!!!

Mom, BJ, and I made a trip up to Wilmington today for some stocking up. Actually, our first stop was to Indigo Farms to pick to buckets of strawberries at $1 per pound. That done, off to Wilmington we went. Once in Wilmington, our first stop was a little strip mall Asian Market. All I can say is WOW! Love that place!  I could have bought half the store but controlled myself. Some of my treasured finds there are:

Black rice (2 packages)
Black sweet rice
Brown sweet rice
Brown rice
Red rice
Mixed Grain Blend
Black Sesame Seeds
Several packs of seaweed
Adzuki beans
Black beans
5 spice mix
dried Shiitake mushrooms
buckwheat noodles (soba noodles)
"Bean sauce" (Momma wanted)
Pulioare (Tamarind Rice) mix (another thing Momma wanted to try)
Roasted sweet pea snack (BJ)
2 tier bamboo steamer

Then, it was off to the Co-Op store for:
Whole Wheat flour (with germ)
Various dried beans (pinto, green lentil, black lentil)
Steel Cut Oats
2 Tier Tiffin Set (stainless steel lunch set) (still need a wide-mouth thermos for hot soup totage)
bamboo utensil set with tote to carry with...

Then, off to Sam's Club for:
Spring Greens
Gourmet lettuce
Young Spinach
big bag of Broccoli
(and other stuff....)

Last stop was to pick up a half gallon of raw goat's milk used to make kefir.  Then, home to try to find some place to store all my new goodies! Now, to figure out how to incorporate them into my diet. Oh, I'm going to have a lot of fun!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Kefir, Kombucha, and Sprouts

Fermentation. Food preservation and enhancement in one all thanks to some friendly little microbes. I plan to try (again) to ferment cabbage into raw saurkraut and to ferment other vegetables as well. My only success with fermentation thus far has been with the making of kefir and kombucha. Kefir is a "drinkable yogurt" or fermented milk drink. It is fermented by little colonies of bacteria and yeasts called grains. Since fermentation takes place in a jar with a lid on it, kefir is bubbly. It is also a bit tart but quite tasty. I was able to find a source of raw goat's milk so that is what I am using for my kefir. Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage fermented by a "mushroom" or "SCOBY" (scoby=Symbiotic Colony of Beneficial Bacteria and Yeasts). The SCOBY is an off-white somewhat slimy-looking mat of microbes. The resultant beverage is bubbly, tart, sweet, and has a....relaxing effect...on the mind.

Why bother to make kefir and kombucha? Well, for one, they are an excellent source of probiotics at a much cheaper price than a bottle of probiotic pills at the health food store. Second, it is cheaper than buying the beverages at the co-op. And, three, it's fun to joke about making my "home brew"--makes me feel a connection to my moonshiner ancestors! Raw saurkraut and fermented pickles are also excellent sources of probiotics and other health promoting elements that you won't find in store bought "kraut" or "pickles". Keep reading this blog for tales of the science experiments taking place in my kitchen!

(Oh, and I have a bottle of spiced cider waiting for my next batch of kombucha to complete. When the first ferment is done, I will decant, add the cider, and wait another 3 days. The result will be oh so goooooddd!)

The other happening in the kitchen today was a review of the sprouting seeds I have in a drawer. It's time to start sprouting again and I hope my seeds are still good. Soaking in sparate jars at the moment are: cabbage/broccoli, Hot2 (a diakon radish/hot mustard mix from, French garden (another mix from sproutpeople), and buckwheat. My son BJ is going to clear me a space on the back porch tomorrow to put a few trays for growing microgreens. Between what we get out of our garden and what I sprout, we should eat very well and very healthy.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Why Macrobiotics?

So, what is Macrobiotics and why am I interested in trying it? You may have heard that several Hollywood Celebs are “doing macrobiotics” and think that may have persuaded me. Wrong. I’m not interested in following the doings of the “Celebs”. As to what it is, “Macro” means “large” and “biotic” means “life”. Thus, macrobiotics means “large life”. It’s original intent was as a healing diet and this is how it has been used over the last 50+ years. Its use of fermented foods and sea vegetables makes it a great diet for drawing heavy metals and other toxins out of the body. Fermented foods and nutrient-rich whole foods are also excellent for repairing and boosting the immune system. This is where my interest was sparked—the healing aspects. I’m carrying a large load of heavy metals and toxins (beginning as a child living in military housing often sprayed with chlordane) and have come to realize just how much it has affected my physical and emotional health for so very long. So, that in a nutshell is why I’m come to want to experiment with macrobiotics.

Does this mean that I’m into the Zen Buddhist philosophy that permeates macrobiotics? Heavens, no! I will not be spouting ying/yang or fung shui idioms on this blog. You won’t hear of me meditating over my bowl of rice to sense its energy. That said, you will hear me talk about balance and energy because these things are unavoidable and evident in our daily life and the world around us. You very well may hear me talk about how this experience brings deeper spiritual healing and draws me closer to the Holy Spirit. We are triune beings just as our Creator is a Triune being. We heal completely when we heal physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Know you not that we, our physical body, is the temple of the Holy Spirit. God’s children are indwelt by Him. Thus, healing our physical body will strengthen the temple in which The Holy dwells. If you, my reader, are not of the Christian faith, my words are not intended to offend but to enlighten. I will not apologize if my faith offends but rather will encourage you to have an open mind and an open spirit to receive.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Journey Begins

Beginning on Resurrection Sunday 2011, I will be starting a journey. A very special journey. A journey exploring the world of Macrobiotic eating. Well, perhaps better described as pseudo-Macrobiotic or "modern" Macrobiotic or living-foods Macrobiotic. No, I'm not as ditzy as I may sound. I am going to document my travels as I learn about eating macrobiotic with lots of living foods and sprouts and a small amount of grass-fed meat when I can get it.

Why the need for a healing journey? Because after giving allopathic doctors the chance to figure out why I've been so sick, I decided to take matters into my own hands with the help of a naturopath and the advice gleaned from Dr. Sherry Rogers' books. With a diet geared to help my body cleanse and heal and lifestyle changes including exercising at Gold's Gym 5 days a week and working on transforming my half-acre property into a mini-homestead to grow food for my family, I'm hoping to see a major change in my physical, emotional, and spiritual health.

In this blog, I'll share the recipes, the experiments in sprouting and fermenting, and all the connected efforts. I'll share what works, what doesn't, and what turns out to be too much of a pain in the backside. Perhaps somewhere in this blog, you will find something that resonates with you and that will help you on your own journey.