That Beet Slaw

A Welcome From Dor

Dor photo by David CrowThe way I feel about superb chefs is similar to how I feel about scientists: I’m filled with admiration because they know things I don’t know. That makes them mysterious and wonderful, as long as they are benign.

I am a superb chef at heart, but not in fact. I’m a scientist at heart, but not in brain.

What my chef friend Marcia gave me was permission to stop adding ingredients, to stop being seduced by the lure of the complicated, and to allow the explosion of the true flavor of vegetables to blossom on my tongue. Honestly, it all started with a lowly beet. Raw…


Marcia’s Story: That Beet Slaw

20160911_145719You know how, when you learn something new, the whole world seems to be about that one thing? Well, for me, the world is all about that beet slaw. 

I am a private cooking instructor. People come to my house and pay top dollar to cook a sumptuous dinner together, then sit down for a dinner party. They pay for new recipes and the chance to cook together, something pretty rare in our world today. Often, the menus include whole foods – fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains perhaps, animal protein and fats, olive and nut oils. Unfortunately, I’ve also been bathing in heavy cream and wading through butter and sugar, teaching folks how to prepare what I call “entertainment food.” It’s elegant fare, and I’m proud of what I’ve created. But a dinner party for them has become a lifestyle for me, and it’s impossible for me to make a steady diet of these things and feel well. 

It’s easy to fall in love with the Suppers ideas. 

So I decided to try Suppers. At my first meeting, a mother with two young children said, “It was worth coming to this program for that one beet slaw recipe. My kids eat huge servings of raw beets whenever I make that slaw.”

I was skeptical. It is easy to fall in love with a food when you love the ideas around it. And it is easy to fall in love with the Suppers ideas. Fill your plate with the good stuff and ease out the bad, cook and eat with purpose in a communal setting, listen to your body…But that won’t cut it with my students, or with my family for that matter. 

How can I get more of this, and how soon?

At the next Suppers meeting, we made Sonja’s beet slaw again, this time with a mixture of sunny disks of golden beets and fine shreds of the blood red (owing to me experimenting with the blades on the food processor). A simple white balsamic vinaigrette and that was it. People just inhaled it. 

At home I shredded up the deeply colored beets with over-wintered parsnips and raw sweet potatoes! I added the first of this year’s lovage and sorrel, then sprinkled toasted pumpkin seeds on top. I made a simple vinaigrette from olive oil and my special wine vinegar.

My husband couldn’t stop eating it. That’s not the amazing part. The amazing part is that my college-age son went nuts for it too. I’d given him some leftover salad in a jar one day in the car as we was heading for his dorm. A few days later, he returned with some of his college friends in tow, and these were his exact words: “How can I get more of this, and how soon?”

I packed him off to the grocery store to buy the beets.

I realized that what the Suppers philosophy has going for it is the fundamental culinary principle of taste. If your body is starving for certain nutrients, it goes into orbit when you feed it those foods. The Suppers Programs operates on the principle that we as a culture have deprived ourselves of the pleasure, nutrients, and community that give a meal its soul. Suppers is about reincorporating that good stuff into our lives in an intentional and joyful way. And the entertainment food? Eventually, it just won’t fit on the plate.


Meals with Marcia, By Allie

48465d_e59e795f6cb742439f1316e9dd4a1081I should start by saying…I only eat beets because I know they’re good for me. Vegetables are great and everything, I’d go so far as to say they’re 90% fabulous but then there’s that 10% and beets have always made that list for me. Meaning they’re not my favorite or even my preference.

But sometimes, when prepared in delicious, fabulous ways, beets glide effortlessly into that 90%. Beets become sensational. This is one of those times.

The next delightful fact is that when it comes to delicious preparations of vegetables, the two women I trust the absolute mostest, you know, besides myself, are Dorothy Mullen and Marcia Willsie. These ladies know how things are done when it comes to flavor. And now you will too!


Flavor Savers

OK so if you’re going to be making this salad…or any salad really…there are some things you should know.

  • Pretty much no matter what happens, use seasonal produce whenever you can. Everything tastes better AND offers more nutrition when it is eaten in it’s season.
    • Beets have two vibrant seasons: Spring and Fall. Technically beets can grow as long as the sun is shining and the ground isn’t frozen solid. However just because something is growing does not mean it’s the optimal season. Just look at California: they grow tomatoes in the Springtime and yet they are nothing compared to a Jersey tomato picked in August.
      Pathetic in comparison. Really just sad. 
  • Remember lessons from flavor balance class:
    • Salt balances Acid
    • Bitter balances Sweet
    • Fat carries flavor over the tongue and adds richness
    • (Don’t worry about Umami for raw preparations, we’ll talk of that another time)
  • Salads are about texture as much as they are about flavor. If you are making a spinach salad, make sure to add something that goes CRUNCH! If you are making a beet slaw, make sure to add something that doesn’t require so much chewing. Like chiffonade collard greens lightly massaged, or Feta cheese. Or both.

Sidenote – did you guys know that there’s like a BUNCH of different varieties of beets? I only learned this when I started working on farms but red beets are not the only players in this ball game. Far from it! There are golden beets, of course, but there are also White Beets – the sweetest beet – and Chioggia Beets – these are pink and white inside they look sooooooooo pretty in slices!!!! Farmer David makes fun of me because I can’t say “Chioggia” without really trying and making it sound very dramatic but neither can any of our customers so who cares. In an unrelated story, I’m smarter than him.

The point is, don’t feel limited by your product. Feel inspired by it, feel invigorated by your growing knowledge of different products and how to use them. And always feel humbled by where we get to live and how much we get to see and use. Also, allow yourself to feel like you don’t know the best thing to do and let that lead you to look for answers instead of quit the process. If you’re using seasonal produce in the first place, you can’t make that many wrong turns. If you’re just learning about what’s in season when, well darlin – get your tush down to the farmer’s market and talk to a farmer.

There’s actually a book that I would recommend to anyone – particularly someone who isn’t as experienced at finding foods to pair with other foods – called The Flavor Bible. It’s FABULOUS, you guys. Whenever I’m stumped in the kitchen I know that I can turn to that book and find something to go with the ingredient causing confusion. Here’s a passionate excerpt:

“We taste with our hearts as much as with our tongues. What else could explain adult preferences for one’s mother’s dishes over those prepared by a great chef? This also helps to explain the lasting appeal of traditional dishes and cuisines of countries around the globe, which stem from our love for their cultures, their people, and the deeply rooted culinary traditions that have sustained them over centuries.” – Page, Dorneburg. 

I mean doesn’t that just make your heart SING?! What Marcia was talking about – the best part of making That Beet Slaw – in having her son come home asking for more. That moment of literal joy experienced by her son Tucker when he tasted Mom’s beet slaw and by Marcia in knowing that she made her son crave something healthy she made. That is what we all are looking for. It’s indescribable when you aren’t in the throes of the experience but it has to do with finding the perfect combination of flavor, texture, love, and timing, when it comes to making food for the people we love, that they love. 

Make sure that you put love into the food you are making. Your family can taste it with their hearts.


Step One: Look at how brilliantly beautiful beets are as you slice them up to pieces small enough to fit into your food processor hole thing.

For organic beets, I don’t peel mine. Especially not if I’m shredding the beets up. I just scrub em real good with my fingers or a veggie brush and slice off the tops and that’s pretty much it. You can peel them if you want to and I would definitely peel conventional beets before shredding. 

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Step Two: Using the shredding blade of your food processor, shred the beets up. If you don’t have a food processor, call me, you can borrow mine. Normally I would be like “eh, you can do it with a box grater” but no. Not for this.

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Step Three: Make your dressing! Marcia uses super interesting and elegant vinegars but the only thing that matters for this recipe is that you don’t use balsamic vinegar. That’s basically the only rule. You can use white balsamic, just not brown. It’ll make the salad look yucky. And things that look yucky are tasted suspiciously.  

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Step Four: Top with other stuff that you have prepared and serve! That’s really it. You’re done. No, step away from the cutting board. It’s just that easy.

I used some finely chiffonade collard greens and some chunks of feta that I crumbled with my hands. You can use anything you want! 

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Sonja’s Beet Slaw, Marcia Style

2 bunches (about 6 small) organic golden and red beets, scrubbed real good and sliced (I know it’s supposed to be “scrubbed well” I’m just being literary. OK Mom?)
3 Tablespoons champagne vinegar (or white balsamic, or white Pinot, or anything white except Distilled White Vinegar. That’s for cleaning and pickles.)
1/4 cup olive oil
sea salt and white pepper
lemon juice if necessary

Topping Suggestions
Dairy: Crumbled Feta or Goat Cheese
Greenery: Chiffonade kale, collards, spinach, or basil
Nuts: Crumbled walnuts, sliced almonds, toasted cashew nuts
Crunchy Vegetables: Shredded cabbage, carrot, scallion, red onion
Animal Protein: Grilled chicken, Blackened salmon, Grilled shrimp, Seared Ahi Tuna

  1. In a food processor set with a shredding blade, shred all beets. Place into a bowl and, using a set of tongs, toss with vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper. Beets should be gleaming and their color brighten with the oil. Taste for balance. Add salt and more acid if necessary. I sometimes add a squeeze of lemon juice if the acid is too sweet and not sharp enough. Lemon juice usually does the trick. Lime would work here as well. 
  2. Top with ingredients of choice and serve.

Suppers is a brain-based recovery program for preventing and reversing health problems with food. If you want to submit a story about how you achieved your goals by focusing on a diet of whole foods, please send in a story to Dor!

If you would like to join our mailing list, please head over to our website to sign up and fill out a questionnaire – that will let us know what interests you in health and/or cooking! To become a subscriber of The Purple Apron, email Allie and she’ll put you on the list!

As always, head to our website for recipes, tips, stories, meeting schedules, registration for workshops, and more! The Suppers Programs is dedicated to helping YOU make your own personal transition towards a healthier life. Join us and discover your path towards vibrant health, seated next to a caring Suppers member, enjoying a divine meal together!

Suppers social resources:

Suppers Website
Facebook Page
Instagram handle @suppersprograms

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How I Turned Around Diabetes

A Welcome From Dor

Dor photo by David Crow

There are few things that inspire more gratitude in me than hearing people speak with candor.  Usually at Suppers, sharing openly and honestly involves taking some kind of a risk: sharing a painful truth about one’s eating habits, acknowledging one’s role in acquiring a diagnosis, or revealing what was once a secret.
Shri is an occasional attendee at Suppers, but she had fully absorbed our founding concept of biological individuality and the need to do one’s own experiments and observations around food.
It is with the utmost respect and gratitude that I acknowledge Shri for sharing the tension among her culture, her eating preferences, and her biological individuality.

 Shri’s Story – How I Turned Around Diabetes

As an Indian American, I came to the United States over 34 years ago as a graduate student and later settled down as a financial services executive. I semi retired in 2013 hoping to do all the things I couldn’t do before –exercise regularly, eat better, meditate and be an engaged parent. For the most part, I was doing all of these things, but years of careless eating habits (carb rich and processed foods) reared their ugly head. Despite all my resistance, I had to learn to accept my fate and make conscious changes to control what I possibly could.

When I first learned about Suppers four years ago, I didn’t have any health problems. The concept intrigued me as did the opportunity to cook healthy meals. I also enjoyed the communal dining aspect and focus on intentional/mindful eating, so I periodically attended Suppers meetings.

I didn’t see any other option to reverse diabetes or high blood sugar. I really didn’t want to become dependent on medication and insulin.

Eight months ago when my blood sugar levels increased dramatically due to significant stress caused by unforeseen circumstances, I attended several workshops hosted by Suppers on this topic. At one of these meetings, Dor casually mentioned that Suppers was hosting a “Whole 30” cleanse, so I came home and researched the concept. It involved eating meat. I wasn’t sure I could do this given the fact that I had been eating a vegetarian diet for the past few years. At the same time, I didn’t see any other option to reverse diabetes or high blood sugar.  I really didn’t want to become dependent on medication and insulin.

I grew up in a household that practiced Jainism in India. Jains are forbidden to eat any meat, eggs, poultry and fish, but also root vegetables. The fundamental belief of this religion is rooted in non violence and taking extreme measures to not harm any living being (for example, uprooting a plant causes it to die, hence no potatoes, beetroot etc.).  

Truth be told, I didn’t miss anything as there were plenty of available choices – legumes, ancient grains (red millet, amaranth, pearl millet, barley, oats to supplement wheat and rice),  along with spices, seeds and nuts as well as fruits and vegetables. All the grains were ground at the local mill. My mother preserved and cured vegetables, ground her own spices, made yogurt with active cultures along with cold pressed juice. Fresh fruits and vegetables were purchased almost every day from a handcart. Fresh full fat milk was delivered to the house every morning. There was no microwave, and eating leftovers was not an acceptable practice. In general, almost everyone I knew lived like this.

I needed to slowly introduce meat back into my diet.

As an adventurous person, I started eating meat when I came to the United States.  It was convenient and often times the only available option, so I ate essentially “anything that wouldn’t bite me back”.

About four years ago, I gave up eating meat as I used to feel uncomfortable and nauseous. Every time I cooked meat or poultry, I felt repulsed and didn’t feel like eating the food I had prepared. When I ate in restaurants, I was concerned about the quality of meat (mostly non organic) as it also made me feel nauseous.

So with Whole 30 my options were really limited. I wanted to start the program but knew that I would not be able to practice it right away.  I needed to slowly introduce meat back into my diet.

I started slowly with one meal a day that incorporated meat. I only bought high quality grass fed and antibiotic free poultry, eggs and meat, as well as wild caught fish.  
Like the Suppers program, I made cooking and eating an intentional and mindful process. I also selected simple recipes that would be easy to prepare and make ahead of time so that it wouldn’t interfere with work.

When the pressure was off, I found that my body wasn’t rejecting the food. So I started the Whole 30 program on my own. My diet is low carb, < 20 grams per day, and comprises of meat and vegetables along with nuts, cheese and almond milk. I ate an apple occasionally, if I felt lightheaded as I still took medication.

Within a week, my blood sugar levels were below 100 – every time I tested – fasting, after lunch and dinner. My energy levels had increased and my mind felt sharper. My mood swings disappeared and better yet I didn’t feel hungry or the need to snack all the time. 

During the first week I worked out twice a day and felt even better.  I continue to work out for 45-60 minutes every day – mostly moderate activity – walk, use the treadmill or elliptical along with lifting weights and using strength training equipment.

My fear of insulin shots and medication were greater than that of eating meat again.  
I also thought that I may not be able to follow the Whole 30 diet because I had to take medications, so during the first week, I was particularly attentive to any symptoms that I might experience – light headedness, dizziness etc.

After the first two days of light headaches, I actually started feeling much better – higher energy, clearer focus, sharper thinking and fewer mood swings.  I didn’t really miss carbs as much as I thought I would.

The second week was harder – I started getting chills, so I increased my intake of calories – still following the Whole 30 program. On some days to compensate I ate 30 carbs instead of the required 20. While some of my resistance to meat was “mental,” it was also “physical” in that I needed to eat organic and antibiotic free items as much as possible. I have not felt nauseous either with my home cooked meals. Whole 30 is forcing me to look at food very differently. It’s almost as if I am going back in time to my childhood with the emphasis on fresh food! As an added bonus, I have also lost weight.

Low starch veg + turkey meatballs with ginger, egg, scallion, and indian spices, okra, tomato, onion, and greens on the side.

The spices should include turmeric, coriander, cumin, some form of pepper, black pepper, cardamom to combine anti-inflammatory properties. And temper the spices in oil first. Probably telling you stuff you know already.


Spiced Meatballs for Shri, by Allie

48465d_e59e795f6cb742439f1316e9dd4a1081While Shri’s imagery and lovely descriptions of food in a charmingly ancient way were enough to captivate any eager reader, make no mistake: what you’ve just heard is one of the most incredible stories of transformation in the history of The Suppers Program. 

Dor’s favorite thing other than people who speak frankly about themselves is when people accept the fact that there is no quicker or more painless path forward than by way of experimentation.

When culture and bio-individual needs don’t fit with one another it is, first of all, difficult to detect food insensitivities, and second of all difficult to reconcile choices. HOW a Jainist Indian woman discovered that a diet consisting of animal protein and crunchy vegetables EVEN HAPPENED is beyond me – even though I just literally finished reading/typing the story. More than that is the transformation of Shri – a woman whose fasting glucose number was 335 and after two months of experimenting with Whole30 those same numbers were under 100. That isn’t just incredible, it’s miraculous.

If you can think about your relationship with food as an experiment, if you have the luxury of time to spend figuring out that: yes you CAN have lamb and beef but NOT chick peas or that onions are causing your abdominal distress or maybe it’s kale and leafy greens that you must avoid like the plague or that you are or are not allergic to raw or cooked vegetables (yes that is a thing) IF you can experiment and listen to your body. If you can do that, then you need never worry about “dieting” as a concept of holding something back from yourself. Your diet will only ever consist of foods that make you feel healthy and vibrant, flexible, energetic, and full of joy. I mean, you know, as flexible as you can manage.

The nice thing about Indian food is that it’s really all about spices when you think about it. Different areas of lots of regions have traditional foods based on what the land can produce, what animals can thrive, and what the community can process. Northern Indian cuisine features ingredients like goat, paneer, chicken, and dairy products, while Southern Indian cuisine is traditionally strictly vegetarian (and ridiculously spicy like….omigod). Anyway, the point is – spices like turmeric, coriander, nutmeg, mace and black pepper, seeds of cumin and fennel and mustard, curry paste made with fresh ginger, cardamom pods, and clove – there are more but the marriage of spicy next to sweet next to strength is the flavor profile of Indian spices and, therefore, Indian foods. 

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So, yeah, meatballs work just fine. Isn’t that thing cool by the way?! Dor let me borrow it for the blog but then I forgot to give it back to her. I don’t know what my favorite part is but besides the turmeric I think it’s the spoon. So cute!

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There are a couple of things you can do with these spices. Me, I’m a spice grinder kind of girl. Most people will take their whole spices and temper them in coconut oil over a medium flame until they get fragrant. You can do that too.

I just pop everything in that bowl into a spice grinder and make a sludge of sundried tomatoes out of it for a flavor base.

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Bam! When making meatballs, my secret is to put as much flavor as possible in there and don’t add any breadcrumbs or eggs. Once you add eggs you basically have to add breadcrumbs to sop up the eggs, which you didn’t have to add in the first place. Save the eggs for breakfast.

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Sear the meatballs in a tablespoon of coconut oil for 1-2 minutes a side, turning along the way. Another option is to place them into the oven directly. That helps to keep the sphere shape but it doesn’t get the brown sides like you may want.

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Dr. Adi says that the brown sear on foods is full of AGEs (Advanced Glycation End) which basically is a carcinogen and carcinogens speed up aging. Which is dreadful when you consider how delicious brown seared things are and how pretty much any delicious sauce you’ve ever eaten has been, at some point, de-glazed. I haven’t totally recovered from learning this information in December at Taste of Suppers so I think I am just going to have to sear these meatballs.

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I found that they ended up being totally delicious over some Chana Masala with some freshly diced raw red onion.


Indian Spiced Meatballs

For the paste:
1 teaspoon coriander seed
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
1/4 teaspoon mustard seed
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seed (the white ones)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 heaping teaspoon sea salt
16 sundried tomatoes, rehydrated in water for 8 hours
3 small cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water

For the meatballs:
1 pound ground beef
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried herbs of choice
3/4 cup prepared paste

1. In a spice grinder, combine coriander, cumin, fennel, mustard, and fenugreek seeds. Grind until smooth and place in a small bowl. Add tumeric, pepper, and sea salt.

2. In a high powered blender, place drained sundried tomatoes, fresh garlic, oil, water, and spice blend. Blend until completely smooth. Should be very thick.

3. Place 3/4 cup of paste into meatball mix and blend with hands until evenly incorporated. Form meatballs until all mix is used up. (There will be extra sundried tomato paste – you can make this into a sauce or freeze it for future meatballs)

4. In a skillet, over medium high heat, melt coconut oil. Place meatballs in oil and sear 1-2 minutes per side, remembering to sear all sides of the meatballs. Alternatively you may place meatballs on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes or until cooked through.

5. Serve over chana masala (freshly made or leftover works for me…) or with a sauce made from the paste and some sauteed green vegetables. Stores up to 5 days.


Suppers is a brain-based recovery program for preventing and reversing health problems with food. If you want to submit a story about how you achieved your goals by focusing on a diet of whole foods, please send in a story to Dor!

If you would like to join our mailing list, please send an email to our administration and let us know what interests you in health and/or cooking! To become a subscriber of The Purple Apron, email Allie and she’ll put you on the list!

As always, head to our website for recipes, tips, stories, meeting schedules, registration for workshops, and more! The Suppers Programs is dedicated to helping YOU make your own personal transition towards a healthier life. Join us and discover your path towards vibrant health, seated next to a caring Suppers member, enjoying a divine meal together!

Suppers social resources:

Suppers Website
Facebook Page
Instagram handle @suppersprograms

Experiments

A Welcome From Dor

Dor photo by David Crow

Would you characterize yourself more as a lab rat or a Guinea pig?  I mean, we are already unwittingly serving as research subjects for the processed food manufacturers, the chemical companies, and the pharmaceutical industry. Right?  As soon as we acknowledge that this is happening, we can take control of the situation.

We can vote with our dollars; we can refuse to support projects that put our children’s health at risk; we can buy real food and food that’s (relatively) free of pesticides. We can also become our own test subjects and run our own experiments.

We pulled Holly’s story from Logical Miracles. She wrote it in 2009, but the message is as true today. We are all guinea pigs anyway! Why don’t we learn the language our bodies speak to us and become the managers of our own labs? You can make it happen faster than it takes you to say “How you feel is data!”  Just start noticing how you feel.
So far this year Suppers has hosted a Breakfast Challenge and a Whole30 Challenge, and will be hosting a vegan cleanse in April. Why all these? Because biological individuality demands that to live a vibrant life, we must each do our own experiments and find our own personal pathway to vibrant health. Holly has some good advice.

Holly’s Story: Experiments

For me, Suppers turned out to be all about experiments. Eat this, see how you feel. Don’t eat that, see how you feel. Eat this and don’t eat that and see how you feel. Eat this first, then that. See how you feel. Add vegetables. Subtract sugar. See how you feel. Eat brownies on an empty stomach (I wouldn’t recommend it). Then see if you can have one after a good meal (much better). I was willing to do these experiments because I didn’t want to give up all my favorite foods.

In a way it was a trick. The completely unexpected outcome was that I started desiring things I never had a taste for before. I heard about “transition sweets,” using combinations of seasoned sweet vegetables like yams and sweet potatoes to satisfy my hunger for desserts. It backfired for somebody else at my meeting who also tried this experiment, making her crave more sweets. But it worked for me, giving me just enough of a sugar hit to feel satisfying.

Seeing if my appetite foolishness starts up is the way I can tell if an experiment succeeded or succeeded. Yes, succeeded or succeeded.

Some of the people at my meeting are completely off gluten, some wish they were, and others are fine on it. I found I was one of the lucky ones who can tolerate wheat bread, but it took staying off it for a few months to confirm that I was OK with or without it. Once again I felt tricked: by the time I figured out I was OK eating gluten, I’d learned to survive without it. So I ended up eating a lot less junky baked goods and more soup or salad.

Seeing if my appetite foolishness starts up is the way I can tell if an experiment succeeded or succeeded. Yes, succeeded or succeeded. The experiment is a success if it tells me I can eat a food and it’s a success if it tells me I can’t. Or maybe I can handle a small amount mixed with other things. The point is, clarity equals success. The way I know a food is good for me is if it satisfies my hunger. I know it’s not good for me if it makes me want to eat more and more. If I feel like I fell on a trip wire to overeating, that’s data about what I just put in  my mouth.

The only way I ever failed at these experiments was by not writing down everything I ate. I felt ashamed seeing it in writing. But then I got so good at reading my body’s signals that even bad reporting didn’t matter because I could get the information from how I felt.

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I could have gone to a doctor and gotten the same information after lots of testing, but my insurance doesn’t cover it. And I’m not so sure I would have trusted the results anyway, since I don’t know the people in charge as well as I know the lady who runs my lab.


Honoring Holly’s Hunt, by Allie

While flipping through Logical Miracles searching for new blog posts, Holly’s story jumped off the page almost immediately. The tale of her quest, her hunt for what works, how to find that information out, and what to do with it – THAT is a solid representation of the work that Suppers does.

There are so many diet plans and fads suggesting exactly WHAT to eat and what NOT to eat, when to eat it, etc. What always amazes me about Suppers again and again is the spirit of discovery and experimentation that is fostered within our communities. Research can be a fascinating thing if you are only looking at data because you are interested in what the data shows -in an almost nonpartisan way. We are all simply subjects in the eyes of science. Science is as open minded as Justice is blind. If you are interested in feeling well and achieving vibrant health, then you can take data found within your mouth and make conscious decisions based on the results.

Knowing what your inflammatory foods are, however, is the first step.

Recently, Suppers hosted a Whole30 challenge. Whole30 is currently the most popular diet challenge around because it is pretty forgiving (meaning there are a LOT of foods that you are allowed to eat) and there are a ton of resources available for free so that you can get started. You can download the “Yes” list, the “No” list and the “Mehhhhhh fine whatever” list for free! This type of “cleanse” is very in line with the type of food already served at Suppers meetings (save a few minor pro-inflammatory details) but the best thing about it is probably that you can eat burgers still.

So if you’re going to make a burger, it might as well be the BEST DAMN BURGER you can think of making, ever.

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I’m getting ahead of myself but LOOK at that thing. It’s like a towering tower of succulent, gooey, fatty, protein laced, deliciously seasoned green and brown and yellow one eyed monster. Shoutout to my egg guy down the street, by the way. Sigh, oh how I wish I had chickens in my own backyard. Alas…

Let’s talk about this – you might think you know how to make a burger (and the chances are VERY good that you do) – but getting creative in terms of the construction of said burger is where there can perhaps be improvements.

Bread
Obviously, a burger is defined as a patty of some sort of meat or meat substitute placed between two pieces of burger bun. However, bread is an evil, evil temptress and she harbors the fugitive gluten in nearly every case. If Whole30 is your jam then, well, you can’t have that jam on bread. Also I’m pretty sure jam is out too. But I digress.

What can bread be replaced with? Well…..what other thing is round and can encapsulate something shaped like a burger?

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Burger & Portobello Mushroom, best friends forever. I mean, think about it. It’s round, it looks like a burnt bun, and as long as you don’t eat it with your hands you’ll probably have a marvelous time.

Think of other things that can replace the bread for a burger and try them out!

Cheese
Some people use burgers as a vehicle for cheese and some people use cheese as a vehicle for like mustard or something. But what IS cheese, really? It’s packed with flavor that is carried by fat. It can be sharp and I certainly will not say that there is a taste or texture equivalent that will match that cheesiness of cheese…however, when you really break it down cheese is fat, protein, and salt.

So a nice farm egg will do splendidly.

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I seriously think this burger was the most beautiful tower I’ve ever made. I didn’t even want to eat it after because it was so picturesque.

The Burger
The difference here isn’t really all that noticeable because the burger will still taste great with just salt and pepper. Some people put chopped onions and eggs in their burger patty meat. I am NOT of this philosophy. At ALL. But whatever you want to do to increase flavor is obviously fine with me.

I use high quality grassfed beef and whatever spices are calling out to me. Today it was smoked paprika (to add some smoke flavor to a pan-fried burger cause snow you guys), celtic sea salt, black pepper and just a pinch of turmeric.

 I did a simple pan sear (use coconut oil if you use stainless steel, I used cast iron and no oil) and then popped it in the oven with my portobello mushroom for 10 minutes. That was a perfect medium.
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Fries
I know, it’s easy to just be like um, fries are not part of a burger or why don’t you just make roasted sweet potatoes but I’d like us to get a little bit more creative.
Again – what do we get from fries? Fat, starch, salt, and satisfaction. Well, with enough olive oil (to finish) this can be achieved with sauteed greens too. I promise! Delicious sauteed greens can be AS satisfying if not more than a plate of greasy french fries or heavy sugary root vegetables. Plus, root vegetables can be triggers for some folks so you want to watch your reactions to them carefully.
In closing, there are three other benefits of sauteeing greens:
  • Greens like spinach, when consumed raw, have pretty high levels of oxalic acid. Eating a combination of raw and cooked greens are optimal for achieving an alkaline system (which is more beneficial than an acidic system).
  • Chewing can get tedious when you consider how much spinach you COULD be eating if you just sauteed it. I feel like I could saute an entire pound of spinach and it would end up being like 2 cups. No joke.
  • Garlic, helloooooooooooooo.

Ready to go grocery shopping? Here’s your list!


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Whole30 Burger Tower

1 8oz grassfed burger patty
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
pinch turmeric
1 portobello mushroom cap
12 oz spinach
olive oil
1 farm egg, fried to your liking

1. Preheat oven to 400 and line a small baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Form burger patty and sprinkle spices on both sides.
3. In a cast iron pan, over medium high heat, sear burger 2-3 minutes per side. Place seared burger patty on parchment lined baking sheet and place mushroom cap beside patty. Place in a preheated oven and roast 10 minutes or longer for a more well-done burger.
4. Saute spinach in cast iron until wilted. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle some sea salt – remove from heat and place in a pile in the middle of a plate. Fry farm egg and set aside.
5. Create your burger tower by layering portobello mushroom cap, face-up, over spinach and placing burger patty over mushroom. Gently place farm egg on top of burger and finish with black pepper, if desired. Enjoy immediately or just stare at it.


Suppers is a brain-based recovery program for preventing and reversing health problems with food. If you want to submit a story about how you achieved your goals by focusing on a diet of whole foods, please send in a story to Dor!

If you would like to join our mailing list, please send an email to our administration and let us know what interests you in health and/or cooking! To become a subscriber of The Purple Apron, email Allie and she’ll put you on the list!

As always, head to our website for recipes, tips, stories, meeting schedules, registration for workshops, and more! The Suppers Programs is dedicated to helping YOU make your own personal transition towards a healthier life. Join us and discover your path towards vibrant health, seated next to a caring Suppers member, enjoying a divine meal together!

Suppers social resources:

Suppers Website
Facebook Page
Instagram handle @suppersprograms

Discovery

A Welcome From Dor

Dor photo by David CrowOne immutable, non-negotiable, inflexible, hard-nosed, defining characteristic of Suppers is that as an organization we. don’t. tell. people. what. to. eat.  With only one food rule – avoid processed food – we ask people to focus on running personal experiments to tease out data about what food makes them feel the best.  Sometimes a little slip reveals more about your body than a slew of tests, as it did the day Sandy C lost her vision.

When you’re done reading her story, please let Dor know you want to join our experiment groups.

Throughout 2017, Suppers will be hosting a range of activities from 5-minute experiments in your email inbox to hosting group challenges in private Facebook groups. The Breakfast Challenge starts January 23rd; the next Breakfast Challenge will take place later this year. Members are already posting to a Whole30 group, however the “30 day challenge” has yet to begin — stay tuned. In the spring we will be hosting a vegan cleanse.

The point of all of these experiments and challenges is to help you understand and embrace the most important breakthrough Suppers offers — that How You Feel is Data!

Please enjoy the story of Sandy C’s Discovery, for there is no data so dramatically suggestive as instantaneous, spontaneous blindness.


Sandy C’s Story – Discovery

What happened when I took charge and became my own private investigator is nothing short of amazing.  AMAZING!

I did one of the popular cleansing diets for a few weeks, nothing drastic, I was still having some relatively normal meals.  I devoted myself to the program for six weeks:  No sugar, no alcohol, no unhealthy snacking, just whole foods and some protein. My one daily treat was the 8-ounce cup of coffee that I enjoyed each morning. By the end of the six weeks, I felt great. I had lost 10 pounds and had a noticeably more positive mental outlook.

The way an elimination diet works, you start adding foods back and if suddenly a symptom returns, then you have demonstrated to yourself that that food is somehow a culprit in your particular body.  Some people might get headaches back; some people might feel depressed; others might get a surge of inflammation like muscle pain or a rash that had quieted down during the experiment.

So I started adding foods back in, one by one, so that I could observe if a particular food was driving any of my health problems.  I liked how I had lost weight on the elimination, and I didn’t want to undo all the good results by mindlessly returning to my old ways of eating. It just so happened that I walked up to my desk and someone had left a cold frosty Diet Coke. I certainly hadn’t been drinking soda on the diet, and in general I have a soda only now and then, but there was this Diet Coke sitting on my desk.  I sat down, opened it and took a few deep drinks straight from the can.

It was a good thing I was sitting down because it wasn’t long before I suddenly lost my vision. The vision loss was like large black circles in both eyes; there was light and a kind of peripheral vision. I couldn’t believe what was happening, I think I was in shock. In any case, I can’t remember any other symptoms because my anxiety was through the roof. As I sat there, after several minutes the blackness faded and I could see again. The experience certainly got my attention. When I felt more composed, I clicked around on the internet to see what might have happened. I have no idea if the visual problems associated with aspartame explain my experience; all I really needed to know is that I need to never drink another diet soda. I tell my story to my diet soda-drinking friends, usually without results. That’s OK, at least they know who they can talk to if they want to feel better and become willing to work on their eating habits.

I am still in the early stages of my journey, and I’m grateful that I had a dramatic reaction to my first experiment. It helps me stay in the process of being my own private investigator, engaged in discovering my body’s ways of telling me how it reacts to the processed food supply. It has given me a whole new perspective on paying detailed attention to what I am eating and continuing with this important work.


No Soda for Sandy, By Allie

48465d_e59e795f6cb742439f1316e9dd4a1081Jeez, I guess that’s the end of Diet Coke for me. My eyes don’t need any help accelerating towards a stronger prescription because as it is I can’t go more than a few months without leaving my glasses on an airplane in New Orleans or just not feeling like wearing them because nerding isn’t trending anymore. (It’s only moderately trendy to be a nerd right now). And then after I forget what hole they fell into. I only really need them when my eyes are super tired on a late night drive in the rain. Seriously, my eyes are fine I swear you guys.

The real villain here for Sandy is clearly Diet Coke. I’ve heard from more than a few folks plus real and !FAKE! news about that specific soda being the culprit for a lot of issues – even death. Though I don’t know the chemical compound which could be to blame and while there are definitely not nearly enough studies to back up these claims, it’s tough to argue with personal experience. Especially when there’s definitely not ONE thing that is “healthy” about Diet Coke. Still day after day after year after decade, people will continue to drink this soda — and pretty much every soda.

The thing is, beverages are easy to overlook as part of a diet in general because…well…they don’t fill you up, they give the illusion of offering hydration, they’re somewhat see through or totally clear so they also offer the illusion that they’re…dare I say it, healthy? Low calorie? I don’t know how else to explain the Big Gulp. I mean WHAT THE HECK YOU GUYS. Why does this exist?

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Oh my God so many things. First of all, I literally thought that the Big Gulp was as big as it got WHICH IS WHY I MENTIONED IT in the first place. Super Big Gulp? Double Gulp? By the way, the Double Gulp is 64 ounces. 64 Ounces is the minimum recommended amount of water that everyone should be drinking every day. (It’s actually half your body weight, in ounces, like 140 pounds divided by two is 70 ounces per day, but whatever.)

This brings me to…the X-treme Gulp. P.S. What is it with Americans and misspelling the word X-treme to do things that should really just be called unnecessary? Barf. Oh and also you know that ridiculous FULL GALLON soda cup that is on the far right? The X-tremely unnecessary one? It costs $0.99 to refill that sucker. The soda tax should be looking sexier and sexier to everyone right now – it would eliminate the possibility of such insane, inane refill scenarios.

Beverages are also a known culprit in childhood obesity and the many shocking cases of Type II Diabetes in children. Beverages! It’s so easy to look past the sugar, even as a parent but especially as a kid, when the sugar has dissolved into liquid and the liquid tastes good. It’s so easy to forget that a 99 cent Arizona iced tea has 64 grams of sugar – SIXTEEN TEASPOONS – per can. (Not per serving, per can. But, really, who opens a can and doesn’t finish it besides college freshmen? And who puts 2.5 servings in a non-resealable can besides criminals? Exactly.)

So basically in modern times you have to actively, consciously, make the choice to look at labels, to understand sugar in grams vs. teaspoons, and make sweetened (chemically or naturally) beverages a treat instead of a routine. Drink water. Nothing so flavorless ever tasted so good. Lol when my brother was home for the holidays we were sitting down for lunch and he asked me what I wanted to drink. I said “Liquid”, and he said “What kind?”, and I said “Plain” and then he laughed because he thinks I’m funny.

If you’re just starting out with the whole water thing (just go with me on this) and you “don’t like the taste” of water, no worries! A doctor once told me that plain water doesn’t absorb as efficiently in the body without a little sumthin sumthin in there anyway! She drinks water with fresh lemon or other citrus, and a bit of juice! I guess the body absorbs things more enthusiastically when it knows there’s carbohydrates in there. And electrolytes. Anyway, the point is – start where you are. Start with half-water, half-your favorite beverage. Experiment with different fruits to place in water. Try cucumber water! There’s a reason why that’s a thing.

Just do one thing for me…if you buy an X-treme Gulp, calculate the number of teaspoons of sugar it contains before drinking it. OK, I’ll just do that for you: It’s 100. There are ONE HUNDRED teaspoons of sugar in an X-treme Gulp (gallon) of soda. The recommended number of teaspoons per day for an adult male is NINE TEASPOONSWomen have a recommendation closer to six teaspoons.

I’m going to let that sink in before we review.


Things We’ve Learned Today

  • The Big Gulp is actually the smallest Gulp
  • One teaspoon equals 4 grams of sugar
  • The highest daily recommendation for teaspoons of sugar is 9 (about 36 grams)
  • If you divide your body weight in two and transfer that number to ounces, that is the number of ounces of water you’re supposed to be drinking everyday but a 64oz minimum is a good rule of thumb
  • Beverages may contain chemicals, calories, and sugar so check the label, including the serving size
  • Water doesn’t have any chemicals, calories, or sugar, and it’s free for many Americans
  • Allie gets REALLY mad and goes on rants sometimes and everyone else has to kind of just deal with it because she’s definitely not going to stop and they all know she’s probably right anyways

One more thing. It is illegal for a food-serving establishment to refuse to give you water for free. They can, however, charge you for the cup. FYI.

Let’s move on.

Sandy’s story was about an amazing (amazingly bad but still pretty amazing) effect that a beverage had on her body. So Dor and I thought that today I would teach you how to make a different beverage that can have amazing effects on the body: Golden Milk.


Golden Milk is super trendy but very ancient. The reason why Golden Milk is a healing beverage is because it’s basically Turmeric in drinkable form. And Turmeric is very, very healing. 

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For the past generation, turmeric has been gracefully climbing the rungs of modern medicine to find its place towards the top. It has been, and will continue to be, studied for over 20 years for its anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer properties. But this ginger-like root has been used as medicine in Southeast Asia for like literally thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicinal practices as well as religious Hindu ceremonies. Plus, it will dye the crap out of your hands, counter, cutting board, etc.

Anyway, the one thing they are discovering about Turmeric in science that you may not have known (and it’s why Golden Milk is particularly useful) is that you have to consume like a lot of Turmeric to make a difference, medicinally speaking. More than would be palatable, say, in a curry or a plate of food. This is why they sell those Turmeric pills at the health food store – because if you poured that much on dinner you might not want to eat dinner.

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Golden Milk solves that problem by encapsulating the flavor of Turmeric in coconut fat (or milkfat) and calming it down, offering a balance of sweetness and spiciness, and allowing the drinker to quietly enjoy a strong, filling cup of tea that must be slowly sipped. The flavor of golden milk is only mildly “acquired” and can be something that you, your children, and your family will begin to crave in a short time.

Here’s how to make it:


Step One: Place coconut milk or whole fat milk, turmeric (raw or dried), ginger, coconut oil, and spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and peppercorn into a saucepan and bring to a slow simmer with some water. Ideally the mixture should simmer quietly for about 10 minutes.

Don’t boil the mixture – ESPECIALLY if you are using real milk because it will scald and then it will taste NARSTY. The water in the recipe acts like a buffer for the heat. Once it evaporates, the milk is done.

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I let mine go more like 15 minutes because it wasn’t “golden” enough.

dsc_0391Step Two: Stir in a dash of honey, if desired, alcohol-free vanilla, or stevia until dissolved. Use a fine strainer to separate the liquid from the roots and spices. Pour into mugs and garnish with freshly grated cinnamon or nutmeg. Serve warm.

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Golden Milk

1 cup coconut milk, almond milk, or whole milk
1/2 cup water
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 nutmeg pod (*optional)
1 1-inch piece raw turmeric, thinly sliced (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 1/4 inch piece ginger, chopped
6 peppercorns, white, black, or pink!
up to 1 Tablespoon honey (*optional, use stevia or another sweetener if desired)
freshly grated cinnamon and/or nutmeg for garnish

  1. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, stir together milk, water, and coconut oil. Add cinnamon stick, nutmeg, turmeric, ginger, and peppercorns. Bring to a slow simmer, watching closely. Simmer for 10 minutes. Mixture will thicken slightly.
  2. Stir in honey or sweetener and strain over a fine strainer into a mug. Garnish with freshly grated (or dried) cinnamon and nutmeg, if desired. Serve warm.

Suppers is a brain-based recovery program for preventing and reversing health problems with food. If you want to submit a story about how you achieved your goals by focusing on a diet of whole foods, please send in a story to Dor!

If you would like to join our mailing list, please send an email to our administration and let us know what interests you in health and/or cooking! To become a subscriber of The Purple Apron, email Allie and she’ll put you on the list!

As always, head to our website for recipes, tips, stories, meeting schedules, registration for workshops, and more! The Suppers Programs is dedicated to helping YOU make your own personal transition towards a healthier life. Join us and discover your path towards vibrant health, seated next to a caring Suppers member, enjoying a divine meal together!

Suppers social resources:

Suppers Website
Facebook Page
Instagram handle @suppersprograms

Breakfast is Key

A Welcome From Dor

Dor photo by David Crow

You are just going to have to act first and then believe. If I try to make you believe first, then act, it will never happen. The Logical Miracles fall out of the sky when people who experience breakfast deficit disorder start getting their needs met for food at the beginning of the day.
It’s not one tidy diagnosis that clears up. We’ve seen better control of blood sugar, reduced anxiety and panic attacks, more comfortable sobriety, better school performance, and resolution of headaches — just from finding one’s personal best breakfast.

Ellen’s Story: Breakfast is Key

I thought I’d heard every personal label there was, but I was wrong. I’ve heard, “I’m an alcoholic”; “I’m a drug addict”; “I’m a sex-addicted, drug-addicted alcoholic”; “I’m an overeater” – you name it.

When I was new to Suppers meetings, a young woman introduced herself with a label that was new to me: “I’m an O.” She meant blood type O, and she went on to explain the diet and lifestyle changes she decided to make, based on something we read at Suppers. If we’re going to label ourselves at all, this sounded to me like a much gentler way of going about it: identifying ourselves in terms of our individual biological needs. Another woman dealt with her personal biology by honoring her family history and allowing coconut fat back into her life. Polly’s skin cleared up and her mood swings leveled out when she discovered she “really is a coconut.” My story was different. I reported on a book about different metabolic types and realized I need lots and lots of vegetables and not as much protein as my friends. I just feel better this way.

Although our conclusions are very different, sharing our stories has helped me see there is one common denominator: real food. 

In practical terms, the most important things for my “O” friend were eating breakfast and getting off all foods with gluten, like wheat and oats. Once she did that, she had a much easier time avoiding binges and panic attacks. It was key to controlling her weight without going crazy. The biggest improvement for me came when I started eating beans or an omelet for breakfast. Right away I lost interest in afternoon coffee to give me a lift, and my moods became more even. Although our conclusions are very different, sharing our stories has helped me see there is one common denominator: real food. No matter what other truths revealed themselves about our needs, Real Food topped the list. I believe that anybody who comes to Suppers to work on making sobriety more comfortable or their blood sugar easier to control will benefit just from heading in the direction of real whole food. But those of us who have made the biggest strides are the ones who took the time to understand our personal biology.


Black Beans for Ellen’s Breakfast, By Allie

48465d_e59e795f6cb742439f1316e9dd4a1081Just while we’re into categorizations, I’m a “B”. The theory on how your blood type steers what and how you should eat is owned by a man named Peter D’Adamo, who wrote a book called: Eat Right For Your Blood Type. My Dad has been on this diet for like 16 years, no joke. But that was just an accident.

It all started when my sister was about 8 or 9 years old – she was having chronic stomach pains and nothing would help them go away. Although she did eat vegetables she also ate an impressive amount of bread and refined carbohydrates, like a lot of 8 or 9 year olds. For a long time no one could make the connection and then I guess it just clicked for my Dad one day when he picked up the book, knowing her blood type already. According to the book, Type O’s REALLY don’t agree with refined or processed foods, especially grains and particularly gluten.

He dropped everything and ran to Wild Oats, do you guys remember that store?!?!?! It was like if Whole Foods, Mrs. Green’s, and Whole Earth Center had a baby and then rolled that baby in granola and Burt’s Bees chapstick and gave that baby dreadlocks and everything else that goes along with having dreadlocks. Now that I think about it the thought of my Dad shopping there on a weekly basis is 80% endearing and 20% hilarious.

Within days her stomach pains went away. 

Anyways he and my sister both go on this diet – he went on it for solidarity and to make her feel better about the whole thing. He’s blood type A – for Agriculture – a blood type that was born around totalitarian agriculture about 10,000 years ago when humans began to grow food and cultivate the Earth. According to D’Adamo, “A’s” actually can have unrefined grains and even wheat, however should not eat meat, poultry, or a bunch of other randomly specific food items. My sister is apparently supposed to be eating meat off the bone wrapped in meat and cooked in animal fat and rolled in meat smoked over a fire made of meat. (Or maybe she should just try Paleo for awhile.) Within days her stomach pains went away. More excited, my Dad goes back to Wild Oats for the third time that week, buying more and more gluten free products that just hit the shelves, because in the story this is the 90’s.

A month later, Dad goes for a routine appointment with his doctor. The doctor is like, “uhhhh what have you been doing?” My wonderfully observant father goes, “nothing.” The doctor is like, “well your cholesterol is all of a sudden normal.” (For his cholesterol at the time, this is a big deal). Maybe at that point he was like, “Oh well you know I have totally and completely changed everything about my diet in a way that I never have before and I stopped eating most animal products and stuff” but also maybe not. Either way the situation yielded the same result: a major health transformation in a matter of weeks.

Eventually my sister ended her devotion to the blood type diet and returned to eating gluten and refined foods – according to her, her food allergies end with milk (not cheese, not pizza, not kefir, just milk) and gluten is not something that bothers her enough to avoid it entirely. Regardless of her situation, what has happened for my Dad with this diet has been pretty amazing and, for me, at age 13 or 14 at the time, it was the first that I’d heard of the connection between food and the individual body (even if there are like four “individual” bodies in the book). Long before I knew about Suppers, before it even started just down the street from where Wild Oats used to sit, I already was introduced to a theory similar to Suppers’ “bioindividuality” and “personal biology”.

And no, I will not give up chicken. Chicken cannot be replaced with turkey, it’s better than beef, and it’s generally what’s for dinner.

Except when there are Black Beans from the Pressure Cooker. Hey, wanna learn how to Pressure Cook things? Keep reading!


Pressure Cooker – The Most Terrifying Stockpot in the Entire World

Not so long ago I was completely and utterly petrified of my pressure cooker. To be honest I’m not exactly sure when or why I even bought one. It was definitely Dor that told me that she could cook beans in 7 minutes, a statement which was understandably fascinating and remains to be something I have not been able to achieve…but I’m close.

Don’t be afraid of your pressure cooker – just know how it works.

Here is a picture of Ned using a pressure cooker to make you feel better.

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There are different types of gages on pressure cookers offering different types of information. All pressure cookers have at the very least:

  • A seal, on the inside of the lid, which should always be properly situated for optimum function and safety
  • A little red popper button thing which pops when the pressure is maximized inside of the pot – this is when you can start that timer on the beans
  • A 1-2-release valve to determine what type of food is being cooked
  • A lock for the lid, usually located at the base of the handle – without this pressure cannot be reached inside the pot

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What you need to know about cooking under pressure is that both liquid and flavor are both forcefully shoved into whatever it is you are trying to cook. If you don’t have enough liquid in the pot and things start to burn inside of the pressure cooker, everything is going to taste like a campfire. Trust me, I’ve done that more than once with potatoes. On the flip side, if you are making a dish like stewed beans or chicken soup, you have a special opportunity to add tons of flavor while things are still quite undercooked.

Of course one of the best side effects for this type of processing is that food cooks in minutes where it usually cooks in several minutes or hours. Beans in minutes. Rice in seconds. Soups in a blink. Stocks in a flash. It’s pretty incredible but you have to know what you are doing man! 

Let me give you the beans example to show you what I mean and for anyone who has ever tasted stewed beans at a Suppers meeting, this is how we do it. (Cue Montell Jordan because now I have the 90’s on the brain.)

Step One: Soak beans for at least an hour. If you want the beans to be more whole at the end of the process then don’t over-soak them. Between 1-3 hours should be fine. Most of the time I forget that I need to soak so I’m lucky if I get to 45 minutes. Just to give you an idea of how forgiving this is.

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Step Two: Rinse beans and add water – not too much!!!!! Too much water leads to mushy beans. A good rule of thumb is that the water should JUST COVER the beans in the pressure cooker. Another bean rule is that you NEVER add salt to the water. Ever ever ever. If you add salt to a pot of beans cooking too early then the beans will never soften. Other than that, we’re ready to go – let’s lock and load.

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Step Three: Bring the pot to pressure and start to cook for about 10-15 minutes. Balance between too much steam being released from the valve and enough heat to cook things as impressively fast as the pressure cooker boasts – you know, speed being the entire point of the contraption in the first place. If you are using gas heat, try to stick to medium/medium-low. For electric stick to like a 3.5 out of 6. Really just experiment though.

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This is a pressure cooker that is AT PRESSURE. Some have gages that will let you know that it is at like 15 PSI or at full pressure but I like the ones with this red valve that pops up and says “hi!”

The pressure cooker WILL LET YOU KNOW if you are overdoing it by releasing a shocking stream of steam in an extremely loud way. Don’t be scared. Just turn off the heat and let the pressure come down. Release that steam even further by flipping the valve to “Release”. Then open it up and check on things.

Step Four: Add your flavor! I used some chopped sweet potato, onion, red onion, garlic, and peppers. Just some leftover farmers market items that I keep in a bowl in the fridge. You can use anything you want but definitely have a can or jar of tomatoes or tomato sauce on hand. That goes in too and adds that extra liquid you may need. Add those things and then return the lid, lock it, and bring everything back to pressure one more time. Pressure cook for another 10 minutes or so and then release the pressure to open.

Anyone can do this prep! Here is a picture of Ned chopping garlic for anyone who needs some help prompting – ahem – others to do things in the kitchen.

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Getting him to do the dishes is another story. 

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The trick to a good pot of stewed beans is cooking the beans a little past half-way and THEN adding vegetables and diced tomatoes or tomato sauce to finish the beans! The flavor added from vegetables and tomatoes make a divinely flavorful dish!

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Step Five: Mix, balance, blend! For this recipe I wanted the final result to be a beautifully smooth, blended soup so I ran my emulsion blender through the beans when it was all finished. Ladle into bowls, garnish decoratively, and serve!


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Black Bean Soup

2 cups dried beans
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 small sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 red bell pepper, de-seeded and chopped
1 15.5 oz can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
1 Tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
Garnishes! (chives, parsley, sour cream, salsa, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, scallions, summer squash, chopped onions, etc.)

1. Soak beans in water in the pot of a pressure cooker for at least 1 hour. Drain almost all of the water out and then add fresh water just to cover beans. Lock pressure cooker lid and bring to pressure over medium heat. Cook 10-15 minutes on full pressure.
2. Release pressure and unlock lid. Stir in onions, sweet potato, pepper, and tomatoes. Bring back to pressure and cook another 10 minutes. Release pressure and lift lid. Stir and taste beans for doneness.
3. If beans are still moderately hard, replace lid, bring back to pressure, and cook another 5 minutes. If beans are done, continue to cook uncovered. Stir in remaining ingredients and taste and balance.
4. Using a blender or an emulsion blender, puree the soup to desired thickness, adding a bit of water or stock if soup is too thick. Serve garnished with any and all desired toppings and enjoy hot!


The Purple Apron is now being distributed on Mailchimp. Please feel free to forward this to friends you think would benefit from hearing about our Suppers members, hearing from our Founder, and hearing from our chef friend!

Suppers is a brain-based recovery program for preventing and reversing health problems with food. If you want to submit a story about how you achieved your goals by focusing on a diet of whole foods, please send in a story to Dor!

As always, head to our website for recipes, tips, stories, meeting schedules, registration for workshops, and more! The Suppers Programs is dedicated to helping YOU make your own personal transition towards a healthier life. Join us and discover your path towards vibrant health, seated next to a caring Suppers member, enjoying a divine meal together!

Suppers social resources:

Suppers Website
Facebook Page
Instagram handle @suppersprograms

Emotions Based On Speculation

A Welcome From Dor

Dor photo by David Crow

Did you ever imagine yourself into a froth just to find out that whatever it was you were anxiously anticipating never came to be?  Or maybe rehearse an imaginary conversation with someone  you love, reinforcing your righteous indignation?  Or how about, did you ever build a case in your mind about someone finding fault with you that bore absolutely no resemblance to reality?

When people share at meetings about all the things that send them into unwanted eating, it often comes up that the triggers come from their own emotions, thoughts, and speculations. This week’s blog is about stress-triggered eating. See if you can identify.

If your body is asking for comfort, let the comfort food be something that meets your true needs for building blocks (fat and proteins) and fuel (wholesome carbohydrates).


Valerie’s Story: Emotions Based on Speculation

My husband knows that there are a few things that make me crazy. I can’t stand clutter, and I have no tolerance for lateness. So when he leaves a trail of clothing and equipment between the back door and the bedroom, it feels like he’s purposely trying to provoke me.  It feels unloving. Or when he makes me late for a dinner date, I get so angry I ruin my whole evening over 25 minutes’ tardiness. The consequence of me getting this irritated is likely to be a candy binge; and he knows it. No matter what the trigger, when I feel hijacked by stress, my automatic choice is to stuff candy in my mouth for the rest of the day. 

I wanted to take his head off. 

I once arrived on the dot at the restaurant where I was supposed to meet him for lunch.  My romantic fantasies that he would be on time were dashed. It came as no real surprise that he wasn’t there. I called and left him a message. I erased the inbox on my cell phone, sent off a couple gratuitous text messages, and cleaned out my already clean pocket book.  My agitation grew as I visualized him playing at his computer, oblivious to the vibrations of his cell phone sitting in the charger two rooms over. Stress contracted the muscles in my neck and shoulders, tightening them as I pictured him totally absorbed by some project he obviously cared about more than me. I shuddered as I realized he didn’t love me any more. At that point I dove into my favorite divorce fantasy, clenching my jaw until it hurt. I got a hard knot in my stomach. And just before I got to the part where I took his head off, the derelict walked in, 14 minutes late and arms wide to greet me.

I learned that the effects [of stress] are the same whether [it] is real or imagined.

He hadn’t been dithering at the computer; he was in a sales meeting. His cell phone wasn’t sitting in the charger; it was turned off for the meeting and he forgot to put it back on. He wasn’t fixed on ruining our marriage; he’s just a man with a broader definition than I have about what it means to be on time. In less than a quarter hour, I had worked every cell in my body into a lather of emotions based on speculation. When he arrived, my brain caught up but my body was still tense and knotted — not a great way to start a meal.

When we talked about stress at Suppers, I learned that the effects on my body are the same whether the stress is real or imagined. My own fabrications could tense my jaw, bring my shoulders up to my ears, and sour my stomach. The lesson for me has been that having emotions based on speculation is like eating bad food. It gets into my body, setting off alarms and seriously jeopardizing my intentions to stick with the food plan I’ve laid out for myself.

My problem is that my imagination carries me away whenever it’s idle too long. I start making assumptions and produce real emotions based on wrong information. I decided a good matching solution would be always to have a paperback book with me so I can be pleasurably reading instead of furiously waiting. Carrying a slightly larger pocket book is a small price to pay for avoiding binges or divorcing a perfectly nice man who just runs a little late.


Stew to Stave off Stress, by Allie

48465d_e59e795f6cb742439f1316e9dd4a1081Fall is the season of one-pot-slops, as I like to call them. The days grow ever shorter as summer is gently bopped on the behind by Mother Nature, lovingly gesturing the warmest month out of the room. Frigid mornings and cooler nights begin to grace us with their chilly presence. Cravings present themselves in different ways – now instead of strawberries, we want apples. Instead of raw slaws, we want hot hashes. Stews replace salads, casseroles replace cobblers. I’m gonna stop before I run out of alliterations. You get the point.

Macrobiotically speaking, we should eat with the seasons in more ways than just produce. If you’re following the seasons, under this philosophy, you must also pay attention to temperatures. The body’s abilities to stretch, expand, sweat, and arch in the summer, combined with the simple fact that we can be outside more, means that we can better use leafy plants like lettuce, radishes, kohlrabi, leafy broccoli rabe, and even foods that are high in sugar, like fruit. As the season turns colder we begin to grow more compacted. We huddle for warmth. We tuck our heads down towards our bellies, hold our arms against our chest, hide bare feet underneath our bums or blankets. The colder months call for cooked foods – foods that do not require so much energy to break down. Foods that will give us nutrients while understanding that the body requires more energy to avoid freezing to death. Longterm energy sources like proteins, and especially fats, become part of the list of foods that we crave. Protein for energy and warm stability, fat for insulation.

Of course…we don’t live outdoors anymore. However even though we have mostly moved up in the world, temperature control wise, that doesn’t mean we can’t continue to honor the seasons, and ourselves, by eating with them both in mind.

This is why I love making soup in the fall. Not only are there fantastic ingredients available, namely winter squash, but also ingredients get just a little sweeter, a little more comforting, a little warmer. Plus, crock pots. And, dutch ovens. Two of my favorite kitchen buddies. So this week I give you one of my most requested recipes (you know, from like my fans and stuff): Butternut Squash Stew. It’s sure to help you de-stress because nothing helps you work out some real bubbly anger than slamming a knife into a huge squash and breaking it apart.


What’s in a Stew?

Any other soup would not taste as sweet. Just kidding, I’m just referencing Romeo and Juliet sort of. Ned’s taking an English class right now. Guess who’s editing his papers? Anyway – one time I was doing a cooking demonstration for a healthy holiday cooking class and one of the recipes was Butternut Squash Soup. At the time I only made the pureed version of this dish because I was obsessed with my emulsion blender (I had not realized the magic of a good VitaMix yet) and any Butternut soup I’d been served previously was always pureed. Seemed to be the thing the cool kids were doing.

So I go through my whole spiel about the preparation and what a mirepoix is and how to pre-roast and pull squash and stuff and when I go to blend it — my emulsion blender breaks!!! All we can smell in this tiny crowded room in Newark are fragrant vegetables and the beginnings of like an electric fire. Most people would probably choose this time to freak out, you know, being in front of a crowd and stuff and having something go so terribly wrong, but not me. I was just like – “so when something like this happens in the kitchen, you regroup.” I grabbed the (thankfully clean) extra potato masher I had on hand from my Half-and-Half Mashed (rutabaga & cauliflower, for example) and I mashed that soup until it was a chunky stew. When we all sampled it we talked about how it was better this way, and I agreed.

So now it’s just how I make it.

Step One: Cut and scoop that squash. One thing about dealing with winter squash is – it’s intimidating – if you don’t know what you are doing you could become frustrated, disenchanted, or hurt. So here are some tips:

ALWAYS TAKE THE TOP OFF

Knife skills are all about geometric shapes. A butternut squash is anything but geometric. Taking the top off of the squash gives you a flat surface to lean on once you have gotten that far. By the way, we’re not there yet.

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START IN THE MIDDLE

Lay her down on your board and insert your knife just above the curvy slope of the squash – slice down towards the bottom (fatter) part of the squash, until your knife has met the cutting board. It may take two tries – remember to pull out your knife very very carefully if at all.

IT’S A TWO PART PROCESS

Once you have cut through the bottom of the squash, stand her up on that flat part created when you took the top off and let your knife travel from the very bottom to the uncut, thinner, portion. Then, carefully press and slice down with the knife until the cut is complete.

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Step Two: Roast that squash. Roasting temperature is 400 degrees, technically.

Roasting the squash is easy, there are two options. One is to roast it flesh side up. The benefits of this include being able to salt and spice the flesh of the squash early on in the cooking process. Downsides include a longer cooking time and a drier outcome. Flesh side up is best for spaghetti squash, which pulls easier into individual strands when roasted in this drier method. 

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The other is, obviously, to roast it flesh side down. The benefits include shorter cooking time and it renders a more tender final product. This is ideal for something like the tender butternut, pumpkin, or acorn squash, which are really quite soft. Maintaining that soft, starchy, gluey texture is much easier when roasting flesh side down. The downside is that spices added are sometimes wasted on the baking sheet.

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I cheated – spiced the squash and then still tipped it over onto its flesh side cause I ain’t got all day to wait for my stew pics. Pop it in the oven and move on.

Step Three: Prepare your other ingredients. That’s simple – there are only four other main ingredients here: onion, garlic, carrot, celery. Simple as can be.

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Step Four: Saute veggies in order: 1) Onion 2) Garlic 3) Carrot & Celery. The order isn’t super important but alliums always get sauteed first because they need more time for their flavor to develop than, say, a delicious carrot. Cook with a lid on the pot to develop some moisture and save on stock.

Step Five: Scoop flesh from squash and add to pot with veggies. Add bouillon, stock, or water, and bring to a simmer. Simmer 15 minutes or until tender. Mash, balance, and serve. Donzeroni.


Butternut Squash Stew

1 Butternut Squash, sliced lengthwise and de-seeded
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (*optional) omg one time I was making this for Ned and added some freshly grated nutmeg and he was like, “Nutmeg is so hard to find!” and I was like “that’s cause there’s a nutmeg shortage” and he was like “THERE IS? I KNEW IT!” and I was like, “no, honey” and laughed at him for being a silly goose.
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced into half-moons
3 large stalks celery, thinly sliced
2-3 cups stock or 1 spoonful Bouillon paste plus 2 cups water
1 can coconut milk (*optional)
lemon juice, if necessary

1. Preheat oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or if you’re me and ran out, aluminum foil works). Sprinkle cinnamon, sea salt, and nutmeg, if desired, over squash flesh and then place flesh side down on lined baking sheet. Roast 45 minutes to an hour or until tender and remove from the oven to cool. Cool 20 minutes or until cool enough to handle and then scoop out flesh.
2. Meanwhile, in a Dutch Oven or a large stockpot, melt coconut oil over medium high heat. Add onions, garlic, and a pinch of sea salt and stir to coat. Saute 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, and then lower heat to medium. Continue cooking another few minutes, covered.
3. Lift lid and stir in carrots, celery, and another pinch of salt. Replace lid and allow to cook another 10 minutes, checking often, until vegetables are very bright and fragrant. Turn heat to lowest setting and replace lid. Keep warm until squash has finished cooking.
4. Once squash has finished, stir in scooped flesh and add stock or Bouillon paste and water, and coconut milk if desired. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer 15 minutes and turn off heat. Using a potato masher, gently mash vegetables until you have reached desired consistency. Taste and balance for flavor with sea salt and lemon juice, if necessary, and serve hot or cool properly and store.

Makes 8-10 servings


Squash that! 

The Purple Apron is now being distributed on Mailchimp. Please feel free to forward this to friends you think would benefit from hearing about our Suppers members, hearing from our Founder, and hearing from our chef friend!

Suppers is a brain-based recovery program for preventing and reversing health problems with food. If you want to submit a story about how you achieved your goals by focusing on a diet of whole foods, please send in a story to Dor!

As always, head to our website for recipes, tips, stories, meeting schedules, registration for workshops, and more! The Suppers Programs is dedicated to helping YOU make your own personal transition towards a healthier life. Join us and discover your path towards vibrant health, seated next to a caring Suppers member, enjoying a divine meal together!

Suppers social resources:

Suppers Website
Facebook Page
Instagram handle @suppersprograms

My Eyes For a Loaf of Bread

A Welcome From Dor

Dor photo by David Crow“Nothing happens in the human body without a reason,” so said one of our first Suppers members.

We all knew him as Dr. George.  His prognosis was blindness; his solution was food.  Decades later and fully sited Dr. George provided us with one of Suppers’ earliest models for becoming one’s own case manager when the professional pronouncement doesn’t serve.

His story My Eyes for a Loaf of Bread teaches us to take heart, to have hope, and especially to swing into action because sometimes that bad diagnosis is wrong.

Hope, inspiration and lots of social support as you identify your personal inflammatory foods are just a phone call or email away.  


Dr. George’s Story: My Eyes For a Loaf of Bread

I had my first migraine at the age of nine. 

When I was a child my mother taught me about nutrition, and as a chiropractic student I learned more in my nutrition courses. But my interest in nutrition started after a personal health problem that began long ago.

I had my first migraine at the age of nine. It happened at a family get-together, and it was so bad that I said to an uncle, “If this is what grown up people get, then I never want to grow up.” The headaches increased in frequency and severity during my teenage years and well into my twenties. I consulted medical authorities during that period, but their only recommendation was medication, which resolved nothing. Although I was having no visual problems, I went to an ophthalmologist who diagnosed me as having sclerosing (hardening) retina of both eyes. He said the treatment for this condition was no treatment because the cause was unknown. He then said I would be totally blind within two years. His exact quote was, “You have two years before you have to get your cup and stick to beg.”

It’s not a miracle. 

I did not appreciate his sense of humor. And just because he didn’t know the cause didn’t mean there was no cause. From my professional training, I was aware that nothing happens in the human body without a reason. I determined that this condition had to be caused by some toxic build-up in my body. I proceeded to eliminate this toxic foods and fluids I normally ate and drank, including simple sugars, caffeine products, dairy products, fried foods, gluten foods, and all forms of bread, and almost all processed foods. One year later I had another eye exam at New York Hospital, and the ophthalmologist found no sclerosing in my retinas. Whatever sclerosing there had been was gone. That was more than 30 years ago, and to this day, I have not had another headache. There have been many biochemical research studies since then, and I now know my retina problems and my migraine headaches were caused by hypersensitivities to food. Blood tests were later taken to determine my specific food sensitivities, and I was not surprised to learn that I had already eliminated most of these foods on my own. My experience convinced me that if proper nutrition in both diet and supplementation is added to any form of heath care, it slows down the progression of many conditions and speeds up the healing process. 

I’m sharing this story because it’s not a miracle. It is the logical consequence of removing from my diet the foods and beverages that were toxic for me, and adding to my diet the nutrients in which I was deficient. This approach to therapy proved successful to my patients during my many decades as a chiropractor and later as a nutrition diplomate and board-certified clinical nutritionist. My role in the Suppers program has been to help develop literature for the program and present information on points of nutrition that require supplements. I’ve often said it would be wonderful if we could heal ourselves without taking supplemental nutrients. It is my firm belief that we are designed to heal on food as our medicine. I suppose if we all lived on a toxin-free planet with nothing but whole foods to eat, and if we all slept as many hours as it’s dark, and loved our neighbors, we wouldn’t need vitamins. But we live in an environment that assaults us regularly in ways that are, for many of us, beyond the reach of perfect food.

Nevertheless, there is no question that personal solutions start with whole food: luxurious servings of fresh vegetables and fruit; a few ounces of lean protein at each meal, including nuts and seeds; unrefined fats and oils like extra virgin olive oil; and whole grains, perhaps excluding the gluten grains that cause health problems for many of us. It’s really quite simple.


Other Things That Are Good For Your Eyes For Dr. George, By Allie

48465d_e59e795f6cb742439f1316e9dd4a1081As a Natural Chef, I’m trained to identify areas of improvement, design transitional diets based around the identifications, and create dishes and meals that are consistent with the design. While I may be able to notice deficiencies based on intake (or lack thereof) I never can suggest supplements because I’m not a doctor or registered dietician. I don’t even know if R.D.’s are supposed to “prescribe” supplements. Good thing you can still get vitamins from food. Like Dr. George says, it’s that simple. 

The process of learning about nutrition and whole foods can be as simple or as complicated — as you would like. Traveling deep into the rabbit hole of molecular biochemistry means looking into the body and figuring out what the heck is going on in there! Sometimes the depth can lead to darkness – kind of like when you’re scuba diving (not that I’ve ever scuba dived, I tried to put the thing on and go into the training pool and I got scared and they say you can throw up INSIDE OF YOUR MASK and then have to continue diving without panicking while trying to clear the…you know…anyway. Like, get me out of here immediately. Omigod. Gross.) But yeah, the sunlight only goes so deep below the surface of the water. Then it starts to get dark.

It’s kind of like that with Vitamins, Minerals, and phytonutrients. For example, there are two kinds of Vitamin A. Retinol and Beta-Carotene. Vitamin A Retinol is the true Vitamin A, it only comes from animal products, and is responsible for a whole bunch of things from cell apoptosis (yes, cell death) and also in forming, strengthening, and repairing the rods in our eyes, to name a few. There are more. Vitamin A is essential to our growth and development. It is the reason why we do not have webbed fingers and toes (because programmed cell death kills off the connective tissue cells between our fingers and toes in utero). It is essential to our DNA painting its special picture through our cells. It looks at a cell and it says, “you are going to be a heart cell,” “You are going to be a skin cell,” and “You are going to be a dead cell in 2.4 hours because your services are no longer needed.” Vitamin A is like the director in a film and Beta-Carotene is like the director’s assistant who can take over if the director is sick one day (which never actually happens in real life, directors are hardcore.)

Beta-Carotene is the other Vitamin A and is found only in plants but the reason why it counts as Vitamin A is bizarre and fascinating. In individuals with healthy livers, beta-carotene can be transformed into Vitamin A when needed by the body AND THEN BACK INTO beta-carotene once the need is fulfilled!!! Isn’t that amazing?!?!?!?! However, in small children or the elderly, where there is reduced liver functionality, that transformation is more difficult, or even impossible, to achieve. (That’s why babies fed a vegan diet devoid of animal products and therefore Vitamin A could literally die. It’s a thing.)

So when people are like, “eat your carrots, they’re good for your eyes!” If you want to sound super smart (and risk sounding super pretentious) you could be like, “well, actually beta-carotene is good for the heart and immunity just like other carotenoids but beta-carotene can be used by the body to form Vitamin A Retinol which is good for your eyes. Is that what you meant?” 

Yes, health and nutrition can be as simple or as complicated as you desire. I like the rabbit hole of nutrition but when Ned starts explaining to me how an engine works in order to diagnosis a problem with one of the cars, I start to get a glazed over look and become insatiably, visibly bored until he stops. It’s probably the same for him when I start talking about vegetable properties.

Like one time I got home from work at like 11:45pm and all I wanted to do was eat my Ahi salad with spicy mango dressing and go to bed. Well, that just so happened to also be the evening where he figured out why our lawnmower was randomly turning off in the middle of mowing the lawn. So I’m putting my stuff away and taking out my salad just as he starts this inevitable marathon of an explanation — I put my hand up — and I was like, “Stop. I just got home from a 12 hour shift, it’s really late, I’m starving, I’m tired, and I don’t want to learn about how an engine works.” It’s possible that if I came home and he started telling me about an article on Type B blood or GMO corn (did you guys just see what’s coming out on GMO corn?? I wonder who financed that study) I would be more interested. But Ned and I have different interests and I love him for fixing the lawnmower while I get to play in the kitchen.

Dr. George’s own personal experience with changing his diet was extremely intuitive. Further, his advice on how to live is sound — try to get nutrients in the most effective way possible. 

You guys know how I like packing flavor, nutrition, or both (ideally) into a small package? Well, I’ve done it again. Simplest way possible. A Vegetable Curry. 


Curry in a Hurry

Step One: Chop up veggies and spill a bunch of curry powder (or turmeric, onion powder, garlic powder, cinnamon, and a pile of fresh ginger and garlic) out on a cutting board. Take beautiful pictures and post them to your Instagram and blog.

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Step Two: Start the onions in a pan of coconut oil over medium heat. Next add the peppers, if desired, and let them cook a bit. Then add the rest of the veggies.

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Step Three: Using a mortar pestle (or a food processor I guess) crush curry ingredients into a paste. Throw into a small saucepan with some water over medium heat and let mixture form a thick sauce (in just a minute or two) to pour over cooked vegetables. This is called cheating.

Step Four: There is no step four.

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Vegetable Curry

2 Tablespoons coconut oil
2 yellow onions, saute sliced
1 red bell pepped, de-seeded and thinly sliced
2 medium or 1 large zucchini, half-moon sliced
1 package baby bella mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 Tablespoons freshly grated ginger
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon Turmeric powder or 2 teaspoons fresh turmeric
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup coconut milk (*optional)
Green curly kale, for garnish (*optional)

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, add onions. Saute 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent. Stir in peppers and continue sauteing until tender.
2. Stir in zucchini and mushrooms and saute 5-7 minutes until vegetables are tender.
3. Meanwhile, in a mortar pestle, combine ginger, garlic, turmeric, onion powder, garlic powder, cinnamon, and sea salt. Grind together into a paste, making sure garlic has been mostly crushed. Add to a small saucepan with 1/3 cup water or so and place over medium heat. Cook until bubbling and then pour over vegetables.
4. Continue cooking vegetables until desired consistency. Add coconut milk, if you are using, and reduce slightly, so that mixture is not a soup, for another 7-10 minutes. Taste and balance with sea salt and lemon juice, if necessary, and serve or store. Garnish with green curly kale, if desired.


That’s it! Now off to the market with you to make some vegetable curry as a side for tonight’s dinner. Add lean meat or fish to make it into a main! 

Attention all readers! On September 7th, McCaffrey’s in Princeton is going to be having a program on proper handling of and shopping for produce! Do you want to know more about how to pick the best pieces of produce for your kitchen? Come join us for the presentation! There will be samples of delightful, healthy prepared foods and lots of great grocery store tips for you too! 

An RSVP is a MUST to attend this workshop! You can RSVP through email at nutritionist@mccaffreys.com 

Suppers is a brain-based recovery program for preventing and reversing health problems with food. If you want to submit a story about how you achieved a clearer mind focusing on a diet of whole foods, please send in a story to Dor!

As always, head to our website for recipes, tips, stories, meeting schedules, registration for workshops, and more! The Suppers Programs is dedicated to helping YOU make your own personal transition towards a healthier life. Join us and discover your path towards vibrant health, seated next to a caring Suppers member, enjoying a divine meal together!

Suppers social resources:

Suppers Website
Facebook Page
Instagram handle @suppersprograms

 

This Is Not About Willpower

A Welcome By Dor

Dor photo by David CrowI try really hard to keep my focus on real food and my values around locally sourced food and responsible practices. But I’ve climbed on board with a few fads – healthy fads – and felt like an idiot for going overboard on single ingredients. Do I have to worry about thallium in my kale? My doctor friend told me to stop eating flax seeds, and a girlfriend ended up in the emergency room when she ate too much chia seed without taking water.

It’s my body, right? So I’m doing it again. I’ve been reading so much about the brain benefits of coconut fat, I decided to try to get down a couple tablespoons per day. It’s not easy. It works best if I freeze it first and crack it up and use it like sprinkles. So me being me, I invented “brain chips”.

Having recently been contacted by a company that said I had to stop using the words “flavor bombs” for our flavor bombs because they had trademarked the phrase, I first went to the Internet to see if somebody already owned the words brain chips. I’m getting paranoid about words. So far it applies only to electronics not to food. So I took all my favorite ingredients that are supposed to be good for your brain, chopped them up, mixed them with coconut fat, and stuck them in the freezer. There’s a savory version for salads and a sweet version for dessert. You will definitely want to freeze them on sheets on parchment paper, it makes it a lot easier to crush it into chips and clean up afterwards.


Ingrid’s Story: This Is Not About Willpower

If the bariatric surgery office hadn’t made me wait for several months, I would have had part of my body removed. I was that desperate. I know people who think the surgery is heaven sent, and I am happy for them. Personally I think having a part of your body removed because you can’t stop eating is nutty, but I was about to do it myself because I was entirely enslaved to food and saw no other way out. Desperation is not a strong enough word to describe my situation. I’m so grateful a nutritionist steered me down another route.

This is not about willpower. Whatever my compulsion is, it operates on a plane beyond the reach of human willpower. Many a time I would wake up to find a mess of wrappers or dirty dishes in the kitchen, with only the vaguest recollection of going down in the middle of the night in a virtual trance, prowling around in the fridge. There were more conscious behaviors too, like when I’d order fast food and make noises about buying for the whole family, when it fact it was all for me. I would go home and eat until I was numb and hate myself afterward. I even passed up social invitations I might have enjoyed, fearing my friends would see me at my worst if I couldn’t control my eating at the buffet table. 

I related these embarrassing experiences at a meeting with people I’d never met before. I was surprised to hear myself revealing humiliating secretes to total strangers. But as I spoke, I realized I had no telltale anxiety, no fidgeting, I was at ease. There is something about the culture of Suppers that makes it possible to walk into a meeting and start speaking my truth. “I never met you before but I feel safe already.” That sentence actually came out of my mouth — me, Ingrid, the closet everything. So many things clicked for me. After years of spending fortunes on diet programs that made me feel ashamed, this free alternative was making me feel peaceful and confident. I was doing my own experiments, not squishing myself into somebody else’s protocol. My eating decisions would be about what I need, not what they are selling. I got it: what I needed was real food, not pre-packaged, nutritionally calculated, scientific food-like matter. Food. 

In the first few meetings, it was plain that the missing link for me was accepting that the foods I binged on were the ones I was addicted to. I would have to do experiments to determine which ones I could enjoy in moderation and which ones I’d have to avoid totally, at least for a while, because they triggered binge eating. And the antidote was not lectures, weigh-ins, or talking about my relationship with food. The antidote was cooking together, eating together, talking together, with the emphasis on “together.” For me this is as much about the people as it is about the food. When I arrive at a meeting, without fail, the second I walk in the door I feel the warmth of family Thanksgiving. 

I’ve been assured that as my body does its housekeeping, my mood and emotions will become brighter and brighter. In a few short weeks I feel the difference already. I leaned over to the woman next to me and said, “So am I feeling more emotionally at ease because the food is healing me or because I found a community of nonjudgemental friends?” “Who cares?” she said. “As long as it works.”

Yeah, who cares. There’s something very complete and satisfying about preparing a meal with a bunch of people and sitting down to eat it. Who cares if I’m responding to protein, carbohydrates, and fat or support, acceptance, and love. When somebody takes the time to buy my food, teach me how to prepare it, and light a candle for my evening meal, I start feeling fed long before the first spoonful of soup goes down. 


Brain Chips For Ingrid, By Allie

48465d_e59e795f6cb742439f1316e9dd4a1081Food is satisfying and meals are nourishing. The difference is so key. We eat food when we are hungry, thirsty, or bored. We share meals with others or enjoy meals with ourselves when we are respecting the food and respecting ourselves. 

But let’s get real. We work. Even if we don’t have jobs, we Americans live fast paced, jam packed lifestyles with hardworking mentalities. Therefore we often complain about not having enough time to ourselves to relax OR to cook. Or to “cook”. Or to eat or “eat”. Those of us who have realized that the answer is a combination of cooking real food and sharing it with others are closer to vibrant health than anyone else. Of course, who doesn’t love a shortcut?

Brain Chips, Dor’s latest invention, are a perfect example of a homemade booster. I love boosters, personally. I love anything that is a small package full to bursting with nutrition. Mostly because I work.

I’ve also recently discovered that I love frozen nuts. Maybe it’s the heat. Dor always keeps her nuts and seeds in paper bags in her freezer and I know this because when I’m organizing things in her freezer to make room for or find something, I find the bag of nuts easily because of all the yummy fat seeping through the paper, telling me to have a snack. It’s literally the only way I enjoy cashew nuts by themselves – otherwise I think cashews are yucky. When they’re frozen they take on this beautiful sweet flavor and creamy texture. So Brain Chips combine whatever science is behind freezing nuts to bring out flavor (not sure if that’s a thing) and my number one favorite cooking fat: Coconut Oil. 

Prized for its nourishing medium chain fatty acids, Coconut Oil is a bit of a rockstar these days when it comes to brain health studies. It also contains Lauric Acid, a fatty acid that is almost impossible to find naturally (although it is contained in breast milk). Its stability as a saturated fat makes it a good sauté oil but its smoke point isn’t crazy high (350). Still, it’s more difficult to oxidize Coconut Oil due to its natural hydrogen. Not to mention, its recent surge in popularity has made it more affordable and available. Coconut Oil is a perfect alternative ingredient to butter in baked goods like cookies, which require saturated fats to not melt all over the place in the oven. Finally, Coconut Oil is THE only oil that would work in Brain Chips because its flavor is unmatched. I don’t know anyone besides Homer Simpson (who I don’t actually know but I feel like I know him) who can take down even a bite of butter by itself and enjoy any bit of the experience. However, I can enjoy a bit of Coconut Oil on a spoon by itself without much suggestion. 

That’s why Brain Chips are now a thing. Here’s how to make them. Do you have five minutes? Great.


Step One: Finely chop a bunch of walnuts (or almonds or any nut really but walnuts are shaped like brains and they’re good for your brain so use walnuts if you want to be relevant.)

Get all of the other ingredients you are using (lemon zest, grated ginger, spices, and 1/2 cup coconut oil today. And sea salt.)

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Step Two: In a parchment lined pie plate, arrange walnuts evenly and toss with all ingredients besides oil.

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Step Three: Melt coconut oil and pour over walnut mixture. There should be a good layer of oil but it should not cover the mixture. It’s more like a bark. Except there’s no white chocolate. Also, can we please stop calling white chocolate “chocolate”? There’s nothing chocolatey about it.

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Step Four: Freeze for about 30 minutes at least. Then remove, break it up with a knife or smash it out of the pie plate and then smash up and down a few times on a clean cutting board. You’re done.

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Sweet or Savory Brain Chips

For sweet:
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
pinch sea salt

*optional ingredients — choose up to 3 of the following:
1 Tablespoon cacao nibs
2 Tablespoons dried currants
2 Tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut flakes
3 drops Stevia (drop into coconut oil to dissolve)
1 lemon, zested
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, clove, ginger powder, etc.
1 teaspoon alcohol free vanilla

For savory:
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
pinch sea salt

*optional ingredient — choose up to 3 of the following:
1 teaspoon curry powder, chili powder, blackened seasoning, etc.
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
2 Tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut flakes
1 Tablespoon pepitas or sunflower seeds

1. In a parchment lined glass 9-inch pie pan, arrange walnuts in an even layer. Add sweet or savory ingredients and stir together until evenly incorporated.
2. Pour coconut oil over mixture and, if necessary, use a spoon to coat walnuts and even out mixture.
3. Freeze at least 30 minutes and then remove. Chop with a knife or smash against a cutting board to break into pieces and store in a freezer. Enjoy sprinkled over chili, sorbet, grain salad, slaw, or your favorite dish!


Enjoy being extra brainy! For the month of August we are focusing on Social Support in The Purple Apron. 

Suppers is a brain-based recovery program for preventing and reversing health problems with food. If you want to submit a story about how you achieved a clearer mind focusing on a diet of whole foods, please send in a story to Dor!

As always, head to our website for recipes, tips, stories, meeting schedules, registration for workshops, and more! The Suppers Programs is dedicated to helping YOU make your own personal transition towards a healthier life. Join us and discover your path towards vibrant health, seated next to a caring Suppers member, enjoying a divine meal together!

Suppers social resources:

Suppers Website
Facebook Page
Instagram handle @suppersprograms

 

My Ancient Wiring

A Welcome By Dor

Dor photo by David CrowSuppers attendees – more and more – are identifying with the need to work a program to eat according to their intentions instead of their their impulses. When the irrepressible urge to eat descends, it feels like ancient brain wiring and habits transcend all reason. It happens.

Our long-time friend Rose has been dealing with unwanted impulses to eat for decades; and it is a biologically well-matched eating plan and consistent social support that make the difference between a brief fling with junk food and a total collapse.


Rose’s Story: My Ancient Wiring

A Family Reunion is not ‘normal circumstances’

I was so sure of the fortress I had built I was getting cocky about my meat and greens way of eating. If you read my last story,  you’ll recall that I stopped “believing in” emotional eating because I discovered most of my problem was living in an unstable body that responds to all starches with cravings for more. My new way of eating has been working for two years, and in normal circumstances I have no problem avoiding all the foods that used to be my favorites. But a family reunion is not normal circumstances.

We gathered from all over the continental United States. With my new-found desire to stop directing and controlling everything, I hadn’t insisted on choreographing all the activities ahead of time. So when on a holiday weekend we had no reservations for dinner, we ended up eating several times where there was space for us, the sushi place. It’s like herding cats figuring out who’s going in which car where, and there’s always a lot of boring time waiting around. I’m not good at being bored. I just haven’t perfected the art of being bored in a group of cranky people who don’t want to eat sushi again. In fact, feeling bored is the enemy of intention for me. 

Do you know the moment when you’re just sitting there minding your own business and all of a sudden you realize you’re going to binge? I think my ancient wiring took over. It was the dastardly combined forces of boredom, family reunion, and feeling captive in a restaurant full of sushi that tore me down. I had been a binge eater most of my life and even two years of freedom from binges didn’t save me this time.

How do I know? Because I’ve done this before. 

To make a long story short, I pursued the binge, put on a bunch of weight, came home, took it off. Blah, blah, blah. I have two pounds to go and I know it will be gone inside of two weeks. How do I know? Because I’ve done this before. I’m trying to keep my focus on how wonderful it was for the whole family to not have me masterminding everything; there is always some woman in my family who is willing to take over. But honestly, if she doesn’t do a better job, I may just have to make reservations.


Other Things That Are Ancient for Rose, By Allie

48465d_e59e795f6cb742439f1316e9dd4a1081I’m a big fan of the line, “feeling bored is the enemy of intention” but I don’t think mine would read the same way. Mine would read, “feeling stressed is the enemy of intention”.

Even those of us who are particularly skilled at handling stressful situations can and will break eventually. For me personally, problems arise in the form of figurative multiple tornadoes or they don’t come up at all. It’s either a beautiful day with 0% humidity and 100% laughter OR: the roof is threatening to fly off of the house, Kitty runs outside, Soup boils over, driver’s license is missing, outside it’s like actually ONE MILLION percent humidity, and pretty much everything work related is late. Speaking of which, totes missed you guys. I’m glad to be back. 🙂

Before we really get into it I just want to say this. What’s the deal with being a weatherperson? I want that job. Basically you are paid to be consistently wrong and it’s cool because what can you really do about the weather? Nothing. But I have a problem with the definitive nature of weatherpersons who are like, “IT’S TOTALLY GONNA RAIN ALL WEEKEND!” so you freak out and get all of the mowing done and then it doesn’t rain at ALL. Or my weather app is saying there is a 30% chance of rain and I look outside and it’s pouring. If I was a weatherlady I would get up there, turn on the camera, look into it and be like, “Actually I don’t know what’s going to happen. Sorry. I’m 99.9% sure that it’s not going to snow today but, you know, my department has been wrong before.” Yeah. I would love to do that.

For Rose, the unpredictable nature of HER perfect storm (see what I did there) was a combination of a high-stress environment and refined carb-filled sushi rolls. Was it the vinegary and refined sushi rice shoved into seaweed? Was it her ancient wiring itself that took over in order to escape her current unpleasant situation and achieve a (temporary) neurotransmitter response giving all the good feels? Or was it Rose’s family that fell apart – a family who may have expected her to dictate order, as she had done in the past, and didn’t realize that planning the eating venues for a family reunion actually takes some work. So, Sushi happened. And then it happened again. Rose isn’t worried about Rose so I’m not worried about Rose but I wonder this: what about Sashimi instead of Sushi? Could that be a Suppers form of Nutritional Harm Reduction to help out?

The thing about Sushi and Sashimi is – they’re different. 

According to the Wikipedia article I read, Sashimi is also ancient. The consumption of raw, fresh fish was a very common practice in China around the year 500 BCE and probably well before that. Later on the delicacy arrived in Japan and that’s where we got the name. Sashimi means “pierced meat” or “pierced body”, coined in a time when the word kiru, which means “cut”, was saved only for Samurai (the OG Japanese non-Emperor celebrities).

The thing about Sushi and Sashimi is – they’re different. Sushi refers to a dish that is made with Jasmine rice tossed with vinegar and doesn’t have to contain raw fish but often does. In fact my favorite Sushi rolls are just avocado with tons of pickled ginger and wasabi. Sometimes I eat some of Dor’s salmon avocado rolls. Sometimes. However Sashimi is traditionally a dish with simply raw fish elegantly draped over a vegetable garnish – usually shredded Daikon radish and/or Shiso, the lemony minty leafy Japanese herb. It’s quite good but difficult to find. (Check your farmers markets hint hint wink wink). Probably the thing that sets them both apart from other dishes is the knife skills. Skills like with a Z like Skillz. There are many different knife cuts to employ when preparing Sashimi but the most common one is the Hirazukuri cut (rectangular) and it’s just shy of 1/2 inch thick pieces.

One time I was in LA visiting my brother and he loves Sushi. You know people who can just eat like…like an absurd amount of Sushi? Well he is one of those people. Sushi places know this and for whatever reason like to run the All-You-Can-Eat specials for people who are really gonna fall off the wagon. Or people like my brother who just can eat like a truckload of food and go for a run and it’s gone. I hate him. (Not really). Anyways here’s the real point. While we were there Sean definitely ate like 20 rolls of Sushi but ALSO I, who had time to look up from my plate, was shamelessly staring at the Japanese chef behind the Sushi counter. His knife skills were unbelievable. He took a cucumber and, in one deliberate, even, perfectly timed move, he turned that cucumber into a sheet about eighteen inches long. Just one long rectangle of perfectly sliced, perfectly even cucumber. He threw the perfect cylinder of seed and cucumber boogers away. Unreal. Also my brother slept for like 3 hours after that meal. Also sometimes Johnny Depp goes to that place.

Also, Sashimi. 


Step One: Acquire the freshest, Sashimi Grade fish you possibly can. There are a LOT more fish out there besides Tuna and Salmon. Talk to your fish person about getting the best cut with a flavor that works for you. The fish manager at McCaffrey’s, Saidur Rehman, really knows his stuff if you can catch him. Tell him Suppers sent you. 

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I used salmon because I like the combo of the fish with avocado but there are SO many other choices. Here are some suggestions besides the obvious Tuna/Bluefin/Salmon options:

  • Mackerel – this fish has a strong aroma of the ocean and therefore can stand up to stronger flavors like garlic, ginger, or miso paste.
  • Halibut – a lean fish, this guy is delicate with a pillowy texture and very present flavor. Halibut makes for excellent Sashimi (and even better Ceviche).
  • Hamachi – yellowtail has a lot of great fat and with it comes the ability (come on Flavor Students, remember!) carry other flavors along for the ride. Therefore Hamachi can be perfect on a plate with delicate and subtle flavors or bold stand-up flavors.
  • Kampachi – a nice substitute for Tuna because of its firmness, Kampachi also is low in mercury and, of course, has those Omega 3s we’re all wild for. Omega 3 fatty acids are to foodies like the Beatles were to teenage girls in the 60’s.
  • Eel – I don’t really want to talk about Eel but people like it and it has the Beatles in it too.

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For the more adventurous aspiring Sushi chefs, try…

  • Uni – sea urchin. They look horrifying and they can sting. But they’re pretty good.
  • Squid – the texture seems to be the problem most people have with this choice but consider it anyway and also consider having it as a hot side to whatever you are serving. Grilled calamari really just needs some lemon and salt and it’s out of this world. A ten out of ten.
  • Jellyfish – I know, but it’s even a thing in California. According to some Sushi chefs, Jellyfish is misunderstood both in terms of taste and texture. I would just say…you know, know your sourcing. Did you know that Jellyfish are basically immortal??? Unless they are physically killed by something they just go on living literally forever. Someone told me that one time.

Step Two: Choose your accompaniments. Like any great Sashimi plate this should include pickled ginger, wasabi, and a soy sauce of some kind (like Tamari) but again you should not feel as though you cannot be creative OR seasonal.

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I’m being totally boring today and choosing some cucumbers and sliced avocado. Daikon radishes should be coming out soon enough and Shiso is in season right now! In case you want to be super traditional. There’s also carrots, green cabbage, collards. Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely all about the fish. So, when choosing vegetables, do it for the colors on the plate.

Step Three: Slice fish into desired strips. I’m no Japanese Sushi chef like that guy in LA. That image will be with me forever, by the way. However, the type of fish will sometimes inspire the type of cut. Generally, however, you’re going to want to go against the grain to keep the meat together. Fish protein is separated by thin membranes of fat and tissue. Slicing with the grain compromises the integrity of the meat.

You should be using a very, very sharp knife. Always.

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Step Four: The sauce. Make your own dipping sauce by using flavorful alliums and roots. Try fresh ginger, of course, and also turmeric (for the health bennies), minced garlic, fresh scallions or purple scallions (yes, a thing), and use sesame oil and seeds to carry it all over.

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Salmon Sashimi with Avocado & Cucumber

1 5oz piece fresh, Sashimi Grade salmon, sliced into 3/8 inch thick rectangles
1/2 avocado, sliced
1/2 cup cucumber, peeled, de-seeded and sliced
1 Tablespoon pickled ginger or more if desired
1 teaspoon wasabi powder
1/2 teaspoon water
1/4 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
4 teaspoons Tamari
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 small clove garlic, minced
freshly grated ginger to taste

1. Arrange salmon, avocado, cucumber, and pickled ginger on a nice plate or board. Set aside.
2. In a small ramekin, combine wasabi powder, water, and rice vinegar. Mix into a paste using one chopstick. If you would like a larger amount of wasabi simply add powder and then drops of water and vinegar until a paste forms. Press into a shape or ball and place on arranged plate or board.
3. In a small bowl, combine Tamari, sesame oil, and minced garlic and stir. Grate ginger over bowl and stir in. (I cannot stress to you enough how much you should keep your fresh ginger in a freezer. It grates like snow falls). Taste and balance with an acid like lemon juice or rice wine vinegar, if necessary, and then pour into another small ramekin. Place on arranged plate or board and serve chilled.


Now go off and find some great fish! For the month of August we are focusing on Social Support in The Purple Apron. 

Suppers is a brain-based recovery program for preventing and reversing health problems with food. If you want to submit a story about how you achieved a clearer mind focusing on a diet of whole foods, please send in a story to Dor!

As always, head to our website for recipes, tips, stories, meeting schedules, registration for workshops, and more! The Suppers Programs is dedicated to helping YOU make your own personal transition towards a healthier life. Join us and discover your path towards vibrant health, seated next to a caring Suppers member, enjoying a divine meal together!

Suppers social resources:

Suppers Website
Facebook Page
Instagram handle @suppersprograms