A Welcome By Dor
She reversed the diagnosis on food and has returned to vibrant health and athleticism.
We’ll do this the way we do everything at Suppers. We’ll roll up our sleeves, cook delicious food, get our education, share our experiences and write stories!
Anita’s Story – Be Careful What You Ask For
Be careful what you ask for. I thought I wanted clarity about what was causing my bouts of debilitating fatigue and brain fog. But when I sorted it out, it seemed like the end of the world, as I knew it. My food journal yelled at me in plain English that wheat was keeping me exhausted. I was my own source of data and I’d repeated the experiments many times. After a Suppers meeting, I was usually a little disappointed there hadn’t been bread or dessert, but I never got that plunging fatigue after a meeting. Any morning that I allowed myself a bagel I was yawning by 10a.m., barely able to prop my eyes open. When I went to an Italian restaurant, I could not eat just one piece of bread while waiting for my dinner. The world narrowed, if I tried, and it took incredibly energy and concentration to resist that basket on the table. I could ruin an entire evening out trying to resist 62 cents of flour, salt, and yeast.
I dutifully recorded my reactions, hoping that other explanations would emerge; chronic job stress, exhaustion from dealing with my teenagers, even chocolate would have been better news.
No. It was the wheat. How I feel is data and my body was telling the truth.
Before I tried giving it up, I asked some other members for pointers on nutritional harm reduction and recommendations from friends who had accomplished this feat. I’m including their suggestions in my story; maybe it will make things less daunting for somebody else in my situation.
I’m not saying these tips made it easy. I am saying doing these things made it possible to five up some of my favorite foods, the same foods that gave me a lift followed by debilitating fatigue. I miss my comfort foods less and less as I enjoy my new way of eating more and more. And I certainly don’t miss nodding off in the middle of the morning after bagel brain fog rolls in.
Anita’s Tips on Avoiding Wheat
Be ready with delicious foods and don’t count calories when you first go off wheat. You can think about calories later if you want to. Nuts, seeds, fruits, leftovers all work. Where I used to have a handful of crackers, I now grab a handful of nuts.
Use ground almonds for quiche crusts. Just oil or butter the pie pan and swirl around 1/2 of almond meal so it coats the pan.
There are some wheat-free breads at the whole food store that taste pretty good, especially if you toast them.
The health food store also carries gluten-free flours that work just fine for making gravies and biscuits if you can’t face life without baked goods.
Make pizza on flourless tortillas (but don’t call it pizza if you have kids), also available at health food stores.
Eat more protein and vegetables at the beginning of the day and see if that reduces cravings for baked goods later in the day.
Making Clean Soup for a Clear Head, By Allie
If you can make a pot of coffee, you can make a pot of soup.
The Suppers Programs
Soup is all about layers. What goes in first, second, third, etc. The layers don’t change fundamentally, they are only altered slightly in terms of specific ingredients.
At the same time, flavor is also about layers. What goes in and when affects the flavor of your dish. Flavor can always be changed slightly in the balancing stage at the end — essentially, unless you burn something we can always fix flavor issues. However in order to achieve a layered dish; one which begins tasting one way and then builds towards other flavors in other areas of your palate (mostly the front and back) you must layer correctly during the cooking process.
So you’re probably like “jeez get to the layers” so here they are:
Layer One: Alliums (onions, scallions, leeks, garlic, etc.)
These vegetables need to cook for the longest amount of time. If you are unable to cook a leek for the proper amount of time alone, or with its family members, its sweetness is difficult to extract, for example.
Saute Alliums with a pinch of sea salt, cook for a few minutes, then add DRIED herbs if you would like to use them.
Hey, how do you cut an onion? I’m not gonna say there’s a wrong way or a right way but…this is the way I do it and it’s also the way Julia Child did it so…yeah. There’s that.
Layer Two: Other vegetables (carrots, celery, green beans, cooked beans, kale, tomatoes, parsnips, peppers, etc.)
These vegetables only need to saute for a bit in the soup process. What they really like doing is simmering in stock.
Saute five minutes until very fragrant. I often use a lid on this step to speed up cooking time and so when I open the lid and all the steam comes out I can waft the good flavor in my face or my loved ones faces.
Layer Three: Stock or Water (from mushroom to beef broth)
If you can’t use stock and you absolutely need to make soup, it is possible to use water — particularly if you are making tomato based soups — with some extra seasonings. My favorite “oh my god I don’t have any stock” seasonings are Bell’s, Savory Spice Blends, Onion powder, and Old Bay.
If you used any other pan for a saute (like meat, for instance) deglaze that pan with 1 cup of stock or water FIRST, then add those goodies to your pot.
Layer Four: Starchy Vegetables, Partially Cooked Meats, or Grains (potato, sweet potato, rutabaga, quinoa, millet, bulgur, etc.) Since these ingredients need to cook in liquid, if you want to use them then now is the time.
Layer Five: Balancers and Finishers — Fresh herbs, acids, salts.
These ingredients are there to help you to tune your soup to the right note. Acid balances salt so if you have been heavy handed with the salt shaker, try to add a dash of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to reduce the saltiness. That works both ways so it’s likely you’ll end up going back and forth when you begin down your yellow brick flavor balancing road.
That’s it! Use the layers in place of steps and you will have this delicate, fantastic soup to enjoy.
Anita’s Kale and Bean Soup (Variations by Allie)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
8 cups curly kale, de-stemmed and chopped
2 15oz cans beans, rinsed and drained
2 ½ cups tomato sauce
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced
¼ teaspoon black pepper
3 bay leaves
4 cups water, vegetable, or chicken stock
Heat olive oil in a stockpot over medium high heat. Saute onions and garlic about 2 minutes, stirring often. Stir in sea salt and dried herbs, continue cooking another minute.
Stir in kale and continue cooking another 2-3 minutes until kale is very bright. Add beans, tomato sauce, fresh oregano, pepper, bay leaves, and water or stock. Bring to a simmer and simmer 15 minutes. Balance with sea salt and acid if necessary.
*optional: Anita adds 1 lb spicy Italian sausage or 2 cups chicken breasts, diced, to add protein. I did a vegetarian version of this recipe because of dietary restrictions.