A Welcome From Dor
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
Just 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Getting him to do the dishes is another story.
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!
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!
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!
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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!
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