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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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?

gulp-scale

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

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

 

Better Living Through Chemistry

A Welcome By Dor

Dor photo by David CrowSometimes I can’t believe I said what I said. Who is this person who prizes non-judgment and biological individuality above her own way of being? It’s me.

Lindsey is one of the earliest members of Suppers, a seasoned member of the twelve-step community and an assiduous avoider of sugar and flour in all of their forms. What I needed to hear and didn’t want to hear when I was at the height of my campaign to save the world with whole food was that some people simply need their medications and nothing else will do.

Here is an early trail blazer on the path to non-judgment from which I aspire to never swerve. 


Lindsey’s Story: Better Living Through Chemistry

I was relying on the Suppers proscription against judging others the day I told my story. Most of the people in our meeting had had trouble with depression on top of all they were juggling because of sugar issues. For the most part, they wanted to get off their antidepressants, or at least reduce the dose.

My fear that the cycle of compulsion might start again is much greater than my desire for a particular food. 

Not me. There are few things in my life that rival the gratitude I feel for the doctor and medications that brought normalcy into my life. My body gives me few options. There are several things I have to get right simultaneously in order to be okay. My fear that the cycle of compulsion might start again is much greater than my desire for a particular food. If there’s a speck of sugar in the food, I won’t touch it. I am also a recovering alcoholic, and life is better when I’m as consistent about sugar as I am about alcohol. Zero is zero, the clearest, easiest amount for me to deal with. I went through withdrawal twice and I don’t ever want to go there again. I know that if I waver, the committee in my head will start telling me it’s OK to have just a little. The last time I used that logic, it was ten years, 50 pounds, and a diagnosis of pre-diabetes before I snapped out of it. 

A few years later I got another blow.

Among my relatives are a mother and two siblings with serious mental health problems. One of my brothers developed schizophrenia as a young man. My mother was in denial until the day she died. My sister has never been diagnosed but it is evident something is wrong. She moved to California and doesn’t maintain contact. In the meantime, about 15 years ago a situation in my life caused me to experience severe depression. I was adamant about not taking medication; I was alcohol and drug free. The night I seriously considered suicide to relieve the pain, one look at my 11-year-old daughter’s face brought me back to reality. I saw my therapist the next morning and she referred me to a doctor who prescribed an antidepressant. Through therapy and a good shrink, I got through that horrible time. Because I finally felt freedom from those outbursts, I kept taking the antidepressants. A few years later I got another blow. In between jobs and setting up my own business (my life dream), I suddenly couldn’t get out of bed.

It was an ordeal just driving my daughter to school every morning in my pajamas. I lay on the couch from 9 a.m. on, wondering how in the world I would find the energy to pick her up at 2 p.m. I couldn’t muster the energy to go outside and feed my rabbit and clean her cage, so I gave her away. My dog was very old and sickly and needed to go in and out all the time, so I let the vet put her down, and to this day I feel horrible. I was really scared. My doctor told me I was bi-polar. No way! My brother and sister were the ones with the mental illness, not me. I had a successful career, was raising a great daughter, managed our household, and was active in the community. “Was” turned out to be the key word. I couldn’t believe I had ever led that life. I felt like an imposter.

My formula for success has four parts…

Reluctantly I began medication – and slowly, very slowly, I improved. Mental illness is not easily treated and it took almost two years of various medications until we arrived at my current “cocktail.” I keep in close contact with my psychiatrist and have maintained good health for five years. I have learned that mental illness is a disease of the brain and not a disgrace. Until society accepts that, I only tell my story when I think someone can be helped and I’m in a safe environment for sharing. So my formula for success has four parts: absolute adherence to a whole food diet, abstinence from alcohol, my medications, and the support of family and friends who love me and never judge the path I’ve chosen.


Lavender Lemonade for Lindsey, By Allie

48465d_e59e795f6cb742439f1316e9dd4a1081Last week we discussed nutritionally packed ingredients and how to use them to our advantage when trying to avoid cravings and brain/blood sugar disruption. This week we will continue a discussion to honor herbs. Herbs. The Rocky Balboa of healthy foods. (Cause he was very small but extraordinarily fierce and relentless.)

Now, when it comes to serious issues like mental illnesses which require medication, there may be no recourse besides a routine including therapy and prescriptions recommended and provided by your doctor. However. It’s also true that there are specific ingredients which may help to reduce anxietycalming, cooling herbs, fruits, and vegetables to help soothe the nerves and, when combined with meditation exercises and deep breathing you may find that’s the only cocktail that you need.

The simple act of removing the top of my vial of Lavender essential oil…can calm me down instantly…

Speaking of cocktails, there’s this one I happen to really adore. Now that it’s summertime and the living is “easy” (not for me, for me the living is insanely more difficult) I’ll share with you a way to make it even easier.

Lavender is one of the most powerfully soothing, anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety herbs that grow on the planet. The simple act of removing the top of my vial of Lavender essential oil and slowly taking in a noseful of its heavy soft scent can calm me down instantly, help me clear my head and focus on the solution to whatever problem is causing me anxiety. 

Essential oils are not just for your skin or your nose – some of them can be consumed. You need to be careful with essential oils because they are extremely concentrated. Two drops in a recipe is one drop too many. You should never, ever consume undiluted essential oils. They can burn your mouth and esophagus.

That said, with a light and steady hand, essential oils can take your recipes to the next level. My favorite way to use them is in beverages and my favorite of those special beverages is Lavender Lemonade. It’s the perfect way to relax in the shade or even to begin a day in which you expect to encounter stress.


Step One: Heat up 3 quarts of water and stir in honey to dissolve. Add water to a big glass pitcher and set aside. *If you are like Lindsey and can’t do honey you can use stevia instead. 

DSC_0232Do you guys see that I got my pegboard? Ned caved. It was inevitable.

Step Two: Slice Meyer Lemons and try to remove as many seeds as possible with the point of a knife. Squeeeeeeeeeeeze those lemons into the pitcher of warm sweetened water and stir again.

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Step Three: Add ONE DROP of Lavender essential oil while water is still warm and stir. Let mixture sit for 5 minutes so that ingredients can mesh and then cover and place in a refrigerator or pour into glasses over ice and enjoy immediately. If you have Lavender sprigs and guests coming for a dinner party, those might be nice to use as a garnish.

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Lavender Lemonade

3 quarts filtered water
1/2 cup honey (*optional, you can use a few drops of Stevia instead or a combination of your favorite sweeteners)
6 large Meyer lemons, sliced and de-seeded
1 drop Lavender essential oil

1. Warm water in a saucepan over a medium flame or in a microwave until steamy but not simmering. Remove from any heat and add honey. Stir to dissolve completely and add to a large glass pitcher.
2. Squeeze and drop Meyer lemon slices directly into pitcher and stir/press down with a wooden spoon to incorporate juice and warm up the peels.
3. Add one drop of Lavender essential oil into the pitcher and stir. Let mixture sit 5 minutes to steep and cover and refrigerate until cold enough to drink or pour over ice and serve. Garnish with Lavender blossoms if you like.


Enjoy sipping on your calming Lavender Lemonade and don’t forget to breathe! For the month of July we are focusing on Brain Health 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

Blueberries That Taste Like Candy

A Welcome By Dor

Dor photo by David CrowAre blueberries pivotal?  It’s been a while since I read Violet’s story.  But since Allie selected it for the blog, I re-read “Blueberries that Taste Like Candy” and marveled that another child had had a transformational experience with blueberries.

There seems to be a pattern here:
Child doesn’t like healthy food.
Mother at her wit’s end with child.
Mother and child pitted against each other. Blueberries save the day.

Blueberry season is upon us. What better way to confidently, lovingly, unswervingly draw a line in the sand. The future of your family’s palate and the financial backbone of the nation may turn when all other food disappears and the only thing left is a box of “delishush” blueberries.

Violet’s Story: Blueberries That Taste Like Candy

It took more than a year to transition.

At my first Suppers meeting, we participated in a workshop that explained how addictive the standard American diet is. In the U.S. we have easy access to affordable, highly processed foods. The facilitator explained how eating processed foods provides a diet high in sugar, salt, and fat, which destabilizes blood sugar and causes cravings for unhealthy foods and excessive weight gain. We also learned that making dietary changes and eating more whole foods will not only improve health, but can also improve how you feel physically and emotionally. My family has many of the problems that Suppers is designed to help. We have problems with alcohol on both sides, depression, anxiety, and struggles with weight. I had no idea that these things are all connected and that the common thread is what we eat.

The facilitator said we might be surprised how taste buds change after a period of time without lots of sugar in our diet.

As curious and as hopeful as I was going into this meeting, I was equally overwhelmed and lost when it was over. We had talked about nutritional harm reduction, which is a conscious and steady effort to slowly reduce and eliminate unhealthy foods. But I shuddered to think about what my kids might do if I tried to take away their favorite snacks. There’d be war on Main Street!

The facilitator said we might be surprised how taste buds change after a period of time without lots of sugar in our diet. A dad in our group told the story of how he had a long illness and had not eaten much for weeks. When he felt better he ate some blueberries. He said they actually tasted like candy! His story gave me hope that if I started taking gentle steps with my children, their taste buds would change incrementally and eventually help them enjoy eating what is good for them.

“These are delishush.”

It took more than a year to transition. My family resisted my efforts: the kids complained, my husband lost his temper, and everyone needled me to bring back the treats. Even though I felt like giving up, I continued to make changes; I threw away a box of cookies, made fruit and raw veggies available for snacking, substituted baked sweet potato “fries” for white potatoes fried in oil, and refused to give in when the kids whined for candy bars in the grocery store. Then one day I handed my son a box of blueberries for his snack and he tossed a big handful in his mouth and said, “These are delishush.” Normally, I would have said, “Don’t talk with your mouth full, please.” Instead I smiled.

When I was frantic about my family’s health, Suppers offered me a different but achievable task. Group support was critical. I also needed to experience that “hatching chick” moment; the moment before which nothing can change and after which nothing can stay the same. That happened for me the day I could imagine blueberries that taste like candy.


Bitter Greens Before Blueberries For Violet’s Kids, By Allie

Before you can understand the blueberry you must first understand the brain and the bud. The tastebud.

48465d_e59e795f6cb742439f1316e9dd4a1081Taste This

There are six tastes, currently. Six flavors. A flavor is not so much how it tastes in this case but a biological reaction to a food. The receptors on our tongue – tastebuds – are responsible for identifying the potential nutrients in a food and telling our brains and other relevant organs what to do in their presence.

SWEET foods contain carbohydrates, or energy, and this is the first flavor the tongue experiences (think breastmilk) and therefore becomes accustomed to – for the obvious reason that there is no life without energy. In a similar sense, digestion of carbohydrates begins in the mouth and lets the pancreas know that it needs to be ready for Insulin production and distribution.

SALTY foods offer the essential nutrient, Sodium. This nutrient may sound scary because doctors tell you to watch it but that doesn’t mean you don’t need any at all. Sodium regulates and moves water around in the body, addresses blood volume, balances Potassium, and helps with nerve functioning. In modern times, however, sodium is found in nearly every processed food (because salt brings out the natural flavor in foods) and even in over-the-counter medications. Always try to get the purest salts you can find.

SOUR is the bright, acidic flavor found in vinegar, citrus fruit, and tart juices. These foods can zap the tastebuds, sometimes in a shocking way (think babies tasting lemon wedges) and, long ago, could have alerted the tongue to a poisonous food. Since then we have been able to study and differentiate what is a good “shock” and what is a bad “shock” and have found that vinegars, fermented foods, and citrus fruits are some of the most nutrient rich foods on the planet. 

UMAMI is the tongue’s detection of protein so it is found in seared meats and foods with depth like mushrooms. Proteins are the building blocks of our muscles, every hormone and enzyme in the body is also a protein, and when we run out of carbohydrates to process, protein is there. Umami is a mild flavor – even at high concentrates – and wasn’t discovered until the early 20th century by a Japanese chemist who noticed that Dashi, a broth, had a little more going on than salty, sour, or sweet.

BITTER is a nuanced flavor as well. Humans have about 30 genes coded just to detect bitter flavors as an evolutionary response to toxins. Omnivores and herbivores have to get really good at telling which plants are poisonous and which are not, so our tongue has evolved to separate and notice bitter flavors the way we notice sour flavors. The more experience the tongue has with bitter flavors the more the tongue can detect other flavors.

FAT is the most recently discovered flavor. It may be difficult to comprehend that fat is a “taste” but know this: the moment the tastebuds detect fat on the tongue, the gallbladder wakes up and starts dealing with bile production and distribution. Fat is also responsible, in a culinary sense, for carrying other tastes over the tongue with its silky richness.

Flavor Friends

In terms of flavor balancing, Bitter and Sweet balance each other out. So, for example, if you have a kale salad and would like to cut the bitterness slightly, you can make a dressing sweetened with a dash of honey or some orange juice. Flavor balancing is all about the palate – both what flavors compliment each other in an external sense (like Bitter/Sweet) but also how the person’s palate responds to flavor.

Same thing with Sour and Salty flavors. Did you just oversalt that dish? Don’t fret, just add some lemon juice or another acid and tame the salt. If you overdid it on the lemon juice, sprinkle some salt to bring other flavors (besides lemon) forward.

You can retune your OWN palate…

Have you ever heard someone say “Well, your tastebuds change every seven years,” or something like that. They’re not wrong but it’s not a whole picture. In fact, our tastebuds can “change” much faster than that and cell production isn’t part of that – THE ONE WITH THE POWER IS YOU!

Yes, you heard me correctly. You can retune your OWN palate to be more sensitive to the flavors of real foods. The processed food industry has a monopoly on salt/sweet/fat – these flavors are the most basic ones, the most desirable ones, the most biologically recognizable ones. They’re the easy ones.

Bitter, sour, umami – these are more difficult to detect, more covert, more “unpalatable” and that’s what makes them so important. Tongues oversaturated with the monopolized easy flavors need a good cleansing to be able to truly appreciate the difficult flavors.

The best way to appreciate a blueberry is to learn to appreciate greens. 

So how do you fix your tired, sad, monopolized tongue? How do you take back control of your tastebuds? Well, it’s pretty straightforward: concentrate on bitter and sour flavors. If Bitter balances Sweet it doesn’t mean the two are at odds with each other – it means the two understand each other. The best way to appreciate a blueberry is to learn to appreciate greens. It’s no wonder blueberries taste like candy after concentrating on the difficult flavors for awhile! It’s both more like the actual blueberry flavor and it’s a sweet relief for your more nuanced tongue too.

We’re going to ease into this process by making a delicious Suppers Friendly Spinach Pie. I went a little nuts in the kitchen yesterday because it was my anniversary and I was trying to make a one-dish-dinner that tasted as delicious as possible.

Spoiler alert, it passed the “Delishush” test with flying colors. Here’s how I did it.


Step One: In a traditional Spanakopita, the greens are cooked first by themselves and then squeezed. I would start there because it takes awhile for them to cool down enough to be able to handle. I used collards from Dor’s garden to compliment my lovely baby spinach and to turn up the bitter note.

Chiffonade the collards by de-stemming them, rolling them up (AGAINST the spine, NOT with the spine – see above) and slicing into 1-inch strips.

Then saute over low heat for 5-7 minutes. Even though they’re collards they do not need the everything cooked out of them.

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Once done and cooled, squeeze out all the moisture and set aside.

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Step Two: Flavor, flavor, flavor. What’s the foundation of flavor? Say it with me: ONION. Your choice. I did a large sweet Vidalia onion and three garlic scapes.

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Hey, do you know what a garlic scape is? They’re in season RIGHT NOW and they’re basically a delicacy – once they’re gone, they’re not back until next year.
Each garlic plant sends out just one scape per season. The scape is the reproductive part of the garlic plant. Farmers snap them off so that the garlic plant will continue to focus on the bulb and will NOT focus on making garlic babies. Reproduction can be very distracting.

They taste like garlic but are a little sweeter. Awesome grilled. Great in pestos.

Step Three: What’s a spinach pie without a crust?! To keep things Suppers Friendly, we are doing a crust which is essentially Dor’s Almond Crackers but we’re adding some eggs to keep everything together.

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Does it form a ball? Can it hold its shape? Then you’re good.

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First slice the ball in half and then roll out JUST ONE half. Don’t laugh at my rolling pin, my wooden rolling pin is at work and, besides, it’s a good tip.

Press the other half of the dough into the bottom of a greased 9 X 13 glass baking dish.

Step Four: The filling. Saute onions, garlic scapes, add chicken thighs, shiitake mushrooms (I know, this is where I was going nuts) a can of coconut milk, and then stir in cooked and drained greens! Add some salt, the zest and juice of a lemon, a dash of apple cider vinegar, some freshly chopped herbs of your choice, and about a quarter cup of chopped fresh parsley. What’s great about this is you do everything out of the same pan except bake it.

Step Five: Pour filling over 9 X 13 pan with crust pressed into the bottom and even out. Then top with rolled out crust and bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until top crust is golden and firmed up!

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Suppers Spinach Pie

For the filling:
2 Tablespoons coconut oil, divided
1 pound spinach leaves
1 pound collard greens, de-stemmed, chiffonade
1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
3 large garlic scapes, minced (or 3 large cloves garlic)
3 pieces chicken thighs, rinsed and patted dry
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 can coconut milk, whisked with a fork until incorporated
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 Tablespoons fresh oregano, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

For the crust:
4 cups almond flour
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 Tablespoon dried herbs
dash ground black pepper
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup water (pour in half and keep other half reserved)

1. Preheat oven to 350. In a large cast iron pan over medium heat, add 1 Tablespoon coconut oil and spinach leaves. Cook 5 minutes, just until wilted, and place in a colander. Return pan to heat and add chiffonade collard greens. Cook 5 – 7 minutes, until wilted, and place in colander with spinach. Allow to cool 10 – 15 minutes until cool enough to handle and then squeeze out all moisture.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, add all crust ingredients except remaining 1/2 of the water and mix with hands. Be sure to thoroughly mix crust before adding any more water and only add if crust is crumbly and will not form a ball.
3. Divide crust in half and press one half into a greased 9 X 13 glass baking dish. Place the other between two pieces of parchment paper and roll out to very thin with a rolling pin. Place baking dish with crust in it inside the oven and par bake for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.
4. Meanwhile, in cast iron pan, add 1 Tablespoon coconut oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion and saute 3 – 5 minutes. Add minced garlic scapes and cook 1 more minute until very fragrant. Add chicken thighs and pan sear 2 – 3 minutes per side.
5. Remove chicken thighs and chop into large chunks and then return to pan. Add a dash of apple cider vinegar and scrape up any brown goodness on the pan with a wooden spoon. Stir in shiitake mushrooms and coconut milk. Lower heat to low and allow to gently cook about 5 minutes.
6. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, fresh herbs, and parsley until everything is well incorporated. Pour over par baked crust and top with rolled out crust. Cut any edges or press down into pan to create a nice pocket and place dish in oven. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until the crust on the top is golden and firm. Allow to cook 5 minutes before serving – it will be very hot!


Happy Spinach Pie-ing!!! June is parenting month at The Purple Apron!

If you are a member of the Suppers Moms and Dads Facebook group and want to submit a story of your successes and failures at the dinner table with the kids – send in a story to Dor! We will have future time slots for Parenting stories so share yours today! 

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 Hungarian Grandma

A Welcome From Dor

Dor photo by David Crow

I have never done a formal study on the demographics of Suppers meetings, but I’m going to say with unscientific confidence that we attract a disproportionate percentage of non-American-born women.

This makes sense to me. They seek us out because we have a food ethic that more closely resembles that of their country of origin and they bond readily with others who share more traditional values around food.

Actually – and to tell you the truth — I’m smug about it.

I savor the righteous indignation that I shouldn’t be feeling as the founder of Suppers because it’s Oh-so-judgmental to feel that way.  I enjoy the holier-than-thou feelings that rise when the New York Times “exposes” things you and I have been saying for years about processed foods.  I’m going to re-double my efforts to actively practice non-judgment for everyone but traffickers of junk food.  In the meantime, let Eva and Allie inspire you to do something really important; it’s time to start making pickles.


Eva’s Story: My Hungarian Grandma

When I was a little girl in Hungary my grandmother used to preserve all sorts of vegetables from her garden. At that time fresh (which meant not processed, but not really fresh because they were imported) vegetables were not available in Hungary during the winter months and I was told to eat our pickled vegetables because they had lots of vitamin C. I did not need much persuasion; I loved the sour taste. Our favorites were pickled cucumbers, green tomatoes, peppers, and cabbage.

Sauerkraut was our number-one favorite in winter and in summer we loved pickled cucumbers best.

Starting in May we made pickled cucumbers almost every week. As soon as one jar was gone, the next was already out in the sun waiting to be “done.” It was not a big deal for us but a way of life. 

Now in America three decades later, I signed up for a fermentation course at a health food store. I did not know exactly what it was about (we never used the word “fermentation” in Hungary, we just pickled our vegetables) but it seemed interesting and healthy. The master fermenter gave a long introduction about the health benefits of fermented foods. He also talked about his childhood; he learned to ferment from his Slovakian grandmother. As Hungary and Slovakia are neighboring countries. I thought maybe I had heard about this process; it sounded very familiar. When he switched from “Why lactobacilli are healthy” to “how to ferment” I had a strange feeling of discovery – evidently I grew up “fermenting” vegetables. 

Only now do I realize the value of what Grandma taught me. My favorite sauerkraut has not only vitamin C but also vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, E, K, niacin, iron, copper, and more. It regulates fat digestion and cholesterol, strengthens heart muscles, and stimulates cell growth. It has anti-cancer properties and, last but not least, is a very effective treatment for hangovers! 

I came to the Suppers program because I wanted to learn about healthy eating. I started reading the information on the website and I must adit it intrigued me. How can people live without wheat, dairy, and sugar? What is left to eat?

The Suppers Programs has been the best health investment I have ever made.

At Suppers we talk about the spirit of creativity, which to me means the healing force that rises when we feel we are actively participating in creating the program. This is how I felt when I brought samples of my fermented vegetables to share at a meeting. There was great enthusiasm among members who wanted to learn to do this. When I teach them how, my Hungarian Grandma will be sitting next to me, smiling. “These are just pickles.” Just?


Pickled Veggies for Eva, By Allie

48465d_e59e795f6cb742439f1316e9dd4a1081Uh, I don’t know about you guys but when I initially discovered home fermentation and looked at the directions, I was intimidated. Dor and Eva might be pros but Allie O’Brien (and a bunch of folks I talk to, too) did not begin her education on home fermentation with confidence.

Sure, probiotic rich foods are good. Sauerkraut that comes out of plastic bags is yucky. Fermented foods have, like, all of the B Vitamins and give you all the right tools. But it’s a murky, mysterious world in those jars. And I’m like…

“What is that, is that mold?!?!?!”
“We’re supposed to sanitize EVERYTHING when it comes to wine and beer but we don’t even WASH vegetables when fermenting? Uh…”
“What is schtooping? We’re supposed to ‘schtoop’ the cabbage? I thought that was a bad word in Yiddish?”
“I’m scared.”

So I started with pickles, myself, it just seemed easier really. I did want to get better at making kraut and in actuality Dor has totally demystified that process for me by offering visual cues: cabbage should be streaming with water, that’s not enough salt, put some kale in there, that’s too much salt (this one has little recourse unless you have more cabbage or more vegetables). So I’m learning.

But it’s just…her kraut is about 900 times better tasting than mine. Not only that but also I constantly discover millions of different types of krauts that come churning out of her kitchen with astonishing regularity and I get to taste them! My favorite is when she does the kraut with the kumquats in it – omg. So good. I call it “orange juice sauerkraut” and I can actually enjoy the flavor again finally because straight OJ hurts my tummy and I’m allergic to it, no matter what Ned and Farmer David say. I’m allergic to orange juice.

You guys. Dor is the queen of sauerkraut. Seriously.

So I figure I should probably stick to pickles. Last summer I had an overabundance of cucumbers (I know, huge problems over here) and decided to have my GSCK kids try out some pickles. Since I had never made them before I looked through some of my cookbooks: Nourishing Traditions, Alice Water’s cookbook, and Cook’s Illustrated, and in the end I did what a lot of people do: I went on the internet.

Ted Allen (not Tim Allen, that’s the Home Improvement guy – TED Allen is the foodie dude from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy). He had a recipe for Refrigerator Pickles and it looked pretty easy. 

Well folks, it just reaffirmed things: fermenting vegetables is straightforward but not easy unless you are trained by hand. His amounts were WAY OFF – so off that I have spent almost a year making this recipe again and again and again, trying to justify the amounts suggested in his recipe and then fix them accordingly and today I almost got it. So let’s do it. In the world of fermentation, this is probably as simple as it gets. 

Pickled Pickles Pickled Pickles Pickled Pickles! Yay!

Step One: Prepare all your vegetables. We’re using Kirby Cucumbers, carrot, broccoli, garlic, cilantro, and scallion. You can use jalapeño, summer beans, dill, fennel, etc. You can use anything, ok? Anything.

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Step Two: Boil 2 cups of water. Ted Allen first said to boil FOUR CUPS of water but that couldn’t have been more wrong. I was like, “Ted Allen, have you ever actually made this before?” Cause that’s how wrong it was. Boil, then simmer 2 cups of water and toss in the garlic, let it cook for 5 minutes or so.

It still made too much brine so if you are feeling adventurous, boil 1 cup water and see if that is too harsh with the vinegar. That’s ultimately what you have to balance with the water.

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Step Three: Take out two 1-quart jars (I’m using plastic containers because all of my jars are occupied, I know, plastic = bad, glass = good) and measure spices into the jars. Add any sprig you are using – today I’m using cilantro because I want to see if it works or if it is too delicate and gets slimy.

Once you’ve done that, pack veggies TIGHTLY into jars – Ted Allen was also wrong about the amounts of veg suggested. He must have magical Mary Poppins jars where you can add like triple the amount of things that would normally fit. Or he didn’t recipe test. Just add until you can’t add anymore and save whatever is leftover for another cooking project.

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Yes that’s coffee ok I didn’t get to the blog until this morning I’m sorry!

Step Four: Finish the brine with vinegar and salt, then separate out the garlic into jars and pour the brine. Cool, refrigerate, enjoy within a few hours! Pickles always taste better the next day and they last up to 3 months! If they make it past a week, that is.

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Refrigerator Pickles

2 cups water
10 cloves garlic, peeled and slightly crushed
6 teaspoons salt
2 cups white vinegar
4 sprigs fresh dill, anise, thyme, or cilantro (success pending)
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon coriander seed
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
6 kirby cucumbers, halved lengthwise
1 large carrot, peeled and thickly sliced
1 large scallion, thickly sliced into coins
8 broccoli florets
*additional items include 1 cup summer beans, 2 jalapeño peppers, summer squash, kale, cauliflower, bell peppers, red onion – you name it

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add garlic. Allow garlic to cook for 5 minutes. Add vinegar and salt, raise heat to a boil, dissolving salt. Remove from heat.
  2. In two 1-quart jars, separate sprigs of herbs. Divide seeds and peppercorns between jars. Then remove garlic cloves from the brine using tongs or a spoon and separate evenly between jars.
  3. Pack jars full of vegetables very tightly.
  4. Pour brine over vegetables to cover completely. Let cool on the counter, then cover and refrigerate. Pickles will taste good after a few hours but will be much better after a few days and will keep up to 3 months.

To all of you who came out for the Suppers Founder’s Day Fundraiser and supported The Suppers Programs – thank you!!!! Give us some love by checking out our Instagram @suppersprograms and here’s the link to our Facebook page and our website too!

 

Why Am I Crying?

A Welcome By DorDor photo by David Crow

A lot of people who come to Suppers get introduced to their physical bodies, to know themselves in ways they never thought about before.  What a relief it was for Ruby to discover that she was not crazy, she was in fact a sane person in a crazy body.  Like Lisa, our last subject in “Marshmallow Madness“, Ruby was getting loud signals from her body that her blood sugar was driving her bad mood chemistry, but she didn’t understand the language. Ruby had never learned that her jags of crying were typical of someone with her health issue.
False emotions drove her doom and gloom imaginings as she drove home after stressful days at work, but a simple intervention restored her normal emotions. 
If you would like more information on anxiety and the issues we are exploring today, please visit The Mood Cure.

Ruby’s Story: Why Am I Crying?

There’s a phrase we use at Suppers that described my situation perfectly: “sane person, crazy body.” Not that I advocate splitting mind and body, but if my rational mind was able to observe my crazy behavior, how crazy could I have been? My body insanity always happened like this:

Around 5 p.m. I would be on my way home from work, looking forward to getting home to relax and have dinner. About halfway home I’d start thinking about friends and family situations, and somehow my thoughts would get darker and darker. Rationally, I knew that everyone was fine and there was nothing to worry about, yet my thoughts were out of control: a dear friend was ill and going to die; people I love would be killed in a devastating accident. I would upset myself so much that I’d start to cry. 

Why was I crying?

Whenever this happened there was nothing going on that would explain getting so upset, yet there I was, driving home with tears streaming down my face. The only sane conclusion was that I was going crazy!

Then one night at a Suppers book review meeting we were talking about blood sugar and mood chemistry. We discussed false emotions and how these occur when blood sugar drops. I realized in that instant that this is what I experience on my drive home from work. Of course! After a stressful day at work I get hungry.

I know I have some problems with blood sugar, but I never connected the dots. My rides home are filled with false emotions, irrational thoughts, and uncomfortable feelings that go away as soon as I eat. 

What a relief to read about my experience in a book by someone who understands the problem. First, I’m NOT going crazy! I’m a sane person in a crazy body. I just needed help coming to the realization that I can get control over these emotions by making sure I eat what my body needs to level out my blood sugar. All it takes is a healthy snack at around 3 p.m. Who would have thought that a well-timed cup of yogurt or chicken soup would rid my drive home of demons? My friends at Suppers encouraged me to run my own experiments to see which foods carry me the longest and journal the experience. It doesn’t take much — half an apple with a little cheese will see me through until dinner.

How I feel is data. The change felt miraculous, but it wasn’t. I just experienced the “logical miracle” that Suppers says can happen when you start giving your body what it needs. Knowing how to interpret my body’s signals has been hugely empowering. Thank goodness for these meetings and the sanity they have brought back into my life.


 

Foods to Dry Ruby’s Tears, by Allie

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Someone I know can’t have garlic. Like, she literally just can’t have garlic and then expect to be comfortable on a physiological level. Her tummy will hurt, it might cause bloat, digestive issues, etc. From garlic. Can you imagine?!
Cause the internet says, “eat raw garlic everyday and never get sick!” And someone on Facebook shared an article they didn’t write and maybe didn’t read called “Five Foods To Always Eat Especially Garlic!” Well guess what? She can’t. She figured it out over time and elimination dieting.
She figured out that even an antimicrobial, antifungal, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, potent, powerful allium vegetable was actually not good for her. It actually caused inflammation. 
Go figure.
See, foods have pretty consistent properties. But we are less predictable. We are animals, hosts to billions of other living things, victims of incredibly efficient yeasts and viruses, and prone to all sorts of allergies and sensitivities. We’ll never know what foods to eat unless we experiment.
Is there anyone in the entire world, who has ever existed in the history of food, that doesn’t like pasta? MAN pasta is DELCIOUS. Am I alone in this? I doubt I’m alone — usually at least one person wants to hang out with me.
Anyway, I can’t have pasta. It’s really a bad idea. Remember, I’m still broken up with my boyfriend. His name is Bread and he was so beautiful and our relationship was as wonderful as it was toxic. Bread’s cousin is named Pasta and when I lost Bread I lost him too. But that’s love for you.
In the meantime, I’ve been spending time with my surrogate boyfriend. His name is Spaghetti Squash. Let me tell you about his stats.
On the Glycemic Index scale:
Spaghetti Squash scores a 40
Brown Rice scores a 55
to give you an idea.
However, one must always consider the Glycemic Load these days — carbohydrates plus fiber plus protein = the actual affect on (some) people’s blood sugar. On that scale, Spaghetti Squash scores a 1. A ONE!!! White boiled spaghetti scores a 26. This is like golf, people. That means that Spaghetti Squash is like Arnold Palmer and Pasta is like….well, like me. I’m terrible at golf.
Another great thing about Spaghetti Squash is that you really don’t have to do much to make it taste great. And for my friend’s sake, if you want to you can skip the garlic. Lights. Camera. Action.
Step One: Slice squash lengthwise and scoop out all of the seeds using a table spoon. Not a “Tablespoon” like in measurement, just a large spoon you would use if you were eating at a table. Place squash directly on oven racks, flesh side up, for 45 – 60 minutes depending on size.
The reason why we place the spaghetti squash flesh side UP and not DOWN, as we might with a butternut or another more tender squash is because we want the end result to be drier so that individual strands can be acquired and you will have something that looks like spaghetti.
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Yes, that is a duck. And yes, it was very hot. Use tongs or other utensils for safety reasons.
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Let cool for about 25 minutes or until you can stand to touch the squash.
Step Two: With a fork poised away from you, prong side down, begin to lightly shred away squash. It will pull up and separate from the strands beneath it fairly easily. Once you have shredded one side, turn the squash away from you and shred the other side. Then, turn onto a plate.
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Step Three: Flavor squash with olive oil, sea salt, lemon juice, pesto, tomato sauce, spices, or garlic if you can stand its volatile nature. Serve warm or store in a food safe container in the refrigerator and reheat before enjoying.

Spaghetti Squash Pasta

Ingredients

1 large spaghetti squash, sliced in half lenghtwise and de-seeded
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
1 Tablespoon lemon juice, plus more to taste
Any desired spices, herbs, or alliums (like onion, garlic, scallion)
Any desired sauces like tomato sauce, pesto, alfredo, etc.

Procedure

1.  Preheat oven to 400 and, if you like, prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place prepared squash, flesh side up, and roast 45 – 60 minutes. Poke with a fork to test tenderness after 45 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool 25 minutes or to touch.

2.  Fork shred squash until only skin remains. Place on a plate or in a bowl and toss with oil, salt, lemon juice, and any seasonings or sauces. Serve warm.

As always, head to Our Website at Suppers for all of your recipe needs!

Marshmallow Madness

 

Dor photo by David CrowA Welcome By Dor

When will you know if a panic attack is not a panic attack?
When will you know if your joint pain is optional?
When should we accept that our aches and complaints are just signs of normal aging?

Answer:  After you’ve done your experiments to identify which processed foods drive your suffering.

Lisa learned that when she was having a panic attack, she wasn’t having a panic attack. Labels can be powerful and  misleading.  They can set us up to make all kinds of erroneous conclusions about what’s causing our health and mental health problems.  One thing I hear when we’re sharing at the table is how people feel more “level”, “stable” or “centered” when they figure out which foods match their personal needs.

More often than not, it involves getting the right balance among proteins, fats, carbohydrates, fiber and water at the beginning of the day, breakfast.  

And it also means eliminating the primary drivers of anxiety, most notably, sugar.  Oh, by the way, Lisa lost 40 pounds without struggles when Marshmallow Madness identified the true drivers of her panic and pain.  Here’s her story.


 

Lisa’s Story: Marshmallow Madness

Menopause was not kind to me. Aching joints, weight gain, crankiness, and anxiety plagued me. But the worst was the heart palpitations. Most of it I passed off as the inevitabilities of aging — except for the heart palpitations, which were intense and scary. I had always felt quite sane, but this was making me crazy. When I shared my story at a Suppers meeting, everybody was nodding their heads like they knew exactly what was going on with me.

My doctor and a cardiologist did some tests that confirmed the palpitations and discovered an underlying heart arrhythmia, but could not determine a cause. They said people have heart palpitations all the time, and prescribed beta blockers. 

I’m a single parent and this wasn’t good enough for me. I couldn’t believe my heart could withstand that stress for very long. So I turned to the internet and did a simple search on “heart palpitations.” The first results I checked listed three causes and one of those was glucose. This rang a bell because I’ve always had a feeling I am sensitive to sugar. If I eat a donut for breakfast I have brain fog the entire day.

So I decided to do my own test and stop eating sugar and starch. That was in February. In March, I took my young daughter on vacation in California, and we stayed at a fabulous little hotel with a pool and outdoor fire pits. I took one look at this and said, “Let’s roast marshmallows!” So we bought a bag of marshmallows and skewers. We sat by the pool that night chatting and demolishing the bag.

At 3 a.m. I woke with the worst palpitations I had felt yet. My heart was going crazy. I stayed in bed hoping I would make it until morning, saying to myself, “Well, I think I just gave myself another glucose tolerance test.” When I was in high school my pediatrician had suspected a glucose tolerance problem, and gave me a three-hour glucose test — apparently not long enough.

I began to follow a diet that called for regular, small servings of protein. The results were immediate. My heart palpitations disappeared in three days, I lost 40 pounds without the struggles I’d experienced on diets, all my aches and pains disappeared, and I felt more clear-headed.

I returned to my doctor and told her the results of my unintentional experiment with marshmallows and the results I’d had with a high protein, low carb diet. She said, “You’re a good detective. You should write an article.” I should write an article? When I asked her what we should do next, she said, “Well, if you’ve figured it out, just keep doing what you’re doing.”

I returned to the cardiologist and told her the same story. She was very concerned about the low carb diet and felt that it would increase my cholesterol and create a greater heart risk.

I went to an endocrinologist as well, looking for verification of what I had discovered. He was as dismissive as the cardiologist and attributed everything to my weight loss. He couldn’t understand that I was incapable of losing weight until I discovered the role that sugar and refined carbohydrates played in my cravings. And to add insult to injury, he charged me $500 for a 15-minute consultation.

That was eight years ago. For two years I couldn’t eat carbohydrates without getting heart palpitations. After two years, my body began to heal itself — a mixed blessing because now I can cheat a little. So my weight is ten pounds higher than my low, but overall I feel good.

I wonder where I would be now if I had not experimented with my diet. It’s scary that none of the doctors I consulted figured any of it out.

Here are all the symptoms that disappeared since I eliminated
Sugars and S
tarches from my diet:

Aching joints     Bad knees     Blurred vision     Caffeine cravings     Carpal tunnel syndrome

Disintegrating handwriting     Feeling flushed     Feeling jittery under stress or at end of day

Foggy-headed     Food cravings     Gum disease     Heart palpitations     Irritability

Inability to lose weight     Inability to wake up in the morning, like I’m drugged

Memory problems     Momentary dizzy spells     Nail biting     Nightmares     Overweight

Sleepiness/drowsiness watching TV or at a movie theater

So was the cardiologist right to be concerned? I eat more than a dozen eggs a week — and bacon, when I am in the mood. Here are the results of my blood tests when the heart palpitations began and now, eight years later:

My weight went down 25 pounds.
My “good” cholesterol went up 45 points.
My “bad” cholesterol went down 5 points.
And my triglycerides went down 36 points.

I feel fabulous. And I love sharing my story with others who are also taking charge of their health. 


Smashing Eggs and Avocados for Lisa, by Allie

48465d_e59e795f6cb742439f1316e9dd4a1081Sometimes I go to diners for breakfast (very rarely) and I see their French Toast or Pancake special for the day and they are topped with maple syrup, bacon, sea salt caramel, toffee, whipped cream, banana foam, strawberry sugar, and more bacon. And I’m like, “man, that sounds delicious! I’ll have eggs!”

No matter how many forms of sugar the diner people want my breakfast to include, I know that a savory breakfast is the kind of breakfast for me. The sweet breakfast simply is something that does not appeal to me any longer. Sweets after dinner, well, that’s a different story.

Some people find that a high protein diet made up of many small meals throughout the day helps them find balance in their blood sugar and also in their lives. Eggs are a really great version of food because they fit so nicely into so many different categories! Breakfast, snack, baked goods, you name it! Lots of egg dishes are warm and need to be prepared right before you eat them. However if I’m already slipping into the “get out of my way literally I will walk over you if you are in between me and the pantry-frigerator” phase, well, maybe I won’t be able to wait until the egg is done frying. I’ve already eaten like half the cheese in the fridge or, worse, I’ve started eating crackers.

So for me (and apparently Lisa) sometimes cold, prepped egg dishes are the way to go. In the words of at least one coach, this is what we play for.

Step One: Boil Eggs. You guys, there’s actually a LOT of dissenting opinions in the world of boiling eggs and some people are extraordinarily passionate about all of the egg things. Like this guy, who is totally obSESSED with all of the egg things. I’m just going to say, the best way that usually works for me is, place eggs in a saucepan, cover with water, bring to a boil, turn off the heat, place a lid on the saucepan, and wait like 10 minutes or so.

In addition, do you have one of these things? I guess it’s called an egg slicer because I’ve literally never used it for anything else but these things are AMAZING. Why would anyone ever chop eggs with a knife? Who even has the patience for that??!!

Step Two: For this recipe the avocado doesn’t have to be perfect, you can prep it any way you like. BUT I thought it would be a great opportunity to teach you some avocado tricks! First of all, getting that pesky skin off with the meat still intact. (By the way did you know that an avocado is technically a nut/legume? I heard that somewhere.)

Take half of a pitted avocado and place it flesh side down on a cutting board. With your non-thumb-fingers, starting at the slimmer end, start to peel off the skin, keeping your thumbs applying gentle force to the rest of the avocado. Towards the middle this will get easier–keep applying consistent force and pulling skin and: Voila!

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Then, take it one step further. A nice fanned avocado is perfect for lifting and placing on a sandwich in a nice, flat, even, easy way (even though I don’t eat sandwiches because I recently broke up with my boyfriend, Bread). Get there by thinly slicing the skinned avocado in nice, even, long, slices. Then, press the flat edge of your knife against the middle of the avocado, gently pressing down until *gasp!* the avocado collapses in a beautiful fanned arrangement.

It’s so pretty! Look again!

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Step Three: Prep the rest of your stuff. One great way to deal with finely dicing just a bit of celery is to make slits in the stalks, then use the non-slitted stalk part to hold onto and dice off the rest. Then you can save or eat the rest. Like here:

(I ate the celery rest, in case you were wondering.) There’s only a few other ingredients so I just put them together for you.

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Step Four: Put it all in a bowl and use a fork to fork mix it together. Add salt and pepper, plus any other seasonings you like and enjoy or put away for later! (You know when I’m talking about.)

Did you just ask if you can add other stuff? Uh, duh, of course you can! I would add diced chicken for some added protein, carrot for a sweet crunch, a whole BUNCHLOAD of different sorts of herbs and spices, basil in the summer, scallions in the spring, and lemon zest because I’m Allie O’Brien and if you didn’t know I love lemon zest, well, now you do and you shan’t forget again. There will be a test.


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Lisa’s Egg and Avocado Salad

Ingredients

12 hardboiled eggs
2 avocados, peeled and mashed
3 Tablespoons chopped parsley
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup organic mayo (or greek yogurt)
salt and pepper to taste

Procedure

1. Mash egg and avocado together. Mix in the rest of the ingredients. Yields six servings.

Variations and Alternative Ingredients

1 teaspoon dijon mustard
paprika, turmeric, dry rub spice blend, italian spice bend, etc.
fresh basil, oregano, rosemary, etc.
shredded carrots, summer squash
diced chicken, turkey, pork, bacon, etc.

Enjoy! As always, be sure to check out other Suppers website recipes on our index of recipes! And remember — how you feel is data! Start experimenting today and you just might surprise yourself. AND your doctors.

The Whole30

A Welcome By Jess357a5501-3e89-4e37-ad9c-7c14acd6f737

5 or 6 years ago, in digestive desperation and with a huge leap of faith I cut out of
my diet: dairy, beans, grains, sugar and processed foods. “A week,” I told myself. “I
can do anything for a week. If I don’t feel any different, what have I lost?”
I couldn’t believe how much better I felt… all digestive issues resolved… after just 2
or 3 days! A year or two later I embarked on my first official Whole30 with my
husband, hoping he would get some back pain relief from this 30 day Paleo
elimination diet which has been touted to reduce symptoms of inflammation for
many people with a wide variety of ailments. He lost weight, became more aware of
his sugar dragon, and overall felt better. We’ve continued with the Paleo diet since
then, sometimes more strictly than others.

People argue about what, exactly, makes up the Paleo diet and which Paleo plan is
best (of which there are many). I avoid that business and simply say that the
Whole30 is a trial of eating only meat, fish, eggs, vegetable, fruit and “healthy” fats.

They say, “Think of it as a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an
end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your
digestive tract, and balance your immune system.”

It is like a big Suppers experiment where you cut out a bunch of junk from your diet, see how you feel, and then, if you wish, start re-introducing things, continuing to observe your body and mood response. The first time I was more aware of the physical impact on my body. The second and third times (when I was joined by a total of over 50 Suppers members!), I was more aware of my emotional responses to certain foods.

I favor the Whole30 because I know it well… and because there are so many helpful (and FREE!) resources online:

Like this introduction
Lots of recipes
A Paleo Day-By-Day Guide
And A Whole30 Day-By-Day Guide Too!

Whatever “cleanse” you decide on, social support is KEY!!! This was the
overwhelming feedback from Suppers members who did the Whole30 together last
September. Talk to your partner or loved ones about joining you, find a buddy, get a
group together, or connect with one of the online groups

Here’s Your First Support Group

Now how about we give you your first recipe inspiration?

Cooking For More Than A Whole30 Minutes, by Allie

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I’ve legit missed you guys. Last week we took a break because Suppers was featured in Real Woman Magazine! Head: to page 39 to start reading our super awesome article. We’ve had almost 1,000 views from just our Facebook group alone. I know. Hey, it’s a good thing that WordPress doesn’t charge for lots of links because we’ve given you a LOT today.

Hey, let’s talk about cooking for Whole30 now! I wanted this to be the last cleanse/detox diet we go over because this one seems restricting at first but when compared to other diets we’ve featured this month, this one is a total breeze. One thing that would make Whole30 easier to swallow, pun intended, is the ability to perform what we in the cooking community (I’m in the cooking community, you guys) call a MAKE AHEAD.

My good and gorgeous friend April told me last week that she did her last “make ahead” back in December and she is STILL eating out of her freezer. Not like, literally like ice cream or anything but she has dishes she made IN DECEMBER that she is still working through and they are all still deliciouscrumptious. Also you should know that I applied through urban dictionary to make “deliciouscrumptious” a word. They probably won’t approve it though.

This week’s MAKE AHEAD meal highlights some very powerful anti-inflammatory, high protein, Whole30 friendly ingredients. If you have a knife, a pan, a blender, and an oven, you too can make this dish. Let’s do this thing.

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BAM did you see that?! It tastes just as good as it looks. Wanna know how to make it? Keep reading.

Salmon basics include:
Buying Wild if you can find it
Making sure that the bones are all out of there (the fish man at the fish store should be doing this for you but always always check by running your finger along the center of the filet and feeling for spikes.
Using ingredients like lemon, ginger, and sea salt

Putting a thick crust on your salmon is a great way to lock in all of the moisture available to you. A visual cue for when you are done is represented above — see all those great fats? When you see those white oily yummy little guys oozing out their deliciousness, you are done! Normally, salmon takes about 10 minutes to roast at 400 degrees. However, with a crust like this on a big filet, you’re looking at closer to 15 or even 25 minutes for a medium rare fish, Vitamin E, A, D, and K stocked, fish dinner. 

Step One: Zest and juice a lemon. Don’t ever underestimate lemon zest. Don’t do it, and don’t let me hear about you doing it.

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Try to only use Microplanes without handles. The other ones are stupid and annoying.

Step Two: Slice a bunch of scallions and 1 pound of shiitake mushrooms. Scoop some coconut oil into a pan and start your sauté. Sauté until mushrooms are tender.

Step Three: In a blender, combine: cooked shiitakes & scallions, grated ginger, lemon juice, zest, some extra greens like parsley, kale, etc. and some sea salt. Blend until creamy. If you want, place into a large piping bag. That’s if you are up for a lengthy fight with your piping bag because mine DID NOT LIKE the chunks of kale that I was trying to squeeze through its piping tip. You’re probably better off using a spatula to spread but if you want to try to be fancy for a party, go ahead.

Step Four: Spread mixture on prepared salmon filets and place in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for about 12 – 15 minutes for a small filet and 15-20 minutes for a big filet. For a whole 2 lb fish, you will need at least 20 minutes until done. Keep an eye out for your visual cue.

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Step Five: Plate, finish with some lemon juice and sea salt for extra zing, and enjoy with greens and sweet potato if you like. That’s just what I did so if you wanna be like me, there it is.

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Whole30 Shiitake Salmon

Ingredients

1 2-lb salmon filet, skinned and de-boned
1 heaping Tablespoon coconut oil or sesame oil
1 bunch scallions, washed and minced
1 lb shiitake mushrooms, caps removed, sliced
sea salt
1 1-inch piece ginger, grated
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 – 2 cups greens (kale, spinach, parsley)

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place prepared salmon on baking sheet and set aside.
  2. In a sauté pan, add oil over medium high heat. Add scallions, mushrooms, and sea salt, and sauté until mushrooms are tender — about ten minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Place mushroom mixture, ginger, lemon zest, juice, greens, and some extra salt into a high powered blender and blend on high until mixture is creamy. Place mixture in a large piping bag with large coupler or in a bowl.
  4. Spread mixture thickly over salmon filet, using all of the mushroom mixture. Place salmon in a preheated oven and roast until done. For a whole filet, check after 15 minutes for doneness by inserting a fork and knife into the center and spreading apart — medium rare is deep orange, medium is bright orange. For smaller filets, check after 10 minutes.

 

The Clean Program

for purple apron

A Welcome By Lee Yonish

One of the first questions people ask is, “Do I really have to give up coffee?” This seems to be a reasonable question, given that the Clean cleanse prescribes a relatively reasonable plan. Yet perhaps because The Clean Program allows for such a wide array of options, one automatically assumes caffeine may be one of them. Another sticking point for some are the liquid meals: the daily smoothie for breakfast and soup for dinner. Not being able to “crunch” on something can be tough to get used to.

Nonetheless, despite some of these sacrifices, this cleanse works wonders for many people, mainly because they get the opportunity to see how good they can feel — how light, un-bloated, energetic, clear-minded — when eating a variety of real foods, as opposed to a clear liquid diet or a restrictive food diet.

The Clean Program seems to be a highly effective mainstream cleanse, for folks who may not have any chronic health issues but who just feel “ick” from the holidays or from falling back on some old habits. Whatever the case, there is definitely a lot of planning and cooking involved, but mindfulness and a new appreciation for eating are certain to result if you can hang in there.

A Note From Audelle…

Currently the Dr. Junger’s website found here is hosting a 21 Day Detox with free support online and a lot of downloadable/printable information with registration. Participation in this detox started just a few days ago but registration is open. Sometimes cleansing with a group makes things a little easier to swallow. 

Power Smoothies by Allie

48465d_e59e795f6cb742439f1316e9dd4a1081When detox diets are like “you can eat these foods and these other foods but you can’t eat those foods or these things that pretend to be foods but aren’t really foods though” I’m like “you can eat food! Woohoo!” (fist pumping ensues). Lee mentioned that a point of contention folks seem to have with this detox includes the rule about sticking to two drinkable meals per day and zero caffeine. I can get behind the loss of caffeine thing because, well…because coffee. Hearts. However, smoothies (drinkable meals) are a brilliant creation.

The thing about smoothies is that you can nearly. Put. ANYthing. In. A. Smoothie. Do you have a blender? Good, because you can put anything in the blender (within reason) and then add a liquid and then press “On” and then drink what the blender makes. To me, that has always carved the way for more boosters in my diet. Boosters include:

Powdered seaweeds (Spirulina is my favorite because it’s naturally sweet)
Spices like Turmeric and Cinnamon
Chia seeds & Flaxseeds
Maca Powder (a superfood root veggie from South America, which might not be allowed in The Clean Program because of the starch/rootness)
Cacao Powder
Chlorophyl Drops (It’s like we extracted everything good and green from the inside of a kale leaf and put it in a little bottle with a little dropper. Don’t ever drop this bottle, it will dye ANYthing it touches green)
and more!

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Chia Seeds are an excellent source of Omega fatty acids and soluble fiber. They can be used as egg replacers in baking too! However, experts disagree on their overall value.

Don’t feel pigeonholed by the fruit industry when you are making your smoothies.
Veggies need love too. 

Spinach
is creamier than kale in a smoothie but kale packs twice the nutrients in half the serving. They are both high in oxalic acid so remember to eat your greens cooked often.
Carrots are great if you have a strong blender but if you don’t you can steam them, store them in the fridge, and add them to smoothies for a softer result.
In the summertime, Summer Squash adds a nice mild flavored, foamy bulk.
Cooked Beans add thickness, protein, and flavor.

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Once you have all of your desired ingredients, just throw them into a blender and blend until very smooth! Drink up quickly and revel in the fact that you have just injected a multitude of micronutrients into your system. One time I was really into my Jack LaLanne juicer and I juiced like…everything I could find in my kitchen and drank it. That wasn’t the best idea in the world because about five minutes after I drank like a liter of fresh juice I started running an insane fever, my face turned red, my heart started racing and I thought I was going to die. Probably too many B Vitamins all at once.

Smoothies have more insoluble fiber than juice so the nutrient extraction takes longer and doesn’t result in a Niacin Flush, which is what I think happened to me. Terrifying.

DSC_0783Clean Program Mango Lime Chia Smoothie

Ingredients

1 cup frozen mango
1 cup greens (spinach, kale, etc.)
1/2 lime, juiced
1/2 green apple, cored
3 baby carrots or 1 medium carrot
1 heaping Tablespoon Chia seeds
1 cup mango puree or fresh juice
1 cup water

Procedure

1.  Combine ingredients in a blender starting with frozen ingredients and ending with liquids.
2.  Blend until very smooth and drink immediately.