Varsity Player

A Welcome By Dor

Dor photo by David Crow

Who identifies with this statement: “I told my teenager to eat healthy food and he did it.”

Nobody, right? It’s hard enough when they’re little. It’s tough duty serving up tastes of the same unwanted food that requires the requisite 10 or 15 times before a small child accepts a new food. (Unless, of course, your tech-savvy neophobic 3-year old is surfing the net for evidence-based articles on feeding picky eaters.)

At Suppers, we learn that there is strength in numbers. What one mom can’t do alone, we can accomplish if we make it a team sport. We wouldn’t need to connive, collaborate, and form support groups if we weren’t immersed in a food supply that’s as addictive as street drugs. But we are.

Here’s what one Suppers mom did to fight the good fight: she went Varsity.


 

Lena & Todd’s Story – Varsity Player

My son plays varsity football at the local high school. He is a husky lad, and it takes a lot of food to fill him up and keep him fueled for all the activity he demands of his body.

I’ve always had kids in sports. Over the years many of us parents have expressed concern about what the boys are eating, and in the past year or two there has been an increased sense of urgency. Changes we tried individually at home to improve the quality of the food were not embraced, to say the least. 

So this year we decided to feed the boys as a team before games. I shared information from the Suppers program about how to increase energy and stabilize mood with good nutrition. The other parents were very receptive, and we created a menu for pregame breakfast or dinners that included fruit, whole grains, yogurt, eggs, and lean meats. Together we prepared and served the meals for the players, coaches, cheerleaders, and band members. 

What none of us could accomplish individually, we managed to do as a group.

Those hungry kids accepted nourishing meals. If they missed the white flour and sugary foods, they didn’t complain. As the season progressed, the kids realized they had more stamina and energy in the fourth quarter of the game.

There is no doubt in my mind that starting the day with a good breakfast made a difference. I feel very positive about organizing the parents and, as a group, coming up with a formula that worked:

  • Make sure there is only healthy food around when they’re hungry.
  • Make it delicious
  • Couch the discussion in terms of stamina on the field.

The parents won’t need to do any persuading once the kids feel the difference in the fourth quarter. 


 

Stew: It’s What’s For Dinner, said Lena, By Allie

48465d_e59e795f6cb742439f1316e9dd4a1081When summer comes, my time is spent attempting to educate local youths on gardening, cooking, nutrition, and more. Each warm and beautiful day we prepare a healthy lunch together with freshly harvested ingredients from our garden, sit down at a big table set by the participants, and enjoy a meal they made almost entirely themselves.

So when it comes to the “I don’t like greens,” or “Ewww what’s that?!” or “I don’t eat salad!” I’ve literally heard them all, a zillion times. My response is always,

“You don’t have to like it. You do have to try it.
I get to say that at least twice a day for 40 weekdays straight, all summer long. Would my solidarity break if I had to say it twice a day for 365 days straight? Oh, definitely. So Lena’s story is as inspiring to me as it is impressive.

At Suppers, we encourage bio-individuality and emotional, community based support to provide a person with the strength required to address food-driven health challenges. My theory, which is not very different, includes identifying the smoothest path towards empowerment for a child and then gently but firmly nudging them down that path. They think they’re walking alone but that’s because they’re kids and your presence embarrasses them. It’s better when they think those healthy choices were their own idea anyways. Who cares about “I told you so’s” when the 9-year old is happily eating stewed swiss chard and munching on kale chips? 

Like Lena addressed in her story, children at a private family dinner table are more “show runners” – more inclined to refuse food, have one of those precious, precious attitudes, and demand unhealthy and processed non-food substances from their exhausted parents.

However, in my experience, children in a larger group — even teenagers and perhaps especially teens — WILL try new foods! They will even encourage each other, comfort each other through the process, and – this is huge – if the healthy food tastes delicious then it doesn’t take much to get them to chow down.

So with that in mind, let’s get to work. Here’s a recipe for revamped Chicken and Sweet Potato Dumplings that is sure to please because of it’s natural fatty, saltiness, but is very simple to prepare and allows for your creativity to make slight variations as well. And just so you know, my students go totally nuts for this one. So yeah. It’s kid tested.

Step One: Rinse chicken parts and pat very dry so that spices will stick. Prepare a spice blend of black pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, kosher or sea salt, and Bell’s Seasoning (this is key) in a small bowl. On a chicken safe cutting board, sprinkle spices and rub slightly into chicken. Let chicken marinate a bit and come up towards room temperature. 

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IMG_2898Step Two: Sear chicken in coconut oil or another high-heat cooking oil (in case you were wondering, avocado has the highest smoke point if you happen to be a gagillionaire and can use avocado oil for cooking). Sear meat 3-4 minutes per side, then add to a stockpot and cover with chicken stock. Bring to a simmer.

Hey, do you ever have that experience when you have to literally fight with seared meats that stick to stainless steel cookware? Me too! There are things you can do: 

  • Don’t take meat straight from a refrigerator and place in a pan. Cold meats stick more than room temperature meats.
  • Use the proper amount of oil and heat – not too much, not too little – to create what’s called The Maillard Effect, which causes water vapor to be released from foods, essentially “lifting” that chicken off the pan after just a few minutes.
  • Use cast iron or even enameled cast iron as much as possible for browning meat since it has a constant layer of oil and the groves in the pan are ideal for Maillard Effect.

Step Three: Chop all your veggies and stuff. This is stew, don’t go all nuts about getting like a perfect brunoise or whatever. Don’t worry, Thomas Keller is not going to come get you. Now let’s save you some time — rough chop, Chef! Throw those veggies into the simmering chicken & stock.

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Step Three: The dumplings. Traditional chicken and dumplings are made with Bisquick, duh. Obviously we are not going to use white flour BUT let’s think about what makes biscuits so yummy! Starch, a mild sweetness (from the milk) and doughy happy happy time. So…..let’s use starchy sweet vegetables to create our perfect super dumpling!

You can make up all sorts of variations on these dumplings too — be creative! Just pick a veggie that can be boiled or roasted, then mashed, and mix it with nut flour, egg, a sticky fiber like flax or chia, and seasonings! Nut allergy? No problem — use chickpea flour instead. Veggies include:

  • Rutabaga
  • Cauliflower or Broccoli
  • Celeriac or Celery Root
  • Butternut, acorn, kabocha squash, etc.
  • Carrot
  • Get your kid involved by giving the dumplings job to him or her — it’ll take it off your hands and you’re sure to get a lot of different, interesting ingredients in there.

Step Four: While soup is simmering happily, use two Tablespoons to form small dumplings from the bowl. Drop them gently onto (not into) top layer of soup. Continue creating and placing dumplings on soup until all batter is gone. Leave stew simmering uncovered another 5-7 minutes. If dumplings are firm when poked, you’re done.

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Chicken and Sweet Potato Dumplings

Ingredients

For the stew:

1 whole chicken, cut into parts (or about 4 lbs. chicken parts), rinsed and patted dry
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 Tablespoon sea salt
1 1/2 Tablespoons Bell’s Seasoning (or Old Bay)
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
2 1/2 quarts chicken stock or more if necessary
1 large yellow onion (makes about 2 cups chopped)
1 cup chopped carrot (about four small carrots)
1 cup chopped celery (about four stalks)

For the dumplings:

1 sweet potato, roasted, peeled, and mashed
1 medium carrot, shredded (about 1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
1 egg
1 Tablespoon ground flaxseed
1/2 cup almond flour, chickpea flour, or gluten free flour
sea salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Procedure

1. Place chicken in a large bowl and sprinkle with seasonings. Rub dry spices into chicken slightly and make sure each piece is evenly coated. Set aside for 10 minutes to marinate and increase in temperature slightly.
2. In a large stainless steel or cast iron pan over medium high heat, melt coconut oil. Sear chicken in batches for 3-4 minutes per side and place in a clean stockpot until all chicken pieces have been seared. Deglaze chicken pan with stock and pour over chicken. Add stock to chicken pan until liquid just covers meat. Bring to a simmer.
3. Chop stew vegetables and add to simmering chicken and stock. Place a lid over stockpot and allow to simmer about 15 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, prepare dumplings by placing all ingredients into a bowl and using a fork to mix thoroughly. When ready to drop, use two Tablespoons to form dumplings (or your hands if you prefer) and drop one at a time, very gently, on top of simmering stew. Avoid allowing dumpling to drop too much below the surface of the liquid -as that will disintegrate the dumpling- what you want is for the stew to “steam” those dumplings. Allow to continue cooking 5-7 minutes or until dumplings feel sort of firm when poked.

*Keep your simmer low at the end – the dumplings don’t always want to stay totally together. Try to keep dumplings away from angry bubble places, off to the side is best. Turn once with a fork if possible!

*Traditionally Chicken and Dumplings is served over wild, long grain rice. If you would like to add this to your recipe, go for it. I don’t do the rice because I like the dumplings so much and having rice too would be too much for me. However, that’s the tradition and if you would like to add a whole grain to this recipe, I won’t stand in your way.
Just don’t cook the rice with the chicken and vegetables because it will blow up to a huge size and won’t be a delicate carpet for your stew. 

Thanks for reading! As always, head to our website at at Suppers for more healthy recipes to feed your family with delicious, nourishing meals.

 

 

 

 

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 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.

Popcorn

A Welcome by Dor

It is a cruel feature of the natural reality that what drives our pleasure often drives pain too. It happens with love (we know this). It happens with parenting (we know this, too). It happens with food (really?).

Our member Jenny had a problem that was very simple to solve, but she lives in a medical culture that doesn’t wonder about the possible role of food as a driver of pain.

She got a diagnosis and lots of treatments but no relief. Until she was asked the right questions. This week, we focus on one very simple, very straightforward philosophy:
Problems that are caused by food need to be resolved with food.

Jenny’s Story – Popcorn

I am used to our medical system, to getting a diagnosis and then receiving whatever prescription or procedure matches the diagnosis.
I have had mostly good experiences, and my doctors and therapists of various description would generally say that I am compliant. Well, I’m compliant and I do appreciate our medical system, until I reach the point where nothing works. That is the point I reached with Plantar fasciitis as the diagnosis and complications related to it.
All I know is that I was in a lot of pain and nothing was working. As someone who loves to walk and to hike, I knew I had to find a solution; the pain had persisted for almost nine months. During that time, I tried exercises, orthotics and a night-time splint. I tried massage. I tried reflexology. I tried acupuncture. I bought little balls to roll around to soften and stretch the soft tissues in my feet. I bought several pairs of new shoes. Pain killers might have been a possibility, but I didn’t just want to pop pills; mightn’t I do more damage if I couldn’t feel?
One day I asked a therapeutic friend what she would do if she had received this diagnosis. She said simply: “I’d examine my diet. Pretend food is causing the inflammation in your foot, which food do you think would — “POPCORN!” I said, almost immediately.
I recalled the meeting in which we talked about how our inflammatory foods tend to be the ones we adore. I remembered the rationale: it relates mostly to the cascade of endorphins and pleasure chemicals we experience when we eat a food stressor. But of course, it was hard to identify with the concept because, well, it’s just popcorn.
At the time I ate a lot of popcorn. A LOT OF POPCORN. Popcorn had become a universal solution for me. I could even convince myself that it was a healthy option as long as I didn’t add much oil, though, once asked the right question, I could not remain naïve. I had to test popcorn. To my shock and relief, the longstanding foot pain vaporized when I stopped eating all corn products. It took just a few days for the pain to begin to subside, and after about 10 days I was pain free. It’s now nine months later and the pain has not returned.

I don’t want to end this story leaving the impression that popcorn is the villain. I do want to champion experiments and especially the food elimination diets we try out at Suppers to identify the extent to which our favorite foods drive our inflammatory processes individually. Since having my own compelling experience with popcorn, I have engaged in many experiments, including food elimination diets and testing new foods and assessing their potential to energize and satiate me. I have three questions for my readers:

1. Do you experience pain or inflammation anywhere?

2. Is there any food you habitually eat that does more than satisfy normal hunger, like provide comfort, sedate you, or change your mood?

3. Is it worth it to you to eliminate the comfort food for a few weeks to see if it’s really acting more like a pain killer than a food?

Maybe my popcorn is your bell peppers, pizza or ice cream. All I know is that half a dozen interventions that worked for me for other problems couldn’t touch the pain in my feet. The match between my problem and my solution was giving up popcorn.

Snackfoods for Jenny, by Allie

Did you guys know that I went to culinary school in Berkeley, California? Well, I did, I crushed it, then I missed you and no one there got my jokes so I came home. The thing I miss the most about California, besides maybe the views? The grocery stores. I’m telling you, those grocery stores are just bonkers. The bulk sections are bigger than my house and they have ridiculous selections of dried mushrooms, chilies, dates from all over the world, bulk Celtic Sea Salt, like four thousand different dried beans, corn husks, banana leaves, exotic (but not for California) dried fruits, and the list goes on. In fact I feel as though that list was not even that impressive. Imagine a way bigger, way more impressive list. I used to make extraordinarily versatile snack mixes from those bulk sections but for some reason…they never satisfied for long.

Snacking is different for everybody in terms of food selection but the one thing which unites us all is, when we need a snack, WE NEED A SNACK. Like, GET OUT OF MY WAY. I’M HANGRY.

(Hangry = hunger + anger). 

This is probably why snacking is a super personal experience and something we all should experiment with! I have finally found that keeping a small bowl of unpeeled, hard-boiled eggs makes for a great Allie snack. Or a scoop of yogurt with almond butter or even popping some whole Tamari Almonds. I guess I go for the protein because if I go for the carbohydrates, it’s a very slippery, cabinet-slash-fridge-opening-extravaganza-midnight-on-Thanksgiving-style slope. Was that too much? Also my brother runs and he likes to follow up his jaunts with a soft boiled egg, which I tried when he was home last week. It was YUCKY. But I tried it cause, experiments. Plus, Suppers.

(Suppers = experiments + hugs + delicious food)

This week, I tried to find a snack that would be in the same salty flavor profile as popcorn, which was Jenny’s temporary downfall. I also tried to stick to something that can be prepared really quickly and stores fairly well. I chose a very simple preparation of kale chips–so simple it may in fact blow your mind.

Last thing I’ll say is, store-bought kale chips have nothing on kitchen kale chips. Nothing. I’m going to share with you the super speedy, zoomy fast way to prep simple kale chips, though I do want to mention that there are many ways to amp up your kale chip game if you have a food dehydrator.  If you’d like any tips on kale chips or dehydration, please use the comment section to start a discussion on the matter. I’m happy to share more.

Now, let’s do this.

Step One: Let’s talk about the type of kale you want to use. For this recipe you want a leafy, curly, or red russian kale and not the flat dino or lacinato kale. Those are great for kale chips in general but not for this prep.

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Step Two: Strip and Rip. Are you right handed? I don’t know if it matters but I am, so I hold the end of the kale leaf (stem side UP) with my left hand and then use my right thumb and forefinger to rip off the beginning of the leaf sides and then quickly strip the leaf, keeping those fingers close to the stem and holding it steady with my left hand. It sounds more involved than it actually is, seeing as how stripping one kale leaf takes about .75 seconds. Rip the kale into large pieces and throw into a bowl.

Step Three: Dry those babies so the oil and seasonings stick to the leaves. Season your kale chips with olive or melted coconut oil, then use any dried seasonings you want. I generally use salt and pepper but have been known in some circles to use garlic powder, smoked paprika, turmeric, nutritional yeast, and cumin. Not at the same time.

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Step Four: Place on a baking sheet (use parchment paper if you want) and spread out so kale is nice and even. Place in a preheated oven at 350 and bake for 10-12 minutes. Remember to check them halfway through and toss kale chips gently so that they crisp up evenly!

Step Five: Toss into a bowl and enjoy! I dare you to not finish them in one sitting and at the end, you’ll have eaten a bunch of kale, not a bag of chips.


 

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Kale Chips

1 bunch green curly kale or Red Russian Kale, de-stemmed and ripped into large pieces

1 1/2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted, or olive oil

sea salt, pepper, and any other seasonings

1`.  Preheat oven to 350. Pat prepared kale leaves dry or almost dry and toss in oil. Sprinkle seasonings over leaves and toss gently with tongs — do NOT massage kale leaves! That will just make them take longer to cook.

2.  Place kale leaves on a prepared baking sheet and spread out as evenly as possible.  Bake 10-12 minutes, stopping to toss kale chips halfway through to ensure an even bake and perfect crispyness.

For more Suppers recipes, remember to check out the recipe index on our website here. We have over 500 recipes for you to begin to create your own experiments!

The Purple Apron & Prozac Doesn’t Come In Cherry

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A Welcome by Dor

This is my first blog post. Those of you who know me may be suspicious since I’m not on social media. I do have an accomplice; her name is Allie O’Brien. Allie and I will be doing some weekly blogging together — me, sharing my experiences and thoughts; she, creating beautiful dishes to accompany stories and to inspire our readers to start or continue cooking for themselves.
I understand younger people go to the Internet to find the solutions to their problems. The Internet can be a scary place for people who are trying to identify the probable causes for their symptoms. There is nothing scary about this blog. For years I have run a local non-profit called Suppers. We are an organization dedicated to helping people make good matches between their health problems and their lifestyle solutions. Allow us to welcome you to our virtual Suppers meeting here, where you may share with us your experiments on finding the right or wrong foods for you, if you let us share with you our stories of success, failure, and kitchen dreams and nightmares. Our first story begins now!
The holidays present a special challenge for many of us because precisely the foods that give us joy are the foods that drive depression and anxiety. Here is Cindy, one of our members who, after decades of chronic depression and severe headaches, found her real solution when she started eating the food her brain was starving for.

Cindy’s Story – Prozac Doesn’t Come in Cherry

I remember many years ago when my kids were little their dad and I noticed how all the kids’ vitamins and medicines came in different flavors. We were jealous that our vitamins and meds didn’t come in yummy flavors too. Yes, those liquid cold medicines we used years ago came in flavors, but none of the other things we were taking did.

We started joking around and imagining how great it would be if medicines tasted like real food. He wanted his to taste like spaghetti, his favorite “comfort” food. I wanted mine to taste like beef stew, something we didn’t have that often that I loved. Little did I know that that dream was going to become my reality years later when I found the Suppers Programs!

Before Suppers I suffered from chronic depression and anxiety. I had no normal sleep cycle and labeled myself a “night-owl”. I used to eat and drink whatever I pleased and never had any idea how my feeling sluggish, moody, wired and tired all the time was related to what I ate and drank. All that changed when I started my Suppers journey. After doing the Suppers breakfast challenge, I discovered my own personal antidepressant in a bowl of breakfast chili. That day changed my whole life for the better. I learned how to cook a few different things that could stabilize my moods while increasing my energy levels. In the first few years I used to rotate those foods. But for the last four years or so I have been eating my absolute favorite ground turkey stew day after day, week after week, year after year. I LOVE this stew! Breakfast is now my favorite meal of the day. I look forward to it and feel disappointed if I travel and can’t take some with me!

When people hear how I eat every day, the reaction is the same. Shock.  Confusion.  Judgement.  I don’t judge others for how they deal with their depression; I would like to be not judged for I how I deal with mine.  Food is an antidepressant too. The simplest way for me to explain why I eat this breakfast every day is to say, “Prozac doesn’t come in cherry”. No it doesn’t. It also does NOT come in yummy flavors like Turkey Stew.

I am on the receiving end of labeling, comparing and judging for eating habits that others find boring.  Oh well, at least I’m resilient because I have a belly full of my personal antidepressant.  I am forever grateful to Suppers for opening the door to my early-adult fantasy that meds could come in my favorite flavor.

Cooking Cindy’s Stew, by Allie

Hi everyone!  So I made Cindy’s delicious, super simple stew this morning.  It took me about an hour but THAT’S because in the middle I realized that I didn’t have any veggie stock (and in my family we have some dietary restrictions–some folks avoid meat, others cherish it) so I had to make it on the fly.

The good news is that because of my inability to think ahead, as well as my amazing cooking prowess and huge, huge brain, I’ll give you a quick veggie stock tip.  Also I forgot to add the peas and I’m just remembering that now and that explains why it looks so monochromatic…oopsies…

Let’s begin!

Step One: Prep yo veggies and make a huge mess.

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Step Two: Knife Tips

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Cut carrots in coins OR owl’s eyes for different mouth texture.
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Cut all of your stalks of celery in one shot but remember to tuck that thumb in! Bear claw people!

Step Three: Stare at carrot slices and liken them to an owl’s face staring at you. Take pictures and post on Instagram. Think about owls. (This won’t take long if you’re me and don’t know much about owls.)

 

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Step Four: SAVE ALL YOUR VEGGIE SCRAPS (except cabbage) FOR VEGGIE STOCK. To make veggie stock flying, throw scraps in a pot, (It was only like four cups of scraps for me to make 7 cups stock) add water, bring to a simmer, and simmer as long as you can (max 45 minutes). Throw in fresh herbs in the last five minutes if you have them. Note: “veggie stock flying” is restaurant speak for “really fast”. Don’t throw veggie stock. It’s hot and it can burn someone.

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Step Five: I thought we were supposed to be cooking?

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Step Six: Oh yeah, we were cooking the whole time. It was a blast.

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Brunswick Stew, Suppers Style

Ingredients

olive or coconut oil (enough to coat pot)
1 1⁄2 pounds ground turkey (see alternatives below)
2 onions (chopped)
5 carrots (sliced)
2 parsnips (diced)
5 celery stalks (sliced)
1 small head of cabbage (shredded)
6 cups broth (using the rice will require 2 additional cups)
1 can beans (like garbanzo or cannellini)
1 cup brown rice (optional; not for carb watchers)
1 bag frozen peas (small bag)
salt, pepper, and hot sauce (to taste)

Instructions

Coat the bottom of a soup pot with oil and put on high heat. Add the meat and brown slightly on all sides. Stir in each vegetable and keep the heat on high as you add. Add the broth, beans and rice. Turn down heat to a simmer until the rice is done, then add the peas and simmer a few minutes more. Season to taste with salt, pepper and hot sauce.

Alternatives and options: You can use chunks of other meat or fowl, ground meats and even tofu, all of which would be added at the end. We have also used chopped tomatoes and Italian seasonings; a 2-inch piece of ginger minced, with ground lamb and curry spices; chopped green beans, turnips, potatoes, corn, and greens. At Suppers we regularly use small quantities of any of the following fats as long as we can get high quality, fresh versions: extra virgin olive oil, unrefined coconut oil, organic butter, and the rendered fat of healthy animals, like duck fat.