Saturday, July 25, 2009

Stir-fry brown rice with seeds

I'm only allowing myself one serving of whole grains per day on the candida cleanse diet. I recently tried a recipe that was so good I'm having a hard time limiting myself to just one serving. It's called Stir-fry Brown Rice with Seeds.

2 cups of cooked brown rice, cooled
1/2 T. olive oil
4-5 green onion stalks, chopped
1 cup mixed seeds (sunflower, sesame, pumpkin)

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onions and seeds and cook until seeds are lightly browned.
Then stir in cooked, cooled rice. Stir fry all until toasty and warm. Makes a delicious side dish or even the centerpiece of breakfast.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Quinoa Salad with Roasted Green Beans and Rotation Diet Past

It seems like very long ago that I was following a rotation diet but it really has only been three months. The rotation diet worked for me for awhile but as I later found out candida ( a fungus overgrowth) was sabotaging my efforts and making me increasingly sensitive to everything, including foods, chemicals, etc.
A rotation diet can be a useful tool for someone who keeps developing new food sensitivities. The idea is to keep your body guessing by never eating the same foods more than once every four days. However, it might be a good idea to thoroughly examine why you are developing new food sensitivities before plunging into a rotation diet because yes, it's a real pain. In my case, candida was causing my body to "misfire" so to speak but there are other causes such as "leaky" gut syndrome.
I thought it would be helpful to look back at my rotation diet for anyone who is considering trying one. Let's see how well I can remember. Day 1 was amaranth or soy flour for grains/flour; chicken or tofu for meat/protein; black or pinto beans for legumes; green beans, carrots, cucumber, peppers, spinach, onions, artichokes, winter squash, sweet potatoes for veggies; tomatoes, cranberries, mango, grapes for fruit; pumpkin or sunflower seeds. Day 2 was oatmeal or buckwheat for grains; some sort of white fish or shrimp; no legumes; bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, kale for veggies; apples, cherries, nectarines, pears for fruit.
Day 3 was quinoa grains or flour; turkey for meat; peas or garbanzo beans for legumes; beets, beet greens, swiss chard, zucchini, yellow or white potatoes, celery, eggplant, lettuce, mushrooms for veggies; blueberries, kiwis, papaya, pomegranate for fruit. Day 4 was salmon for meat; brown rice for grains; no legumes; cabbage, brussel sprouts, bamboo shoots for veggies; strawberries, peaches for fruit.
It seems kind of limiting now that I can eat what I want with the exception of what I am allergic/ sensitive to. It's a much shorter list these days but still includes gluten, eggs, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts and corn. Who knows I might be able to eventually incorporate a few of these back into my diet.
For now, I have a much broader range of foods I can eat provided they are low carb. That brings me to a recipe I tried this week: Quinoa Salad with Roasted Green Beans and White Beans. It's flavorful and loaded with a ton of nutrition including protein and potassium.
1 cup quinoa, regular or red
2 cups water
2-3 cups green beans, trimmed and cut. Or you can try a bunch of asparagus.
1/4 cup olive oil
1 T. lemon juice
Salt and coarse black pepper
1 (16-ounce) can low-sodium white beans, drained and rinsed
1 roasted red bell pepper, cut into strips
1/2 cup celery, chopped
2 T. minced green onions
salad greens
2 T. chopped fresh basil
Preheat the over to 425 degrees. Cook the quinoa according to instructions. Place in a large bowl to cool. Arrange the green beans and red pepper on a sprayed baking sheet and drizzle with 1 T. olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper. Roast until tender, about 10 minutes.
In a separate bowl, combine the remaining olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Add the white beans, roasted pepper, celery, scallions, roasted green beans, chopped basil, and cooled quinoa. Toss gently to combine. Serve on a bed of salad greens.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Cole slaw, veggies and potassium

A long ride on one's bike can be difficult at best when you are on a low-carb diet. Add in hot weather that leads to copious sweating and loss of potassium, and you've got the makings of a leg spasm in the middle of the night.

This kind of painful contraction in the back of your leg that results from over exertion and loss of potassium recently awakened me from a deep sleep. It wouldn't settle down easily so I was forced to get up, walk around and massage my leg before I could return to bed and get back to sleep.

The same scenario repeated itself for several nights in a row before it dawned on me what the problem was. I wasn't consuming enough foods with potassium. But how could I up my potassium if I couldn't eat foods like bananas and other types of fruit? That's when I decided to do some research. I discovered there are tons of other foods besides bananas that are high in potassium, including lots of veggies, fish and meat. Some high potassium foods that mesh with my current low-carb diet include: Swiss chard, beet greens, spinach, tomatoes, cantaloupe, salmon, cod, turkey, soybeans, lentils and white beans.

More than half of the foods on that list are vegetables, naturally low in carbohydrates but yet high in potassium. It occurred to me that I had a potassium gold mine at my fingertips---our community garden, pictured above. Our lush veggie patch has been churning out cucumbers and zucchinis at 300 plus per week as well as beet greens and chard so far. Most of the pickings have been going to the Salvation Army to help those in need. Soon there will be cantaloupe, tomatoes and green beans, all good sources of potassium.

My potassium problems were solved. All I had to do was incorporate more of the good stuff into my cooking. I was in the mood for a fish taco with cole slaw. How could I pump up the veggies and get more potassium? I came up with my super-duper potassium cole slaw.

Super-Duper Potassium Cole Slaw
1/2 head each of green and red cabbage, chopped
3 unpeeled zucchinis shredded
2 cups broccoli slaw
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup silken tofu
salt and pepper
2 tsp. lemon juice
1-2 drops liquid stevia
4 pieces of grilled cod, rubbed with spicy rub of garlic powder, chili powder,dry cilantro, salt and pepper

Prepare the veggies for the cole slaw. Place in a large bowl. Mix up the dressing, including tofu, lemon juice, salt and pepper, stevia drops, in a measuring cup. Pour over the veggies and mix thoroughly. Place the slaw in the refrigerator to chill.

Meantime, prepare the grilled cod. Rub with your favorite spices. I like garlic powder, chili powder, dry cilantro, salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and grill under the broiler or on the barbecue.

Serve the cod on a bed of slaw (with or without a taco shell or tortilla) and soak up a bounty of good taste and potassium.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Spicy carob toasted garbanzo beans

A friend's e-mail telling me she was sick with the stomach flu filled me with dread recently because I had been sitting next to her at a two-hour-long meeting just a few days earlier. The stomach flu was something I didn't need or want as I have spent the past several months getting my stomach functioning more like a normal one.

True to form, I came down with whatever was going around about a week later. The experience gave me flashbacks to the symptoms I had experienced on a day-to-day basis prior to my discovery that I had candida, a fungal overgrowth that can affect many systems in your body, including your stomach. When my stomach was still misbehaving after a week, I began to worry that it wasn't just the flu. Maybe my improvement had all been a fluke. I even experienced depression briefly until I got my head on straight and reached for some extra probiotics to get my gut back on track. A bigger dose of probiotics (50 billion) worked like a charm.

I also discovered something important about taking probiotics. Take them on a empty stomach and you'll see better results. My health care providers had always told me it didn't make any difference if you took them with food. Make sure you have the ones coated with enteric if you are taking them on a empty stomach. Enteric prevents the capsule from being dissolved before passing into the intestines.

I did find myself craving foods with a combination of salty and sweet while my stomach was screwed up. The problem is how to get that combination when you're on a low-carb diet. I came up with a bit of solution by toasting some garbanzo beans that had been tossed in spicy mix of salt, carob, cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Here's the recipe.

Spicy Carob-Toasted Garbanzo Beans

1 can of garbanzo beans drained and rinsed (I get the kind with no added sugar. Yes, believe it or not, they even add sugar to beans.)
1 T. toasted carob powder
1/2 T. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
dash of cayene powder
pan spray


Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Toss the drained garbanzo beans in the spice mix to coat. Spread the garbanzo beans on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with pan spray. Toast the beans in the oven for about 20 minutes or longer. Turn the beans about halfway through. Remove them from the oven when they are dry and crunchy and have a nut-like texture. Allow the beans to cool and then transfer them from the pan to a storage container. For some added crunch, toss in 2 T. of toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds. This snack stores well in the refrigerator for up to a week as you nibble away at it.