Sunday, November 25, 2012

Chocolate (Carob ) cake batter green smoothie

Chocolate cake batter green smoothie
I just finished reading the book, From Fatigued to Fantastic by Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. It has been a real eye opener for me as someone who has battled chronic pain for years. The book covers everything you need to know before seeing your health-care provider about chronic fatigue syndrome  (CFS) or fibromyalgia (FMS).

No, fibromyalgia is not just in your head and is much more than sensitive trigger points in your body. It affects more than six million Americans and causes more disability than rheumatoid arthritis. It can often be triggered by a long-term infection as with candida. FMS patients often have to be treated for candida along with multiple other disorders.

Nutrition is important for FMS sufferers. The anti-candida diet seems to have been written with us in mind. Unfortunately, I fell off the strict ACD diet wagon because I had been less troubled by most of my symptoms for so long. I opted for more and more carbohydrates that weren't low glycemic or at least not enough for me.

As such, my chronic pain increased; my sinusitis returned; and my stomach troubles began again. It's a little late but I seem to remember saying I needed to stay on a low-glycemic diet for life.

The Best Green Smoothie Ever
These days I'm using only stevia for my sweetener. Even coconut sugar and coconut nectar are too glycemic fo rme. I did make the Chocolate (or Carob) Cake Batter Green Smoothie, pictured above, but it has no sweetener other than stevia. It does contain chocolate which can be eaten occasionally for its antioxidant value. Note: Use carob for this recipe if you are ACD-phase 1. I have  eliminated chocolate from my diet and replaced it with carob until I am finished with the first month of ACD-phase 1.

Chocolate (Carob) Cake Batter Green Smoothie

2 T. raw cacao
1/2-1 cup coconut milk (unsweetened) or other non-dairy beverage
1/2 cup sweet potato puree
1/2 small avocado
1 handful spinach
stevia to taste
1 scoop SunWarrior vanilla protein powder
1 T. chia or flax
Optional: 2 T. quinoa flakes or oatmeal (Note: Avoid if doing ACD-phase 1)

Blend everything in food processor until thick and creamy. Add a dollop of coconut cream to make this extra special.

The Best Green Smoothie Ever

1/2 cucumber or zucchini
1 handful spinach
2 stalks celery
1/2 granny smith apple
1/2 cup coconut water
juice of one lemon
stevia to taste
6+ ice cubes
1 scoop SunWarrior vanilla protein powder
1 T. chia or flax

Blend everything in food processor until thick and creamy.

"Maybe Mom will share some of her smoothies. They're yummy!"

Recipes contributed to:

Friday, November 16, 2012

Vegan Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies and Smoothies too!

Vegan coconut chocolate chip cookies

Each year my husband and I are invited to give a wellness presentation to a self-care class for graduate students in social work. A friend of our's is the professor.

Like many people, the students in the class are overwhelmed by grad school, work and family responsibilities. We try to show them "bite-sized" ways to incorporate better eating, exercise, meditation. My favorite suggestion and one I employ frequently is doing a little focused breathing while standing in line. Nobody is really paying attention anyway so why not?

We like to introduce them to a few healthy-eating recipes. Sometimes that works; sometimes not. This year I thought why not make something I can eat. If they don't eat it, I will. I was blown away. The vegan, low-glycemic cookies containing avocado and banana were a hit. They gobbled them up; asked if they were paleo; and wanted the recipe. I didn't have to worry about finishing any of them up. They also wanted the recipe for the Artichoke Hummus we served with veggies.

Vegan Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies
(recipe adapted from
Makes about 18 cookies.

1 cup coconut flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. sea salt
2 ripe bananas
1/4 ripe avocado
1 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
2 T. agave syrup or honey
1 T. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 chia eggs (mix 2 T. chia seed with 3 T. water and allow to set for 10 minutes to gel) Note: the original recipe contained two eggs.
1/4 cup shredded coconut
2/3 cup chocolate chips (Enjoy Life dairy-free kind) or cacao nibs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a food processor, combine bananas, avocado, almond milk, apple cider vinegar, vanilla, chia eggs or regular eggs and pulse to blend. Next add coconut flour, baking soda and powder, salt and continue blending. Finally, add chocolate chips and coconut and only pulse enough to blend in.

Spoon out about 2 T. of dough per cookie onto a baking sheet, sprayed with pan spray. Flatten slightly to form cookie shapes.

Bake cookies for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Artichoke Hummus recipe
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 can artichoke pieces packed in water, drained
2 T. tahini
Juice of one lemon
Salt to taste

Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth and creamy.

Apple pumpkin pudding smoothie
In my continued struggles with fibromyalgia, I am finding that eating certain foods causes my muscle pains to worsen. For now, I am sticking with the anti-candida diet for the most part. The result is I am feeling better as I whip up plenty of green smoothies like Apple Pumpkin Pudding Smoothie and Persimmon Green Smoothie.

Apple Pumpkin Pudding Smoothie
(makes 1 serving)

1 sweet apple (gala or honeycrisp)
1 cup non-dairy beverage (hemp, coconut, almond)
1 cup pumpkin puree (canned or homemade)
1 cup of kale
stevia to taste
1 T. chia
1 T. seed or nut butter
Optional: 1 T. vegan rice protein powder
Pumpkin and/or hemp seeds for topping

Blend everything in a food processor or blender. Top with seeds if desired. Drink a great glass of nutrition.

Persimmon Green Smoothie
Persimmons continue to be in season. They are so delicious they can turn a green smoothie into a dessert (well, almost).

Persimmon Green Smoothie
(makes 1 serving)

1 persimmon with stem removed
1 cup of spinach
1 cup of kale
1 cup of non-dairy milk
1 cup ice
stevia to taste
1 T. chia seed
1 T. nut or seed butter of choice
hemp seeds or 1 T. of vegan rice protein

Blend everything in your food processor or blender and enjoy!

Update: I tried this smoothie again this a.m. and added 1/2 cup of frozen strawberries. Even yummier!

Wake us when the food is ready.

Recipes contributed to:

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Spaghetti squash pumpkin pie brownie cupcakes

Frosted Spaghetti squash pumpkin pie brownie cupcakes
Eat more magnesium-rich foods. That's my new mantra. Magnesium helps combat the muscle soreness of fibromyalgia syndrome. Researchers say that most people with FMS are deficient in magnesium. Recently, my health problems took a new turn with the realization that my on-going muscle pain and other symptoms are fibromyalgia-like.

What exactly is fibromyalgia?
I most often hear fibromyalgia described as chronic widespread pain but it is much more. The
symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
  • Chronic muscle pain, muscle spasms or tightness
  • Moderate or severe fatigue and decreased energy
  • Insomnia or waking up feeling just as tired as when you went to sleep
  • Stiffness upon waking or after staying in one position for too long
  • Difficulty remembering, concentrating, and performing simple mental tasks ("fibro fog")
  • Abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, and constipation alternating with diarrhea (irritable bowel syndrome)
  • Tension or migraine headaches
  • Jaw and facial tenderness
  • Sensitivity to one or more of the following: odors, noise, bright lights, medications, certain foods, and cold
  • Feeling anxious or depressed
  • Numbness or tingling in the face, arms, hands, legs, or feet
  • Increase in urinary urgency or frequency (irritable bladder)
  • Reduced tolerance for exercise and muscle pain after exercise
  • A feeling of swelling (without actual swelling) in the hands and feet
What are some good magnesium sources?
  • Pumpkin seeds: 180 cals per serving; 47.7 percent of daily value
  • Spinach: 41 calories; 39.1 percent
  • Swiss Chard: 35 calories; 37.6 percent
  • Soybeans: 298 calories; 36.9 percent
  • Sesame seeds: 206 calories; 31.5 percent
  • Halibut: 159 calories; 30.3 percent
  • Black beans: 227 calories; 30.1 percent
  • Sunflower seeds: 204 calories: 28.4 percent
  • Cashews: 189 calories; 25 percent
  • Almonds: 206 calories; 24.6 percent

What else do I need to be doing?

Magnesium is just the beginning. I am trying it to see how it benefits me. There is much more I have to learn but the idea behind using supplements is to boost levels of certain substances in your body that may reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
"Eat more magnesium-rich foods, Mom. Or have breakfast in bed like me."
I am eating more foods rich in magnesium but for some reason I also am craving squash. It must be my huge pile of spaghetti squash, etc., staring me in the face. Spaghetti squash actually makes a great puree to add to recipes much like pumpkin. I tried it in some cupcakes that normally use pumpkin. The result was a delicious gooey cupcake that gets better even after you leave it in the fridge for a few days.

Spaghetti Squash Pumpkin Pie Brownie Cupcakes
(suitable for ACD-maintenance)

For the brownie layer

3/4 cup cacao powder
3 T. coconut oil
1 1/2 cups pureed spaghetti squash (or pumpkin)
1/4 cup coconut sugar + stevia to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup hemp, almond or coconut milk (unsweetened)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup amaranth flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 chia egg

For the pumpkin pie layer

1/3 cup millet flour
1/3 cup amaranth flour
2 T. flax
2 T. chia seed
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 T. coconut nectar
3/4-1 cup spaghetti squash (or pumpkin) puree
1/4 cup coconut oil
2/4 T. coconut milk

Frosted and unfrosted versions

For the pumpkin spice frosting

2 T. sunbutter
1/2 cup pumpkin or spaghetti squash puree
1/2 cup white kidney beans
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 T. coconut nectar
2 T. coconut oil (melted)
1 T. coconut sugar + stevia to taste

For the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray or line cupcake pan with cupcake wrappers. First make the brownie layer. Place the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix together. Then add wet ingredients. Batter will be slightly thick. Fill cupcake sections 1/2 full with brownie layer or make some full brownie.

Second make the "pumpkin pie" layer. Repeat as with brownie layer by mixing dry ingredients and then adding wet ingredients. Top cupcake section with squash layer or make some full spaghetti squash sections.

This recipe makes enough for 18 medium cupcakes. Place the cupcake pans in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes. A toothpick should come out fairly clean. Note: These cupcakes will be moist and somewhat gooey. (Yum)

Optional frosting: While the cupcakes are cooking, make the frosting. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.

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Monday, November 5, 2012

Persimmon blueberry parfait

"Big Herbie"
Meet "Big Herbie," our family's hippie van, all restored and looking like a new man. Yes, Big Herbie recently got a makeover. He was looking pretty dismal but it was nothing that a few months of body work and a shiny new paint job couldn't fix.

Big Herbie, a 1978 VW van, has been part of our family for 30+ years. We named him after Herbie, a 1963 VW bug that was featured in a number of Disney movies. Herbie, the movie star VW, had a mind of his own and was capable of driving himself. Our Big Herbie may not be a movie star but he has stories all his own.

Herbie look-a-likes
Big Herbie always has had a way of making friends. Fellow VW van owners and others flash us the peace sign wherever we go. Folks we've never met before want to talk to us about Big Herbie.

VW vans always have had an iconic image but apparently that was lost on my daughter when she was in junior high. She was already embarassed to be seen in Big Herbie because her friends' parents were driving luxury cars. We "forced" her to go on a camping trip that took us through Sun Valley where all the cool, rich folks hung out (major embarassment to be seen in Big Herbie). Imagine her surprise when those cool, rich folks wanted to have their pictures taken with Big Herbie. After that, Big Herbie was cool again.

These days we're writing new chapters in the Book of Big Herbie. My husband, a former high school counselor turned mobile bike repairman, uses Big Herbie as his business vehicle. Yes, people still want to have their pictures taken with Big Herbie, and he's still a conversation opener. But now, sometimes people even want to buy him. No way. He's part of our family for good.

Persimmon-blueberry parfait

Candida is something not so pleasant that seems to be part of my life for good. Just when I think I have it under control, it rears its ugly head again. For the past few years, I have been struggling with chronic pain that just won't go away. I thought it was caused by injuries from years of cycling and running.

Alas, it's fibromyalgia. What causes fibromyalgia is not totally understood. One of the theories is it could be the result of stress, illness, trauma or even an infection, like candida. Whatever the cause, I  am searching for ways to deal with this chronic problem.

Healthy eating continues to be No. 1 on my list. Recently, I rediscovered persimmons after many years without eating one. The persimmon is a fruit of Chinese origin. Originally cultivated in both Japan and China for centuries, this fruit is now grown in Italy and other Mediterranean countries, the Middle East and the USA.

According to the California Department of Public Health, one medium-sized Japanese persimmon provides 118 calories, 0 g of fat, 1 g of protein, 31 g of carbohydrates, 6 g of dietary fiber and 2 mg of sodium. This fruit is rich in vitamins A and C. One fruit provides 2,733 International Units, or 55 percent, of the recommended daily value (DV) for vitamin A and 12.8 mg, or 21 percent, of the DV for vitamin C. Japanese persimmons are also high in manganese, a trace mineral, meeting 30 percent of the DV in one whole fruit.

Persimmon Blueberry Parfait packs lots of nutrition
Along with all this nutrition, persimmons are unbelievably delicious. I tried them out for breakfast in a Persimmon Blueberry Parfait.

1 ripe persimmon
1/2 frozen ripe pear ( or banana if tolerated)
1 T. chia seed
1 T. vegan protein powder of choice
stevia to taste
1 cup light coconut milk
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
2 T. quinoa flakes
1-2 T. dried coconut flakes (unsweetened)

Remove the stem from the persimmon and chop the fruit into chunks. Toss items 1-6 (everything but the blueberries, coconut flakes and quinoa flakes) into a food processor and blend until smooth. To assemble your parfait, layer persimmon pudding with blueberries, quinoa flakes and coconut flakes in a glass container. Finish with coconut flakes and more blueberries.

Can I have a persimmon parfait too?

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