Amaranth Oatmeal (Gluten Free) Bread

Okay, I still like bread, even though it’s gluten-free.  And, bread isn’t exactly ‘allowed’ on the Fuhrman diet, but it does allow a starch serving a day, so today I really wanted bread.  And, if I’m going to eat bread, I may as well make it semi-healthy bread.  This is not a vegan bread.  I’m still working on a gluten-free bread that will still taste like bread if I don’t use eggs.  Yes, I know that flax seeds can be soaked and used as an egg substitute, but it still gives a very heavy texture to bread.  So, I’m working on the egg replacement thing.  This is a really tasty bread.  I love teff flour – it’s like a really nice wheat flour in terms of taste.  The amaranth is a new grain to me, something else I’m experimenting with.  It’s a high protein ‘grain’.  I believe it’s actually a relative of spinach and chard.  You don’t have to toast it to use it in the bread, but it has a nutty flavor if you do toast it.  It’s easy to toast:  you just put the amaranth in a deep saucepan and toast on medium high heat for 5-10 minutes, until the amaranth smells aromatic and starts to pop open.  Just stir it around or shake the pan a bit so it doesn’t burn.  This is now my new favorite bread.  Give it a try.  I hope you like it.Gluten Free Amaranth Oatmeal Bread

Gluten Free Amaranth Oatmeal Bread

Ingredients:

1 ½ C. Warm Water

2 T. Honey

⅔ C. Dry Milk

1 t. Salt

3 T. Olive Oil

1 t. Vinegar

1 T. Yeast

3 Eggs

½ C. Oat Flour

½ C. Brown Rice Flour

½ C. Teff Flour

½ C. Garbanzo Flour

¼ C. Millet Flour

¼ C. Almond Flour

½ Cup Whole Oats

¼ Cup Amaranth

1 T. Arrowroot Starch

1 T. Tapioca Starch

1 ½ t. Xanthan Gum

Directions:

Thoroughly grease a large loaf pan, making sure to grease the top lip of the pan as well.  In a large mixing bowl, combine warm water, honey dry milk, salt, oil, vinegar, eggs, and yeast.  Let the yeast proof for about 5 minutes, until bubbly.  In a deep saucepan, toast the amaranth on medium high heat until fragrant, about 10 minutes.  Shake the pan to move it so it won’t burn.  Combine the amaranth and the remaining ingredients into a medium-sized mixing bowl and mix well.  Put the dry ingredients into the yeast mixture and mix thoroughly for about 3 minutes.  The dough should be the texture of a loose cookie dough.

Transfer mixture to a greased bread pan and smooth out with wet fingers.  Baking hint:  gluten-free flours don’t spread the way wheat flour does, so whatever shape you want your loaf to be, make sure you shape it that way.  Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until double, about one hour.  While bread is rising, preheat oven to 375º.  Bake in preheated oven for about 50 minutes.  Let cool before slicing.

Terrific Turmeric

In my never-ending quest to find something to ease my joint pains, I started using turmeric.  I don’t have anything to report yet because I just started last night.  I tend to have a lot of upper body pain:  shoulders, elbows, hands and wrists.  It usually makes me really tired when I’m achy and it makes playing the flute and guitar difficult.  Right now I’m achy.  It usually happens this time of year.  I’m not as bad as I have been for the past few years, but it’s still annoying.  On one hand, I would give anything to stop the achiness.  On the other hand, I don’t want to be connected to a bottle of medicine.  I’ve been doing yoga and at night time, I do 30 minutes of stretching (which, by the way, has the added benefit of making me sleep like a baby).  It helps if I get a good night’s sleep, but it’s hard to get a good night’s sleep if I’m achy.  arg!  It’s sometimes frustrating.  So, hence my experiment with turmeric.Turmeric

Turmeric reportedly has many benefits.  Holistic health practitioners use turmeric to clear infections and reduce inflammation.  hmmm…reduce inflammation.  That’s like whispering sweet nothings in my ear.  Turmeric also contains antioxidants.  The National Cancer Institute reports that UCLA did a study on turmeric and they found that it has a component, curcumin, that blocks the enzyme that promotes the growth of head and neck cancers.  Not that that has a lot to do with me, but I thought it was pretty cool anyway.  Also, turmeric is a very potent anti-inflammatory.

Since I like curry/Indian type of flavors, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to try using turmeric more.  This morning, I had a teaspoon of it in my breakfast smoothie (I didn’t actually taste the turmeric at all because I had cinnamon in it as well and that’s all I tasted).  For lunch, I made humus and added turmeric to it.  This was very tasty.  Here’s the recipe:Red Pepper Hummus

Sweet Pepper humus:

1 Can Chick Peas, drained and rinsed

1 Sweet Red Bell Pepper, chopped

Juice of 1/2 of a lemon

2 Tablespoons Tahini

2 Cloves Garlic

1 Teaspoon Turmeric

Small handful of parsley

Pinch Cayenne, to taste

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Directions: Throw everything in the food processor and process until desired consistency.  I wanted mine to be smooth, so I didn’t bother chopping the pepper first and just threw everything in.  If you want it a little chunky, chop the pepper first so it takes less processing to mix everything.  Serve as a veggie dip, which is what I did for lunch, or spread on a sandwich or crackers.

I could eat this a lot:  just the right bite to it and satisfying at the same time.

Oh, yeah, and last night I made a night-time milk with hemp milk, turmeric, cinnamon, and little bit of honey.  It was tasty and calming.  So I’ll give a report on how the whole turmeric thing shakes out, if I see any results.

Until tomorrow…

The Economics of Eating Healthy

So, an update on the Fuhrman diet.  He really does have the right formula, at least for my body.  Last week, I was really sick of salads at every meal, and beans, and salad dressings.  I stayed on the vegan, whole foods type of diet and I lost only 1 pound.  So, the total lost so far is 16 pounds, still going in the right direction.  But I think that the addition of the salad and beans is really a good fat mover, so I’m back on the salad and beans this week.  I also made another one of the Fuhrman dressings:  his healthy thousand island dressing.  I really like the Dijon date dressings, but I think one of the reasons that I got sick of salads is because it’s a very intense taste.  I’m a salad lover, but it was just too much twice a day with the nut dressings.  Anyway, back on track with the two salads a day and we’ll see how the scale moves this week.  The healthy thousand island dressing is not as intense, so it’s a good break from the other dressings.  It has cucumber in it, which mellows the taste.  And it tastes really fresh too.

Now on to the economics of eating healthy:  it’s expensive.  I know that you can’t put a price on health and having something, like cancer or some other chronic disease, is a lot more expensive than eating healthy.  But, it’s very costly and if you don’t have the money, you just don’t have it.  I’m learning to be more frugal in how I prepare dishes.  Also, things like kale and cabbages can really stretch a dish and bring down the overall cost.  I limit the organic produce I buy to the “dirty dozen.”  This is a list of produce put out by a group called the Environmental Working Group that ranks produce according to pesticide residue.  They say that you can reduce your exposure to pesticides by 80% if you buy organic produce according to their list.  Here’s the list (by the way, I found this pretty picture on fullcircle.com):

dirty-dozenIn brief, the ones with the most pesticides are apples, celery, sweet bell peppers, peaches, strawberries, nectarines, grapes, spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, blueberries, potatoes, and they added green beans and kale to the list (but still kept it at ‘the dirty dozen’ because that just sounds a lot cooler).  If you have to pick and choose, like I do, try to buy these organic.  The produce that is lower in pesticide residue are these:  onions, sweet corn, pineapple, avocado, cabbage, sweet peas, asparagus, mangoes, eggplant, kiwi, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, grapefruit and watermelon.  Also, if you go by what Dr. Weil would say about eating produce, you should peel all of your fruits and vegetables when possible because that’s where most of the pesticides are concentrated.

Today, I was reading about a girl who did this experiment with fruit flies and organic produce, trying to determine if organic is better.  Now, granted we’re not fruit flies and our bodies seem to be more resilient than your average fruit fly, but her findings were pretty interesting.  Here’s the link to the article:  http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/17/is-organic-better-ask-a-fruit-fly/?smid=fb-nytimes&WT.z_sma=HL_IOB_20130418

Basically, the fruit flies that lived on organic produce had longer life spans and reproduced more prolifically than the fruit flies living on non-organic produce.  Like I said, we’re not fruit flies, but it’s interesting anyway.

The moral of my story:  it definitely doesn’t hurt to go organic.  If you can’t afford to go completely organic, try just buying the important ones organic.

Until tomorrow….

The Benefits of Hemp

Okay, it’s official:  I’m breaking out my Birkenstocks and I’m going to buy back my ’68 Bug.  Today I started putting hemp seed in my breakfast smoothie.  Apparently, this is, like, the best seed you could possibly eat, man.  Okay, enough hippie talk.  I bought a bag of this on a whim, just because I read the nutritional value on the back of the package.  Now that I’m looking it up on the internet, it’s a pretty impressive little seed.  Like flax-seed, it contains all nine of the essential amino acids that your body needs.  It has a good balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats, which I’m finding out is important in your diet (but that’s for another post).  It’s a better protein than soy because it doesn’t contain phytic acid, which can prohibit the absorption of vitamins and minerals.  Oh, and this is my ‘you got me at hello’ moment:  it strengthens your immune system.  That’s a biggie for me because I used to be sick all of the time.  If there was a cold within a mile of me, I would catch it and have it for weeks.  Since I went gluten  free, I don’t seem to have that problem, but I’m still always conscious of keeping my immune system strong.  So, “What do you do with hemp seed?” you ask.  Well, I’m not sure yet. It’s a very soft seed with a taste similar to sesame seeds.  I’m going to look into hemp milk and hemp oil as well, even though right now I’m not adding extra oil to anything that I cook.  This morning I put it in my smoothie and couldn’t really taste the difference and I had it on my salad, but I used a nut based salad dressing on it, so I didn’t notice any sort of out of the ordinary nutty taste.  I will definitely be looking into other ways to use it, though.  Here’s my breakfast smoothie for today:

1 1/2 Cups Kale

1 1/2 Cups Coconut Water

2 Cups of a frozen mango, raspberry, blueberry, strawberry mix (no sugar – organic)

1 Banana

2 Tbsp. Hemp Seed

1 Tbsp. Flax Seed

Mix everything really well (I usually mix my smoothies until the kale is unrecognizable).Hemp Shake

Update – Eat to Live, Start of Week 3

Well, so far I’ve lost about 15 pounds.  I have to give God the glory for that.  When I started this diet, I prayed for wisdom on how and what to eat, and how much to exercise.  I’m still having a foot problem in my left foot that makes it hard to do much, so I can’t say that it’s by my own power that I’m losing the weight.  I’m actually surprised at how much protein I’ve been getting.  I wondered, maybe even worried a bit, that I wasn’t getting enough protein, but I took a day and entered everything I ate on myfitnesspal and I was very surprised that I actually got plenty of protein and stayed pretty low in fat, despite the amount of nuts I was eating with all the dressings I use and the nuts I add to recipes.

Okay, I have to admit that I used to think of vegans as being ‘way out there.’  What I’m doing now is good, though.  I highly recommend this way of eating to anyone out there.  And, I have to tell that doubter, that feels like they have to eat meat to get the protein to build muscle, that you don’t need it.  Back in the day when I was a vegetarian, I did eat dairy and eggs as well, mainly because I didn’t know you could possibly get enough protein from plant products.  One of Dr. Fuhrman’s philosophies is that what you eat should be nutrient dense:  nuts, dark greens, legumes.  When you think all the way back to the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were originally created to eat the plants.  Genesis 2:9 says, “And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”  It was only after they were cursed that they were told to kill animals for meat (“cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;” – Genesis 3:17B).  Haha – I guess you could say that eating animals causes sorrow, ya know, with the killing and all of that.  Now, don’t get me wrong:  I don’t value the life of an animal over the life of a human.  I’m just saying that biblically, we were made to eat a diet based on plants more than animals and I think we’ve skewed that concept in our diet a bit.  Even in Old Testament times, killing the fatted calf was a once in a while sort of deal, not an everyday sort of deal.  Their diet was primarily plants and grains, and very little animal products (the examples of Daniel and Ezekiel are two that come to mind).  That being said, I’m totally on board with this.  You can’t discount the effects it’s had on me so far.  I haven’t been able to lose weight in about 12 years, since my second child was born.  I was constantly counting calories and never losing weight.  I tried lower calories, higher calories, low-fat, high fiber, high protein.  Nothing worked. Now, I’m losing weight and I’m feeling great.  I never feel hungry.  I haven’t been counting calories or anything.  It’s really quite amazing.

Here’s the run-down for yesterday and today:

Breakfast:  raspberry and kale smoothie yesterday and a mango/raspberry and kale smoothie today.

Lunch: Leftover vegan chili and salad yesterday

Dinner:  I made a recipe from my health book yesterday.  Here it is:

Crockpot Curry Veggies

Ingredients:Crockpot Vegetable Curry

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

4 Medium Carrots, sliced

1 Medium Onion, chopped

4 Garlic Cloves, minced

2 Tablespoons Curry Powder

½ Teaspoon Turmeric

5 Red Potatoes, cut in chunks

2 Cans Chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1, 28 Ounce Can Chopped Tomatoes, not drained

1, 14 ½ oz. Can Vegetable Stock

2 Tbsp. Salt Free Seasoning

8 Ounces Frozen Petite Green Peas

1 Can Light Coconut Milk

Directions: 

In a skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat.  Add the carrots and onion and sauté until onion is translucent.  Add the garlic, curry powder, and turmeric and cook 2 minutes more until the spices are slightly toasted.  Transfer vegetable mixture to the slow cooker.  Add the potatoes, chickpeas, tomatoes, stock, and seasoning.  Cook on low for about 5 hours.  Add the coconut milk and peas and cook 30 minutes more.

I’m a curry fan, so I really enjoyed this.  It is super filling, but it was actually a good meal for a spring evening.  It’s kind of light but still comforting type food.

Yesterday, my daughter and I walked about 3 miles as exercise.  Today, I’m going to walk about 3 miles and do an hour of yoga (I’m really loving yoga).  I’ve been having a lot of upper body aches and pains lately, but that’s pretty common for this time of year for some reason.  The chiropractor helped a bit yesterday, but I’m still getting some burning in my shoulders.  It seems to be fairly seasonal – in the fall and spring – so it may be related to allergies, I don’t know.  I’m hoping that if I stay the course, a lot of the aches and pains will go away.  I know my body is functioning better all over, so that may come in time.

Until tomorrow…..

Vegan Gluten Free Zucchini Brownies

This is a repost from my searchingforglutenfree.wordpress.com blog.  This isn’t exactly a Fuhrman friendly recipe – it does have a bit of oil in the recipe.  But, they have veggies and they are vegan, so they do slightly fit in with the diet.  If nothing else, they will be okay for a snack on cheat day (even though today wasn’t my cheat day, I had one).

 Some of you out there are saying, “You took out the gluten and you took out animal products – what’s left?” Trust me; these are really good. They don’t quite have that chewy texture of brownies, but the taste is awesome. I’m writing a health book for homeschoolers. It’s a book for 4th through 9th graders, with age appropriate activities in each chapter. It’s meant to be used as a cross-age lesson book. I’m writing it out of necessity, because I love to teach my kids together as much as possible. Okay, yes it saves time, but really I just enjoy having the kids working together as much as they can. They are competitive, so they work better when they’re all together. Anyway, at the end of each chapter, I have one or two recipes that go with the lesson for the week. They’re not all gluten free recipes, but I do add ways to make them gluten free. This is a recipe I came up with for the Fruits and Vegetables chapter. I really love these brownies. They’re fairly low in fat, very tasty and they have a pretty nice texture as well. It’s more of a cake-like texture, but they’re so flavorful, you can forgive the fact that they aren’t like ‘regular’ brownies. AND, I snuck in some veggies into the recipe. My kids made them today and reluctantly tried them and now half of the pan is gone. I hope your family loves them this much. Gluten Free Zucchini Brownies

Gluten Free Zucchini Brownies

Ingredients:

1 Cup Brown Rice Flour

½ Cup Sorghum Flour

½ Cup White Rice Flour

1 Teaspoon Xanthan Gum

1 Teaspoon Salt

¼ Teaspoon Baking Soda

½ Cup Cocoa

1 Teaspoon Almond Extract

¼ Cup Canola Oil

¼ Cup Unsweetened Applesauce

1 ¼ Cup Maple Syrup

2 Cups Grated Zucchini

Directions:

Preheat oven to . Prepare a 8×8 baking pan by spraying it with cooking spray. Whisk together the dry ingredients. Add vanilla, oil, and maple syrup and mix well. Stir in the zucchini. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool before cutting. Makes 24 brownies

Vegan Curry Dressing

I really like these, what I call, Fuhrman friendly salad dressings.  I got adventurous the other night and tried making my own dressing.  If you leave out the almond milk, you can use it as a dip for veggies, or leave it in for dressing consistency.  I really liked this dressing.  Of course, I’m a huge curry fan, so it may not be for everyone, but I like it.   I hope you do to.Curry Ranch Dressing 2

Ingredients:

½ Cup Cashew Butter

½ Cup Water

¼ Cup Almond Milk

1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice

1 ½ Tsp. Spike Seasoning

1 Tsp. Curry

¼ Tsp. Celery Seed

¼ Tsp. Dry Dill Weed

½ Medjool Date, pitted and chopped

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a food processor and puree until completely smooth, about 2 minutes.