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Showing posts from October, 2011

What to Do with All those Pumpkins?

Waste not, want not. -English proverb


"I don't like pumpkin pie, but this is delicious. What is it?" Various people commenting on pie made with fresh pumpkin

Pumpkins and other squash are used so much for decoration that people seem to forget they're edible. The flesh and seeds are a little on the carby side, but the seeds are full of minerals and pumpkin flesh is full of beta carotene, vitamin C and potassium.

If pumpkin doesn't sound appetizing, you're not alone: I never considered eating it until I was in my 30s. My mother makes a gooey, sugary concoction that desecrates acorn squash and we threw out jack-o-lanterns on November 1 when I was a kid. Pumpkin pie was made from canned goop. Forget all that. These are savory recipes I think you'll love, and they don't take much hands-on time.

How to Roast a Pumpkin
If you think you don't like pumpkin, maybe it's because you've never had anything but the canned goop. Here's how to roast a fr…

Stomach Ache? Fight Fire with Fire

People seem intrigued by quirky, counterintuitive ways of eating. Here's mine: spicy food for an upset stomach.

The horse pill sized antibiotics I've been taking for my sinus infection are giving me a stomach ache of equal  proportion. The cookies and brownies my employer set out today for recruits looked tempting, but I know from bitter experience that starchy, sugary food doesn't absorb stomach acid. Back when I was on Body for Life, a few years into the program, my stomach was constantly upset. Probiotics and herbal medicines didn't help: I ended up on prescription acid blockers. Once I stopped eating six servings of carbohydrates a day, the stomach problems evaporated--as long as I followed a few rules.

1. No wheat.
2. No fruit.
3. Limited carbohydrates--around 50g per day (net).

A few months ago, I watched a friend of mine eat a breakfast of juice, yogurt and fruit (in other words, a breakfast of sugar), get a stomach ache, eat some more sugar, and get another up…

Safe Starches? Whatever

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Doris Day, on a movie plot suggested by Tony Randall: "You mean, I leave Rock Hudson for you? Forget it!"

From left: Doris Day, Rock Hudson, Tony Randall.
Have you heard about the Perfect Health Diet? It's the one where you eat a pound of safe glue starches a day--foods like potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, and some others I've never seen in a grocery store, even though I do my shopping at a few different grocery stores in a city of two million people (Denver). You also eat one-half to one pound of meat a day. There's more to it, but that's the general plot: a mostly paleolithic diet with a boatload of starch.
Some people are reacting as if someone came up with the chocolate diet. I don't see what all the fuss is about. The diet cuts out or cuts way down on most neolithic foods because they have irritants and antinutrients, but we already knew that. It encourages eating natural fats, organ meats and fibrous vegetables because they're nutritious, but we …

The Sinus Infection that Just Won't Die

Yesterday I was at a restaurant when I ran into one of my dance partners and promised to see him at the dance that night. Three hours later, I was lying in bed, sick, too tired to move, the furnace turned up to 75 degrees, regretting my promise. Even after two rounds of antibiotics, my sinus infection never really left.

At my mother's urging, I saw the doctor today. In idle conversation, my doctor described modular robots during our visit: tiny robots that regroup on their own if they're broken apart. Sounds like an apt metaphor for this sinus infection that has held on for two months through two rounds of antibiotics.

The next step: amox-clav, an antibiotic with penicillin (amox) and an extra ingredient (clav) to knock down the infection's resistance to penicillin.

As I've said before, proper diet is great for promoting good health, and I believe cutting out the megadoses of zinc has helped me. But if it's true that a lot of paleo people died of trauma and infect…

Denmark's Solution in Need of a Problem

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Have you heard that Denmark has slapped a tax on foods that are a causing a public health crisis of obesity, heart disease and diabetes? Well, not exactly a crisis--Denmark enjoys low rates of these conditions. Maybe the Danes just like to nip problems in the bud. The foods are those that contain more than 2.3% saturated fat--foods like butter and bacon, "foods you think of when you think of Denmark," according to this BBC video. In other words, traditional Danish foods, which seems to have made Danes a pretty healthy group, according to this World Health Organization table.

I have in my possession a package of one of those menaces that are suddenly making a few Danes fat and sick:

Just one ounce (think of a skimpy grilled cheese sandwich) has 6g of protein, 15% of the RDA of calcium and 8% of vitamin A. For those of us who don't run well on carbohydrates (read: sugar), it has no carbs, 10g of fat and 6g of saturated fat. For those of us whose livers don't make much …

This Just In: Real Butter is Better than Margarine

Overheard: a couple of 20-something accountants in the break room talking about margarine:

"I just put 'I Can't Believe It's Not Butter' on my toast because it's heart-healthy. Any oil that's made of vegetables has to be good for you."

"'I Can't Believe It's Not Butter'? I can believe it's not butter."

Young people making fun of fake food: this is progress. I may bring in some Organic Valley or Kerrygold butter to help end this margarine scourge at the office.

Cavity Healing Diet Six-Month Update

Back in mid-March, my last dentist told me I needed a bunch of fillings. I declined to get them, embarking on a cavity-healing diet instead. Today, I saw a new dentist--the one my best friend saw when she lived here in Colorado. Since he never gave her a filling, I assume he's not a drill-and-fill eager beaver.

The 16 x-rays he took (yes, sixteen) didn't show decay on the teeth the last dentist wanted to fill. He also said I had a good jaw and more than enough room for all my wisdom teeth--something he said he rarely sees. As he went about cleaning my teeth as if my mouth were the Sistene Chapel, he remarked that my teeth didn't seem sensitive to cold despite some roots showing. Yes, I've observed that too: my teeth are no longer sensitive to temperature or vinaigrette, as they once were. And my TMJ problems and nighttime tooth grinding unexpectedly disappeared since I started the cavity healing diet. So even though Dr. Michelangelo (not his real name) insisted that c…

Paleo/Low Carb Calamari Rings

If you love onion rings but you're avoiding wheat or watching carbs, give this a try. It's my own creation. They're a little softer and chewier than onion rings, but still tasty. I wouldn't recommend them otherwise.

2 cleaned calamari tubes, cut into rings
2 T coconut flour with a pinch of thyme, oregano, salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten
1/4 c almond flour
1/4 c olive or coconut oil
Lemon wedge

Heat the oil on medium high heat. Dredge the calamari in the coconut flour, then the egg, then the almond flour. Using tongs and oven mitts for safety, fry for a few minutes, turning frequently, until they look done. Sprinkle with lemon juice.

Edited to add: It looks like onions, gram for gram, have only a tiny bit more carb than calamari, so using onions shouldn't add add much more carbohydrate. (You could try small mushrooms, too, for *very* little carb.) It's the almond flour vs. bread crumbs and coconut flour vs. wheat flour where you'll really cut down on the carb…