Emotionally things have been a little rough for me recently. Initially I wasn’t going to mention it but I thought the tenor of my posts may have changed and I wanted you to know why. Every time someone else I know is diagnosed with cancer I take it hard. I hate this damn disease and it feels like it is all around us. This recent diagnosis has me rethinking the approach we are taking and researching if there is anything else we can do. Maybe I am over thinking things (like I have the tendency to do) but I don’t want to look back and realize there was something else we could have or should have done. *sigh*
Well, that is about all the doom and gloom I can stand so let’s get back to more pleasant things. Thanks Brandi for offering to help, I wish there was something you could do. I just need to work through the funk on my own but I appreciate your concern more than you know.
The gym won’t be open again at 6am until next Monday (January 10) which means we feel back into sleeping in because as you can see we really our both naturally night owls. ;-) I have been working out at home and Dan has been using the gym at work instead of going to our gym around the corner in the evenings.
For breakfast Dan had oatmeal with wild blueberries, cinnamon, ginger, ground flaxseeds, a pinch of stevia and walnuts.
Once Dan left for work I grabbed a quick bite mid-morning. I wasn’t hungry but I was craving something sweet and fatty which I assume means fluctuating hormones (or cancer stress) were involved. I grabbed a few frozen chocolate chips and walnuts to have with a mug of black Christmas tea with cinnamon, clove and orange. Certainly not the most nutritious thing I could eat but it is what I had. We can all cheat sometime right? ;-)
While I was reading another nutrition textbook for fun (yes I actually consider that fun as odd as it sounds) I made a pound of black beans in the pressure cooker. This was very similar to the large limas the other day but used only 1 tablespoon of oil since the books I read indicated limas and soy beans foam the most. However three people commented on the last post that they don’t use oil when they pressure cook beans and that hasn’t been a problem. I will be trying that with my next pot of beans to see if it works for me too. *fingers crossed*
I also decided to make a pot of tomato sauce with lentils and dried porcini mushrooms to use for the next few days and to possibly freeze if I have any leftovers. Given my Italian DNA there is something comforting to me about the smell of red sauce on the stove and I needed that. I will post the details of that recipe below.
My lunch was two small bowls of the butternut squash soup from last night.
For a snack I had my usual orange and two Brazil nuts. Can you tell I am in a snack rut? LOL
The tomato sauce is a simple one with lentils added for protein and texture. Dried porcinis were added to give the sauce a “meaty” flavor. I kept the spices simple so I could use the sauce in different dishes if any of it makes it to the freezer. Here is what I did:
Tomato Sauce with Lentils and Dried Porcinis
Makes 8 servings
1 large red onion, peeled and finely diced
1 head of garlic, smashed, peeled and minced or left whole (I left the cloves whole)
2 quarts of canned tomatoes (no salt) or 3-15 ounce cans of diced tomatoes and 1-15 ounce can of tomato sauce (no or low salt)
3 cups water
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 cup green lentils, sorted and rinsed
½ ounce dried porcinis
2 cups water
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons traditional balsamic vinegar (I use Napa Valley Naturals 18 year old balsamic aged in cherry which we buy by the case)
Allow the onions and garlic to stand 10 minutes before cooking. I set a timer for 10 minutes once I get them chopped or smashed and continue to add things to the pot. If you are using home canned tomatoes puree 2 cups in your blender before adding to the pot. Add the tomatoes, water and Italian seasoning and simmer for at least 30 minutes to cook the onions and garlic and get the flavor out of the dried herbs.
While the sauce is simmering combine the dried mushrooms and water and bring to a boil then remove from the heat and allow them to soak for at least 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes remove the mushrooms and chop them reasonably finely and add them to the tomato sauce pot. Use cheesecloth or a damp paper towel in a strainer to remove the sediment from the soaking liquid and add that to the sauce pot. Now add the lentils and cook until they are tender, about another 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add freshly ground black pepper and balsamic vinegar to taste.
Amount Per Serving
Calories - 192.49
Calories From Fat (4%) - 7.13
Total Fat - 0.84g
Saturated Fat - 0.1g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 19.94mg
Potassium - 847.02mg
Total Carbohydrates - 37.59g
Fiber - 13.25g
Sugar - 5.5g
Protein - 11.24g
This is a subtly flavored sauce that would work in many different days. For dinner tonight we had the sauce over farro with some fresh minced parsley on top and it was good. For breakfast on Friday I used the cold sauce as more of a salad dressing over greens and that worked too.
Dietary Guidelines We Follow:
I promised yesterday that I would share what I try to keep in mind for our food. The way we eat is a hybrid of “Eat to Live” and “The China Study” with a few ideas from my research thrown in. I would describe our diet as being a whole food plant-based diet that is moderate in fat. Here are things I try to keep in mind when making our meals:
• Obviously no meat or dairy because of the impact of IGF-1 and tumor promotion.
• Absolutely no soy protein isolates because of their impact on IGF-1 and tumor promotion. This eliminates most vegan meat and dairy substitutes. When you start reading labels you realize this garbage is everywhere in the food supply. :-p
• No sugar (this includes refined sugar, raw sugar, agave, and honey) on a regular basis. I will very occasionally use maple syrup, brown rice syrup or molasses but this is not often and not much. We will have dessert once or twice a year when we are out for special occasions like New Years Eve with friends.
• No oil in my cooking. I will make an exception for truffle oil a few times a year for flavor. I also recognize that our no oil rule is not likely to happen when we are out which means we ask for as little as possible be used and move on. We eliminated oil because it is a processed food which has been stripped of everything but fat. I would prefer that we get our fat in a whole natural form with fiber and other nutrients.
• We do eat healthy fats but consume those in the form of nuts, seeds and avocado. I try to make certain we have a small amount of fat with each meal to increase the absorption of fat soluble vitamins. Our overall fat percentage on average is between 15-20% of our total calories though I try to keep it closer to 15% when I can. Some days that is easier than others.
• As little processed food as possible. This means I don’t buy it and cook with it but if we are away from home and have no other option I will make an exception. However if it contains soy protein isolates we will not consume it. This also means no soda which is just a chemical concoction in my opinion.
• We try to eat half our produce raw and half cooked. This ends up meaning we eat mostly raw in the warm months and mostly cooked in the cold months. I need to work on that at get more raw produce into our diet when it is cold outside.
• Speaking of produce I always wash all of our produce very well, include fruit with peels that will be removed and salad greens. Raw food can contain pathogens which are very important to remove particularly if anyone in your house has a depressed immune system (young children, the elderly or those with cancer).
• Beans are something we eat nearly every day. I think we consume a minimum of a cup of beans per day. I cook them a pound at a time and keep them in the refrigerator to add to salads and other dishes.
• One tablespoon of ground flaxseed is included at breakfast in our smoothies or oatmeal. When I don’t have either of those for breakfast I add the ground flaxseeds to my salad or soup.
• White and green tea is something we drink every day. I always add approximately 1/8 teaspoon of powdered ascorbate C to the tea to enhance the absorption of the EGCG in the tea. In the summer I cold brew the tea and the winter we drink it hot. Overall we try to consume at least 6 cups of tea per day.
• Two Brazil nuts are included in our snack or smoothies everyday for the selenium.
• Raw kale is added to our green smoothies or strawberry banana soft serve at least 5 days a week, usually more often. I prefer to add the kale raw since it is more nutritious when raw or lightly cooked.
• Salad is something else we try to eat every day. This is much easier for us in the summer for some reason. I need to work on that one at our house.
• I try to make Indian food once a week for the opportunity to add turmeric to our diet because it has been shown to kill cancer. Whenever I used turmeric I always add a generous serving of black pepper since the piperine in the black pepper makes the curcumin in the turmeric more bioavailable.
• Speaking of spices I add cinnamon, powdered ginger, fresh ginger, and other herbs and spices liberally because of their antioxidant content. Not only do they make food interesting but they add nutrition.
• Since broccoli and tomatoes when consumed together increase the absorption of the antioxidants in each other I try to have those in the same meal if not the same dish.
• Now that I know mushrooms boost the immune system they are something we try to eat every day. It is much easier to add a few to a dish than I have expected. They seem to go with almost everything so far. ;-)
• We don’t drink fruit juice as a beverage since it an unnecessary addition of sugar for us. I will cook with a small amount of fruit juice or will use an apple in our green juice but that is it. If we are thirsty we have white tea, green tea, barley tea or water.
• I try to minimize our exposure to BPA. I do this by getting rid of all our plastic containers, no letting food come into direct contact with plastic wrap, not buying bottled water unless absolutely necessary, and minimizing our use of canned food. I also use waxed paper to top the food in Dan’s glass lunch containers which have a plastic snap lid to keep the food away from the lid (this is a just in case notion). I am not militant about this one since the risk factors are higher for women of child bearing age and young children but I wanted to mention it for those that are.
I am sure I have left a few things out but this is what has come to mind at the moment. Sorry I was a little distracted today.
Given our recent bad news it is probably more important to come up with happy thoughts than usual. I had a little difficulty coming up with them today but here are my happy thoughts now:
• My knee still seems to be improving. I have no pain and feel like I could probably push it but I know that rest is important so I am trying to behave myself and so far it is working. It has been helpful to distract myself with nutrition textbook. At least I am learning while I am somewhat sidelined. ;-)
• With all the “cancer” around me I am very thankful that my husband is open minded and willing to try approaches that most Americans consider unthinkable. I completely believe that a well nourished, maintained and rested body must be better able to fight all disease including cancer.
• I am very thankful that it is the weekend which means more quality time with my hubby. I love my weekends with Dan. :-)
• Dan had jury duty today and was dismissed before he was called for a trial. This is a very good thing since he has gotten busy at work again and jury duty would have resulted in more hours at the office to make up for the lost time at jury duty.
• Additionally I am very thankful for the kindness of people on the internet. Specifically I am thinking of the comments I got that you don’t need to use oil when pressure cooking beans. That was great to hear since I don’t cook with oil and I hadn’t seen it anywhere until your comments.
• The snow we got overnight (Thursday into Friday) was nothing but a dusting which meant no traffic snarls today which is always welcome when you leave in an area where people panic when it snows.
Woo hoo; it is time to start the weekend. There is nothing like two days with Dan to make me happy. I have no idea what we will be doing this weekend but whatever it is I am sure I will enjoy it. I hope you have a wonderful weekend too. I will talk to you again tomorrow.