Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spicy Turkey on Lettuce Leaves

I can't believe I'm eating letuce leaves like the ones pictured above. If I hadn't gone on the candida cleanse diet, this miracle would never have happened. You see I've been unable to eat raw veggies and other more difficult to digest foods for five years+ without serious digestive consequences. I've been so "abnormal" in terms of what I eat for so long, it's difficult for me accept this change. I keep waiting for some awful digestive problems to occur.

I thought if this ever happened that I would be instantly overjoyed but instead I find myself confused and not believing it's really happening. I am hesitant to eat stuff I couldn't eat before, such as raw foods. But I am venturing into this area cautiously. Psychologically, I am having difficulty accepting that I am beginning to feel well for the first time in months or even years. I am so used to being "sick," it has become part of my personna. I keep waiting for this more healthy me to end. I've gotten my hopes up so many times in the past. I know over time, I will accept the new me.

It's been three weeks since I started the candida cleanse where I eat mainly veggies and light protein, and eliminate carbs to starve out the overgrowth of yeast that has been spawning various health problems, including stomach and sinus issues. I'm getting to the point where I should start reintroducing a few carbs, such as whole grains and fruit. But I am reluctant fearing some dire consequences, like reverting back to being so sick. I plan to start gradually and monitor any increase in my symptoms. I know the whole healing process (physical and mental) is going to take time.

Here's the recipe for the Spicy Turkey on Lettuce Leaves

1 pound lean ground turkey
large lettuce leaves, such as romaine
1-2 grated zucchinis
smidge of red pepper flakes
2 cloves minced garlic
1 inch of peeled, minced ginger root
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped, fresh mint leaves
canola oil
In a large skillet, heat some oil. Add the garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes and cook until slightly soft. Add the ground turkey and salt and pepper. Cook the turkey until browned and then add the grated zucchini. Cook until heated through. Turn off the heat and toss in the mint leaves. Spoon onto large lettuce leaves to serve.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Easy falafel patties

I'm one day short of finishing up two weeks of the candida diet. I can sum up the experience so far as not as bad as I thought it would be except when you need lots of energy you'd normally get from carbs. Then it sucks. You see I'm a cyclist; spring has finally arrived; and I want to ride like the wind but instead I'm sucking pond water because of lack of energy. I guess that's why we normally eat carbs for energy. Well, there's other reasons too--like they taste yummy.

Oh well, the food isn't as bad as I thought it would be. What really amazes me is the improvement I'm seeing in my digestion. I originally went on the candida diet on the suggestion of my doctor because of chronic sinus infections. She said candida overgrowth could be contributing to my symptoms. We never even discussed how it could benefit my stomach.

I've even started eating raw veggies which I haven't done for years. And there have been no ill effects. I decided to give some spring baby greens and celery a try after my system seemed to be tolerating all the veggies and protein you are pretty much restricted to eating on the candida cleanse diet. And I've been gobbling up pumpkin and sunflower seeds like crazy with no problem. It's pretty amazing.

The sinus problem is a little more difficult. My head feels much better but I still have some congestion. But overall I've already seen improvement in how I feel. I guess that means that I need to keep sticking with this diet until those candida blobs hit the road.

Falafel patties (made from garbanzo beans) are one of my favorite foods I've been nibbling on since being on the candida low-carb diet. But you don't even have to be on a candida diet to enjoy this recipe. It's free of dairy, gluten, eggs, nuts and soy.

Falafel Patties with Tahini Sauce

Ingredients for Falafel Patties:

1 15-oz. can of garbanzo beans, drained (get the low-sodium ones)
2-3 clove minced garlic
2 T. fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. sea salt, coarse black pepper
2 T. garbanzo bean flour
1 -2 T. canola oil
pan spray

Ingredients for Tahini Sauce:

1/2 cup tahini
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 T. olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp. parsley, finely chopped

For the falafel patties, combine the garbanzo beans, garlic, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper in a food processor. Add flour and mix well into a thick paste. Form the mixture into balls, about the size of ping-pong balls, and flatten with your hands. Fry in a lightly oiled pan until golden brown. Serve falafel with tahini sauce.

To prepare the tahini sauce, combine all the ingredients in a food processor. If too thick, add a little warm water.

These are too yummy. Even my husband was grabbing them up and eating them. I had to keep him away so I'd have some left over for myself.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Grilled Salmon with Spicy Basil Sauce

I never realized how important carbs were to me until I started this candida cleanse diet I am on. Without those amazing carbs (complex are best), my energy slumps within 1 1/2-2 hours after eating a massive meal of mainly veggies with a bit of protein. I have to eat often and am wiping out the veggie supply in the fridge in no time. I miss my mangoes, papayas and kiwis as well as my morning hot cereal of gluten-free oatmeal or quinoa.

I'm on this rigorous diet of mostly veggies and protein because I probably have an overgrowth of candida in my system that could be causing my stomach as well as sinus issues. Candida is normally a beneficial fungus that co-exists in harmonious balance with good bacteria in your body. Unfortunately, being on repeated does of broad-spectrum antibiotics for sinus infections can tip the balance in favor of the candida which can be the underlying cause of many symptoms in your body. Common symptoms of candida overgrowth (also called yeast syndrome) include gastrointestinal problems, such as bloating, gas, cramps, diarrhea and constipation. It doesn't stop there affecting many other aspects of the body.

I was longing for a dinner of grilled salmon with roasted potatoes and veggies but had to pass on the potatoes. I came up with Grilled Salmon with Spicy Basil Sauce. You can tell from the picture above how hungry I was. I had to take a giant taste before serving it for dinner.


2 salmon filets (skinless or not)
1T. fresh lemon juice
1/8 cup olive oil
1/4 cup packed fresh basil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of red chili flakes

Puree everything but the salmon in a food processor. Spoon the sauce over the salmon and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for four hours or up to overnight.

Oil a grill pan (or use the broiler). Remove the salmon from the marinade and save the extra. Sprinkle the salmon with salt and coarse black pepper on both sides.

Place the salmon in the grill pan or under the broiler (or use a real grill if available). Cook for about 4-6 minutes on both sides. Brush occasionally with additional marinade.

Serve with a generous helping of veggies and salad. And if you're not me, some kind of carb, such as roasted red or Yukon gold potatoes. Of course, I'll be envious.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Quinoa Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Yeast Syndrome is something you don't want. Why? First of all, you won't be able to eat delicious goodies like the quinoa lemon poppy seed muffins pictured above. There's a good chance I may have it and won't be able to eat yummy stuff for awhile. That's why I decided to try the muffin recipe now. I wanted to sneak in one more treat before I'm sent to "food prison."
This "lovely" problem causes a variety of symptoms including stomach issues, chronic fatigue, lowered resistance to inflammation, chemical sensitivities, allergies, sweet cravings, bladder infections, depression and trouble concentrating to name a few. But just because you have these symptoms doesn't mean you have yeast syndrome. The culprit is an overgrowth of Candida, a yeast-like fungus, which normally inhabits the gut in small amounts. One of the reasons for an overgrowth is repeated use of antibiotics
On that note, I'm ready to dive into another Quinoa Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin. Here's the recipe.
Ingredients for 12 mufins:
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
1 egg replacer
4 T. lemon juice
2 tsp. lemon extract
3 T. lemon zest from a large lemon
2/3 cup sorghum flour
1/3 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 cup quinoa flakes
1/2 cup rice milk
1 tsp. gluten-free baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
4 tsp. poppy seeds
Ingredients for Lemon syrup:
4 T. lemon juice
4 T. sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together canola oil and sugar. Add the egg replacer, lemon extract and lemon juice. Blend the ingredients together. Gather the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add these into the wet ingredients with the milk. Place cupcake liners in a muffin pan and fill with batter. Bake for 16-20 minutes or until they are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
While the muffins are baking, mix together the lemon syrup and set aside. When the muffins are golden brown, remove from the oven. Puncture about six small holes in each muffin. Spoon the lemon syrup over the top of each muffin, allowing it to sink into the small holes you made. Let the muffins set for 15 minutes before removing from the muffin pan. These are delicious served with fresh raspberries on top.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sunbutter Quinoa Cookies

I love sunbutter, in fact, maybe a little too much. I have to limit how often I open the jar because once I get started there's no stopping me. It's a delicious alternative to peanut butter. Sunbutter is made from ground-up sunflower seeds and is very high in Vitamin E. I don't really miss peanut butter at all with sunbutter. The only down side is that it's a bit pricey. Oh and I forgot. The second down side is I can't quit eating it.

I'm still suffering with my sinus infection so I decided to pamper myself with some Sunbutter Quinoa Cookies. They are very tasty but unfortunately, because of my chronic sinus problems, I couldn't get the full impact of their taste or smell. However, my husband, whose nose and taste buds are fully operational, said he can smell the cookies as soon as he opens the refrigerator where I have the extras stored. And I'll have to say he's been opening the refrigerator quite often to grab a cookie. Here's the easy recipe.

Sunbutter Quinoa Cookies

Dry Ingredients:
2/3 cup sorghum flour
1/3 cup sweet rice flour (or you can use corn starch if it's okay for you)
1 cup quinoa flakes
1 tsp. gluten-free baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Wet Ingredients:
3/8 cup canola oil
3/8 cup sunbutter (I use the kind with no sugar added)
1/2 cup organic sugar
1/2 cup organic brown sugar
1/4 cup vanilla rice milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a cookie sheet with pan spray. Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl and wet ingredients in a large bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the large bowl with wet ingredrients and mix thoroughly.

Use 1-2 T. balls of dough or larger if you want bigger cookies. Roll the dough into balls and then flatten with a fork dipped in flour on a cookie sheet. Bake larger cookies for 12-15 minutes or smaller ones for 8-10 minutes or until they seem dry and slightly golden. Allow to cool thoroughly before removing from the cookie sheet because they tend to fall apart if moved too soon. Use a spatula to remove them. Enjoy! Hopefully, you don't have a cold or stuffed-up nose so you can savor every bite and taste.