Friday, April 24, 2009

Garbanzo Bean Flour Flatbread

I can't believe it! Someone yesterday told me I had a healthy glow. It truly made my day since I haven't looked healthy in months. She wondered what kind of face lotion I was using to give me such a healthy-looking complexion. I said it was the same one I'd been using for the past year. In other words, the healthy glow was all me.

I'd say the candida cleanse and positive thinking have made a world of difference. That's not to say I can just sit back and say, "All right, I'm cured." I'm still avoiding foods that cause symptoms and limiting carbohydrates and fermented foods (such as vinegar, cooking wines, things with added alcohol). A typical eating day for me still involves no dairy, no gluten, no eggs and no nuts. But before, I eliminated a whole slew of other foods as well (peppers, soy, chocolate, raw vegggies and fruits). Now, I can eat many raw veggies, including spring greens. Fruit is limited to one serving a day but I actually ate some cantaloupe the other day for the first time in years (no ill effects). I eat one serving of whole grains (usually quinoa) for breakfast.

I have been hitting the Garbanzo Bean Flour Flatbread, this week's recipe, a little too hard. I think the carbs add up if you have too many pieces even though garbanzo bean flour is low in carbs compared to other flours. The flatbread is hard to resist. Here's the recipe.

Garbanzo Bean Flour Flatbread
(makes about 24 small squares)


2 cups garbanzo bean flour (It's gluten free because it's made from garbanzo beans.)

2 T. olive oil (plus 1 more)

1 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. coarse black pepper

1-2 T. dried basil (or other dried herb of your choice or even a mixture.)

1 1/4 cup water


In a large bowl, mix garbanzo bean flour with salt and pepper. Stir in olive oil and water. Allow mixture to set for 1 hour to thicken.

Heat oven to 480 degrees. Spray a large glass pan. Place one tablespoon of olive oil in the pan. Pre-heat the pan in the oven for 5-10 minutes. Add the dried herbs to the flour mixture and pour the batter into your heated glass pan. Bake for about 8-12 miutes. Keep on eye on it as it cooks quickly. When slightly cool, cut into squares. It keeps well in the refrigerator for a week but you also can freeze it. Serve flatbread with hummus or my favorite, artichoke/spinach/tofu dip (shown in photo).

Monday, April 20, 2009

Creamy Lentil Soup

My pal and cat in the kitchen, Oreo, died last week. I'm sitting here in my home office missing her because she was always in here with me. She was as much a fixture in the office as she was in the kitchen. She put up a good fight and despite her bad tummy and other health issues made it to the age of 13. My home and kitchen just won't be the same without her.

It's a good thing I have been doing my positive affirmations daily and listening to a tape that encourages positive thinking because I really needed that to help me through last week. The day I had her put to sleep was an emotional day. I could feel the effects on my sinuses and stomach as well as tension throughout my body. It definitely illustrated for me how emotional stress plays a role in our health. I must admit on that particular day I was uttering my positive affirmations constantly.

I'm coming to believe that many of my health problems have been related to an overgrowth of candida (fungus) as well as negative thinking brought on by unresolved, chronic illness. Of course, it's easier to be more positive when you're starting to feel better as I am. However, for a long time, I kept telling myself that I had to remain a skeptic because this might not work either. But I'm finally getting where I'm a believer that candida was definitely playing a significant role in my health issues. But just to be sure I keep getting better, I'm staying on the low-carb diet and uttering my affirmations as much as it takes.

Here's another gluten-free and low carb recipe I've been enjoying.
Creamy Lentil Soup

2 1/2 cups dried lentils
4-5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 T. olive oil
1 T. ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
2 large cinnamon sticks
1/2 tsp. ground cardamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. white pepper
8 cups veggie broth or chicken broth (with no sugar added)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
Soak lentils in cold water for one hour. Saute garlic in olive oil in a large pot. Stir in spices. Next, add in the lentils and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about one hour or longer. Add the salt and remove the cinnamon sticks. Puree about half the mixture and return to the pot.
This lentil soup almost tastes like chai tea with all of its wonderful spices. It's a great recipe to make if you want a lot of soup to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks. I found it tasty for breakfast.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Garbanzo bean flour breadsticks

One of my cats, Oreo, has chronic digestive problems, just like me. Right now, she's feeling pretty sick and refusing to eat anything. I'm having to give her Pedialyte just to keep her electrolytes and fluids up. And she still loves tuna, just the liquid, not the actual tuna. She's been here before and always pulled out of it. She's almost 14 years old, not healthy and strong like her two buddies, Pumpkin, the cat, and Kona, the golden retriever, pictured above. She's a feline version of we humans who also have sick tummies.

Unfortunately she is getting worse, at the same time, I am feeling better. I have two more days of taking anti-fungal medication to eradicate the candida overgrowth which may have been causing my stomach and other health issues. Next step will be to follow up with a supplement that has herbs with anti-fungal properties. I'm learning that these extra candida like to hang around and are difficult to eradicate.

I am continuing to improve but am finding my biggest battle in getting better is with my mind. I am having difficulty believing that I am really getting better. I have been sick for so many years, missed out on so many experiences, lost so much of my life. I keep waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop, so to speak, and my symptoms to reappear with a vengeance. I have built up a whole litany of negative messages, such as "don't get your hopes up too high" or "remember the last time, when you thought you were getting better?"

How many times have I discounted the mind-body connection in healing? But it's definitely real here. On the days when I am positive and don't beat myself up with lots of negative messages, I feel like a new person. Days when I tell myself, things will never get better, I have more of my symptoms returning. I have started listening on a daily basis to a series of audio tapes that use guided imagery and hypnotherapy to help combat these negative thought patterns. I realize this is just as important a component in my healing as my medication and low-carb diet. It's only been a few days since I started the tapes and am finding myself feeling more confident about the outcome of my treatment.

On the food issue, I continue to miss my carbs but have discovered garbanzo bean flour to be a wonderful substitute for regular flours in making flatbreads, pizza crusts and even breadsticks. It's gluten-free, high in protein, has a great nutty flavor, cooks quickly and is easy to work with. Sounds like the perfect food! Here's how I used it to make breadsticks.

Garbanzo Bean Flour Breadsticks

2 cups garbanzo bean flour
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup or more water
2 T. olive oil
1 T. coarse black pepper
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. each dried oregano, thyme, basil, parsley
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine the flour, sesame seeds, salt/pepper and herbs. Gradually add the water and oil. You may need to add more water or more flour to the dough. Break off small balls of dough and roll into small sausage shapes or longer sticks. Place on a greased baking sheet for 8-10 minutes, turning once, until golden. Remember garbanzo bean flour doesn't take as long as regular flour to bake. Eat plain or serve with your favorite hummus.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Swiss Chard/Tofu Scramble

I ate my first grains in 3 1/2 weeks today. I had to limit myself to a half a serving which was difficult. Now I wait for three days to see if any symptoms return. Yes, that's right, three more days without any grains.

I guess you could say, I'm not low carb and loving it. Rather, I'm low carb out of necessity. The necessity is eliminating an overgrowth of yeast-like fungus, called candida, that inhabits the gut. This yeast overgrowth has caused numerous health problems for me, including severe stomach problems, food and chemical sensitivities, chronic sinus problems to name a few.

I've been eating mainly a plant and protein diet in an effort to starve out the yeast which have upset the balance of beneficial bacteria and yeast in my body. Yeast thrive on carbs (sugar) so I'm depriving them of their favorite entree. Using broad-spectrum antibiotics for years tipped the balance in favor of the fungus and allowed them to have a party at my expense.

The process of repairing the balance is painful but it seems to be working. I can eat raw veggies for the first time in years without serious gastrointestinal problems. In the past, the consumption of raw vegetables or any other difficult to digest food would have left me bedridden for days. The sinusitis also is gradually getting better. My food sensitivities have definitely diminished as well. In the past, foods, that seemed okay one week, weren't the next. This is one of the symptoms of yeast overgrowth.

It's nice to eat some grains again but one of my favorite dishes on this diet has been Swiss Chard/Tofu Scramble. Here's the recipe:

1 T. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
4-6 Swiss Chard stalks and leaves, chopped (I like the rainbow chard.)
6 ounces of firm tofu, cut into cubes
salt and black pepper to taste

It's super simple and tasty. In a large fry pan, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook until heated. Toss in the chopped chard stalks and stir fry until somewhat tender. Add in the chopped leaves and continue to stir fry until wilted. Finally, throw in the tofu cubes. Cook until heated. You can do this same recipe with eggs if you don't have sensitivities or allergies.