Saturday, April 27, 2013

Plum, beet, chard salad

Plum, beet, chard salad

Blue skies, no wind and temps in the 70s---spring has finally arrived in my neck of the woods. As if the beautiful weather weren't enough, I have another reason for celebrating. My creaky, old fibromyalgia body feels a whole lot better.

If you follow this blog, you probably know I have been battling fibromyalgia that encompasses many symptoms, including:
  • Chronic muscle pain, muscle spasms or tightness
  • Moderate or severe fatigue and decreased energy
  • Insomnia or waking up feeling just as tired as when you went to sleep
  • Stiffness upon waking or after staying in one position for too long
  • Difficulty remembering, concentrating, and performing simple mental tasks ("fibro fog")
  • Abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, and constipation alternating with diarrhea (irritable bowel syndrome).
There are many things that have contributed to my improvement but I'm going to give a lot of credit to an exercise program, called Classical Stretch, which is on PBS, early in the a.m. Also known as Essentrics, the low-impact program really revitalizes the body, increases energy, frees the joints and relieves chronic pain. I exercise all the time (yoga, strength training, biking, walking) but this program strengthens and stretches the entire body at the same time, unlike anything I've ever done before. I have reduced my hip and back pain since starting the program about one month ago.  Check it out at

Chard salad with dark plums and golden beets
How about some good food to celebrate spring and less pain? I tossed together some rainbow chard, dark plums and golden beets in a delicious, healthy and ACD-friendly salad, good for phase 1 or 2.
I love dark plums and golden beets, and they pair perfectly with chard.

Here's what you need for one serving:

Half a bunch of rainbow or other chard
1 golden or red beet
1 carrot, shredded
1 dark plum, diced
Olive oil, lemon juice dressing
Optional: Add toasted sunflower seeds or almonds

Here's what you do:

Wash all your veggies. Peel your beet. Chop the beet into bite-sized pieces. Toss into a steamer basket and cook until tender. Chop the chard into bite-sized pieces.(Note: I decided to saute the chard lightly but raw will work just as well.) Shred a peeled carrot. Dice the plum into small pieces. For the dressing, combine the juice of a lemon with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper, and herbs de provence, to taste. Toss everything together and enjoy!

"I'm guilty as charged. I ripped open the box but I was looking for chard."

Recipe contributed to:

Friday, April 19, 2013

Tutti fruit energy bites, ACD-friendly

"We'll break you out of a bad mood faster than you can say, woof."
 Do you have a cat or dog? Stroking kitty's fur or pooch's coat can boost levels of oxytocin, the cuddle hormone, as well as levels of the feel-good brain chemical, serotonin. It also can lower blood pressure by 10 percent. It's good for your pet's blood pressure too! If you don't have a dog or cat, borrow the neighbor's pet for some quality time.

Strawberry and blackberry tutti fruiti energy bite

Once you've had you quality pet time, how about a tasty treat? Tutti fruiti energy bites (ACD-Stage 1) are easy to make, fun and satisfying when you want something sweet. No kidding, the energy bites are filling. One or two satisfies a craving.

Here's what you need for 6-8 energy bites:

3/4 cup berries of your choice (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries or strawberries)
3 T. coconut flour
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 T. melted coconut oil
sweetener of your choice, to taste
Optional add-in for the blackberry or raspberry bites: 1 T. freeze-dried berry powder
Optional topping: finely chopped coconut flakes, coconut butter

Blueberry tutti fruiti energy bites with coconut butter topping

Here's what you do:

Soften the berries to release their juices by heating them in a small saucepan on the stove. Once the berries are softened, add the coconut oil to liquefy. Stir in the coconut flour, coconut milk and sweetener of choice. Stir in freeze-dried berry powder if using. Remove the dough from heat. Note: the mixture should have the thickness of cookie dough. If needed, add more coconut milk for thinning or more coconut flour for thickening.

Roll the dough into bite-size balls. If desired, roll the balls in coconut flakes. Place the balls in the fridge to allow them to firm up. Extras may be stored in the freezer.

The blackberry tutti fruiti energy bites win my vote but that's because I revved up their flavor by adding 1 T. of freeze-dried blackberry powder. Actually, I loved all three flavors. Next time, I'll try raspberries.

"Don't forget to save some energy bites for us."

Recipe contributed to:

Friday, April 12, 2013

Guacamole layered veggie salad

Guacamole layered veggie salad

I have loved avocadoes since I was a kid! I grew up in Southern California where having fresh avocadoes growing in your own backyard was commonplace. I used to practically overdose on the green fruit when it was avocado season. Then, fats (even good-for-you fats) got a bad name, and I gave up avocadoes for decades.

Now, avocadoes figure prominently into my diet. The green fruit (yes, avocadoes are a fruit not a vegetable) gets thumbs up for folks like me trying to eliminate a bacterial overgrowth. Avocadoes contain a high level of oleic acid which impart antifungal properties. Avocadoes are like green, anti-candida fighting machines. And they are delicious too!

Guacamole paired with lots of veggies

Have you ever tried to volumize your guacamole? I did by adding other veggies and spices to my guacamole. The result was perfecto!

Guacamole Layered Veggie Salad for One
ACD-Phase 1 and beyond

Here's what you need for the volumized guacamole:

1/2 avocado
juice of one lemon or lime
1/2 cup steamed broccoli
1/4 cup steamed kale
1/4 cup sauteed onions
pinch of sea salt
bit of water
drizzle of olive oil
1 tsp. cumin

Here's what you do:

Add everything to your food processor and pulse to puree veggies and blend until smooth. Add a bit of water if necessary to reach desired consistency.

Here's what you need for the salad:

1 zucchini
 part of a butternut squash
1 carrot
5 broccoli spears
mesculin greens
diced green onions
chopped cilantro

Here's what you do:

Use a mandolin slicer to cut zucchini, carrot and butternut squash lengthwise. Place veggie slices and broccoli on a large baking sheet. Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast in the oven at 425 degrees until slightly crispy.

To make the salad, layer veggies with volumized guacamole and finish with diced green onions and chopped cilantro.

Don't forget how good avocadoes are for you? Avocados also are an excellent source of vitamin K, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, folate, copper and potassium.

When I'm done with this nap, I'd like an avocado too!

Recipe contributed to: and

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Purple pizzaz pudding, ACD-friendly

Does this look precious or what?
My pooches are my own personal therapy dogs. They are like interactive teddy bears. Admittedly, sometimes a little too "interactive." Yes, they've given me black eyes, a fat lip and strained muscles but it was all in good fun! Mostly, they are loving and affectionate. Lately, I have been needing their therapy. I recently found out I am deficient in numerous vitamins but especially Vitamin B and D.

The malabsorption of Vitamin B, but especially B12, is often a part of chronic intestinal disorders. In the winter in northern climates, vitamin D often needs to be supplemented.

Most people with chronic intestinal disorders, like myself, suffer from malabsorption and are malnourished. But yet, little screening is done for vitamin deficiencies. No surprise too, that insurance seldom pays for this screening.

Malabsorption is the inability of the cells of the body to obtain nutrients from the foods eaten. Some disorders associated with malabsorption are chrohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, celiac disease and cystic fibrosis. Individuals who follow a strict vegan or vegetarian diet also may find it challenging to get enough B12 and zinc.

I have getting vitamin injections (B, D, C and Calicium) every two weeks to correct my deficiences (also not covered by insurance). But there is more to the story. My digestive enzymes and stomach acid are zilch. All of this is thanks to years of antibiotics for sinus infections, antacids and gallbladder removal. Where was a good holistic practitioner back when all this happened?

Purple pizzaz pudding

Following a vegan diet is no longer possible for me with all of my vitamin deficiences, especially vitamin B and zinc. But vegan recipes are still a part of my repertoire. Recently, I cooked up Purple Pizzaz Pudding (ACD-Phase 1 and 2). What makes this pudding such a wonderful shade of purple? The purple comes from beets, blueberries and blackberries, all of which contain loads of wonderful vitamins for you.

Beets can be a great aid to digestion. I have been drinking beet juice. One 4-ounce glass promotes regularity and aids digestion. Simply steam beets and save the water. Instant beet juice!

Here's what you need for one generous serving:

1 red  or golden beet, peeled, diced, steamed and cooled
3/4 cup mixed blueberries and blackberries (or choose one if you like)
1 T. coconut butter
Splash of coconut milk

Here's what you do:

Put everything into a magic bullet or food processor and blend. Add coconut milk as needed to get desired thickness. Yes, that's it!

Recipe submitted to: