Archives for: January 2011
The garbanzo beans I cooked in the crock pot were wonderful. However I cooked more than I thought I was cooking, and since they are avoid for Type As, I was eating them all by myself. At the same time I ran out of hummus.
Traditionally hummus is eaten with bread or pita chips – both of which are avoid for Type O. I found that I really like hummus mixed with cooked greens. I’m sure that horrifies Middle Eastern gourmets, but, really, it tastes good. Hummus and mustard greens with ground beef is one of my favorite lunches.
So, there I was, out of hummus, but with more garbanzo beans than I knew what to do with. I decided to make homemade hummus. I didn’t have sesame seeds or tahini, but I had lots of other nuts. My first experiment was with pecans. I put garbanzos, pecans, garlic in the food processor and whirled them until they were creamy. It didn’t taste like hummus, but it tasted good, and it was delicious with cooked greens.
After I finished the pecan hummus, I still had garbanzos left – I told you I cooked a lot of beans! So I tried homemade hummus again with walnuts. This time I added a little olive oil. Again, it didn’t taste like hummus, but it was very good. I wish I had thought to add some lemon juice. That might have made it taste more like real hummus.
I’m not committing to make my own hummus all the time. But it’s nice to know that I have such a good way to use up leftover garbanzo beans.
Yesterday was a good day for exercise and beneficial eating. The ladies hiking club took excursion at Bastrop State Park. Bastrop is also called Lost Pines because it is an isolated Pine forest in the middle of the Texas Prairie. The temperature was 23 degrees when we got in our cars. That may not seem cold to you, but 23 is extreme for South Texas where some winters the temperature doesn’t get below freezing. Two ladies dropped out of the hike because of the weather, but nine of us bundled up and began the long drive to Bastrop.
We enjoyed a 2-hour hike. The sun came out and warmed the air. The bright green pine trees were a beautiful contrast to winter brown. The trail was a blend of strenuous and relaxing. The smell of pine needles was refreshing.
After the hike we drove into the charming town of Bastrop. The historical buildings of the old downtown area have been preserved and converted to cute shops and cafes. Our group chose a café called Gracie’s. Though the specialty of the day was chicken fried chicken, but I was confident I could find something BTD friendly on the menu. Two of the other hikers also follow the BTD. One is Type AB, and she quickly settled on soup and salad. The other is Type B and she chose a tuna melt.
I found a chopped steak dinner with potatoes and a vegetable of the day. I asked if I could substitute a salad for the potatoes. I was told “no substitutions” in a rather emphatic way. I must have looked disappointed, because the server said, “We have two vegetables today, corn and green beans. You can substitute one of the vegetables for the potatoes.” Now I was happy. I ordered a chopped steak dinner, with the onions, but without gravy and two portions of green beans.
The server gave me a long look and said, “No gravy at all; not even on the side.” I said, “No gravy at all.” She shook her head, but followed my instructions. The meal was delicious and well cooked. After lunch we wandered through the shops before we started for home. On every level it was a beneficial day.
This blog isn’t about exercise or food, but it is about a better quality of life. The Estate Sale at my parent’s house is over. The company that ran the sale did a wonderful job. They priced everything, did all of the negotiating, and successfully sold everything of value that was left in the house. I stayed away and let them handle everything. I’m glad I didn’t have to be there watching strangers picking over Mom & Dad’s stuff. My husband and I spent the last two days dividing what was left from the Estate Sale into three piles: metal recycle, Salvation Army donation, and trash. The rooms are empty, the floors are vacuumed, and there is a for sale sign in the front yard.
Those of you who have read my blog over the past four years have lived with me through my Dad’s concussion which left him in a wheelchair; my Dad’s drug resistant urinary tract infections which led to sepsis and his death; my Mom’s stroke nine months later, which eventually led to her death, and the long process of settling an estate.
Out of all of that, the most difficult moment of all was seeing two items left over from the Estate Sale – my old baby bed and play pen. I will tell you a story and the lesson I have learned from it.
After my sister and I outgrew the baby bed and playpen, my parents shared them with other family members who were having babies. As my cousins grew up, the baby furniture was no longer needed. It was stored here and there, probably getting in someone’s way until, at last, the next generation started having babies. Then that old furniture came out to be used again. This should have been a joyful process, but somehow there was an argument between my mother and her sisters about who should have the furniture.
It wound up with Mom, and all four of her grandchildren slept happily in that bed…but it left a rift in the family. The annual reunions stopped. People drifted apart and began to live separate lives. The close and happy family broke apart – over two pieces of furniture. My Mom was angry for a long time, not so much about the furniture itself, but that it left a division between her and the brothers and sisters with whom she had always been so close.
Across the nation several deaths were blamed of baby furniture like ours. The slats were too far apart and some babies got their little heads stuck. Laws were written, and standards were set for baby furniture. I wouldn’t dream of taking a risk with the lives of my future grandchildren. My sister felt the same way. We left the baby bed and playpen for the Estate Sale. I hoped that someone would buy them for a toy display or as an antique.
But when I went back to the house after the sale, both were still there. I can’t donate them to a Crisis Pregnancy Center – they are not safe and not legal. They are now in the garage with other worthless items waiting to be hauled to the curb for heavy trash day.
As I picked up the bed, I thought - this thing broke up a family. As I carried the play pen to the garage I thought - how could something so insignificant cause so much anger? Truly it was the saddest moment of the four years.
I am glad I can say that by the time my Mom had her stroke, she had forgotten her anger and had only nice things to say about her family. After the stroke when her speech therapist showed her pictures of her brothers and sisters, their names were some of the few words that she tried to say aloud. And every time she tried she smiled. I am glad that she was able to forgive before she died, but so many years were wasted.
I am also glad that I can honestly say that there is no one in this world that I am angry with or holding a grudge against. There are a few people who seem to be angry with me – I lost three facebook friends over what I thought was a really funny political cartoon. I don’t know what to say or how to make it right, but my heart is ready to say “I’m sorry” for whatever offense I caused, and I would leap at the opportunity to restore the relationship.
You can eat right and exercise until you are in great shape, but if you are angry and bitter on the inside, you are not healthy. The stress of anger will cause disease and rob you of your joy and vitality. I encourage you to learn to forgive and to purge bitterness from your heart. I’m not sure that is possible without a personal relationship with God. So I guess I am really encouraging you to seek God and learn from the Bible what He says about love and revenge and relationships.
I know what you’re thinking – a baby bed is a pretty trivial thing to be angry about – and some of you have issues that are much more serious. If you told me your story, I would probably agree, but what I learned is that at the end of life, the reasons for the anger don’t matter, and in the end it’s all hauled out with the trash.
According to my calendar we went to nine parties during the Christmas and New Year Holidays. In addition there were family gatherings at home. It was a wonderful season with lots of friends and family. The good memories far outweigh the sad ones. DD headed back to college yesterday morning, so our house seems very quiet today.
I thought I would revisit my decision to allow myself to eat more avoids than usual when we were out with friends and family during the holidays. There were pros and cons to the decision.
I think I was right in my reasoning that enjoying traditional foods and more sugar than I normally eat would help to ease the emotions that were bound to come with the December and January anniversaries of my parents’ illnesses and deaths.
I hasten to say – in case you missed the original blog on December 10 – that I am not advocating going on an extended binge for emotional reasons. I have known people who overate for a year or more in response to a tragedy. No, No, No... that’s not what I did. I continued to eat right for regular meals during the holiday season. But when we were with friends at holiday parties, I enjoyed whatever food was being served. I relaxed my standards for family gatherings at my own home – to the delight of part of the family and the chagrin of other parts.
I relearned some lessons about my own body and my “O”ishness in the process.
Wheat does make me gain weight. Eating holiday foods with wheat one night would increase my weight by 2-3 pounds for 2-3 days. There is no doubt about the relationship between wheat and weight gain in my Type O body.
Dairy does give me indigestion. GERD is the reason that I originally started the BTD. After one party that featured lots of cheesy Mexican food, I had uncomfortable feeling in my chest that I have not experienced since 2003. After that, I ate very few dairy avoids. It just wasn’t worth it.
Concentrated sugar makes me sluggish. I wish I could find a better word, but that’s the best I can do. After a brief burst of energy, sugar makes me lazy and dull. I feel heavy and unmotivated. While I feel that way, I don’t associate it with sugar, but as I return to normal, I recognize that I have not been myself.
Some avoid foods, particularly wheat and sugar, are addictive for me. After a party, I would often find myself searching my house the next day for more of the same. I’m glad that there was little to find. Food addictions can be powerful.
God made my body resilient. Though avoids might lead to a few aches or a slight weight gain, I bounced back quickly. There were no lingering effects. Fifty years of avoids took a while to get out of my system when I first started the BTD, and I wouldn’t push my luck by eating avoids day after day. I am glad, however, to learn that I am not so sensitive that a few avoids a week for several weeks does not lead to a major setback in my health.
I’ve asked myself whether I will do this again next Christmas. I think the answer is one of degree. Rather than eating as everyone else eats at a party, I will seek out healthy foods for the most part. I will scout out the fun holiday foods and pick just a few favorites to taste.
I got a crock pot as a wedding gift. It is sort of a mustard color – one of the earth tones that was popular in the 1970s. I used it a lot when my Honorable Husband and I were first married. He loved casseroles and stews. I loved coming home from work to find dinner warm and ready to eat. Then we had children – who like most children didn’t want their food all mixed together. Then the family got on the Blood Type Diet and none of the old favorite recipes were suitable for both Type As and Type Os. So the crock pot has been gathering dust in the back of the pantry beside the deep fryer.
One of our Christmas gatherings was a Sunday School covered dish party with a Mexican food theme. I knew there would be lots of corn, wheat, and cheese. By the time the sign up list got to me two other people had already said they would bring salads. I was quickly thinking of something that would be healthy and in line with the Mexican theme. I wrote down black beans.
I have always taken the easy way out and bought canned beans. My grocery store carries brands with reduced sodium and minimum added ingredients. When the kids are home, a can serves the family. When it is just HH and myself, we have a few beans left over for veggie bowls the next day. But since I was making black beans for a crowd, I thought I would dust off the crock pot and cook them myself.
I found a really easy recipe in the internet.
Soak one pound of black beans overnight. I soaked them in the crock pot.
Drain the beans and pick out the broken pieces. Add one can broth (I used chicken) one onion (chopped) and one jar of salsa. Add enough water to cover the beans. Cook on high for 5-6 hours or low for 8 – 9 hours. I started on high and switched to low after about 4 hours.
The beans were really good. They were also really easy. Most of all, I was shocked at how inexpensive they were compared to canned beans.
So, when I was getting ready for our Christmas Day tamale dinner, I decided to cook pinto beans in the crock pot. HH tries to eat relatively low sodium because of his blood pressure. My Darling Daughter gets a burning sensation on her tongue when she eats too much salt. So I kept the pinto beans really simple.
One pound of pinto beans soaked overnight.
Drain the beans and pick out the broken pieces. Add one chopped onion. Add 2 teaspoons of cumin. Add water to cover the beans. Cook in the crock pot the same way I cooked the black beans.
Once again I was struck by how inexpensive and delicious crock pot beans can be. So for New Year’s Day, I cooked black eyed peas. Another success! Now I’m hooked. I’ve already bought garbanzo’s to cook this weekend. It has become increasingly hard to find canned fava beans and adzukis, but my health food store carries dried packages of both.
I will probably always keep a few cans of beans on the pantry shelf for times when I need them quickly. But I plan to use the crock pot for beneficial beans at least once a week.
For Christmas I got a rice cooker. If you are a long time reader, that statement will make you smile. Several years ago I was with a group of women and one of them said that if she had to give up every appliance in her kitchen except one, she would keep her rice cooker. I was astounded - first because I had never heard of a rice cooker, and second because I rely daily on my food processor and blender.
Because of my Honorable Husband’s experience with pre-diabetic blood sugar levels two years ago, I only serve him one starch per meal, and I aim for beneficial starches. He loves rice, and it is a beneficial food for Type As in the BTD Diabetes book. My schedule works against me, however. To cook brown rice properly on the stove, I have to remember to start cooking it early, and I have to serve it quickly after it is done. One day I saw pre-cooked rice packets in the grocery store. You pop them in the microwave for a minute (the packet says 90 seconds, but I thought 60 seconds was better) and they are ready to eat. I could get both brown rice and wild rice. Initially I intended to have a couple of packets as a back up, but it was too easy. I began to buy them often.
Though they saved a lot of time, I always felt guilty. For one thing they are expensive relative to the cost of rice. There were also added ingredients, that I didn’t read too closely, because I knew I’d find things that weren’t good for him. And I don’t trust microwaving food in plastic bags. I do it from time to time, but I am suspicious.
As it got close to Christmas, I remembered the conversation about rice cookers and began to do a little research. I wanted a small cooker, because I mainly cooking rice for HH alone. I didn’t want to spend a fortune, and some of the highly rated oriental cookers are really expensive. One day DD and I wandered into a gourmet store at the mall and I got into a conversation with one of the sales people who recommended a one to six cup Black & Decker rice cooker that was moderately priced. He said if I didn’t like it, I could bring it back to the store for up to three months. I asked how many other people had returned them, and he said, “No one has ever brought one back.” I put it on my wish list, and Christmas morning it was under the tree.
Since then I have entered a love affair with my rice cooker. I can cook absolutely perfect brown rice in about 45 minutes or less. It is full of flavor – it even makes the kitchen smell good. It has an automatic warming function that keeps the rice ready to serve until the rest of the meal is ready. I can also use the warming setting to reheat leftover rice.
If I had to choose between the rice cooker and the food processor I would still choose the food processor…but I hope I never have to make the choice.
This blog is getting long. I’ll save the “old gadget” part for another day.