Archives for: April 2014
I went to our local Farmer’s Market over the weekend. I’ve been craving kohlrabi, and the Farmer’s Market is the only place I can buy it. I found purple kohlrabi, and have been enjoying Kohl slaw all week.
I also bought Swiss chard. One of the venders must have had a surplus because the price was competitive with grocery store prices. Hurrah for supply & demand!
Every time I read about organic produce, I want to go organic. Then I go to the store, look at the prices, and back off. I would gladly pay a little more for organic. But when the price is two or three times as much, I have to evaluate whether the benefit is worth it. Being on a fixed income, the answer is usually no.
I wanted to buy carrots, but the best price I could find at the Farmer’s Market was $3 a pound. I picked them up and put them down. I couldn’t pay that much. The same with lettuce - a tiny head of Romaine was double the cost my grocery store charges for a large head.
My grocery store carries large beets - 4 inches or more in diameter. They take 45 minutes to cook in the pressure cooker. Then they have to cool down enough for me to peel them without burning my fingers. I can’t spontaneously decide to serve beets, I have to plan ahead and cook them early in the day.
The Farmer’s Market had a bin of organic beets that were about two inches in diameter. The price was reasonable, so I bought them. Oh they were wonderful. They cooked fast. They peeled easily. They were tender and delicious served with ghee and ginger.
I’m not sure whether they were exceptionally good because they were small or because they were organic, but I think it’s worth paying a little more for organic beets at the Farmer’s Market.
A friend got me to thinking about Easter traditions. From my childhood I have two memories. My grandmother who lived on the ranch did an Easter egg hunt for my cousins, my sister, and me whenever we were at her house for Easter. She had a big yard that was fenced in both front and back, to keep the cows away from her plants. There were lots of creative places to hide eggs - unless the farm cats found them first.
My father, who loved classical music, would search the newspaper for an announcement from a church that was going to perform Haydn’s Seven Last Words of Christ. Our family spent many a Palm Sunday or Good Friday surrounded by this majestic music. I haven’t heard it in years, so yesterday I looked it up on YouTube. As soon as the overture started, I could picture myself sitting beside my father in a dimly lit sanctuary.
When I had children of my own, I wanted to do healthy Easter Baskets. No marshmallow eggs with sugar and artificial coloring for this health nut Mom! I bought plastic eggs and filled them with raisins, little crackers, or peanuts. I also bought little windup toys and stuffed bunnies in place of sugary treats. We never encouraged our children to believe that the Easter bunny brought those baskets. The focus of Easter was the death and resurrection of Christ. The baskets were a gift from Mom and Dad.
One year the kids got up on Easter morning and ran into the kitchen to find their baskets beside their breakfast plates. There was so much excitement that we were almost late to church. I did not want treats and gifts to distract us from the greater importance of worship. So the next year I announced a change. Easter baskets would be on the table on Saturday morning. In our family Friday became a day of solemn recognition of the death of Christ on the cross for our sins. Saturday was a fun day for baskets of surprises. Sunday was a joyful day celebrating that Jesus has risen!
As the children grew up, the contents of the baskets changed. My son developed a chocolate allergy, and he was thrilled one year when I found a carob bunny for his basket. Toys were replaced by books or plaques.
This year I started a new tradition. I had a coupon from an online health food store for 15% off of my entire purchase. After I ordered the vitamins I needed, I looked through the grocery items. I found several things DD could eat that would be good for her and for her breast milk. BC had a bad reaction to a soy protein powder, but I wondered how he would do with soy nut butter and toasted soy nuts. I also found some alternate grains that would add calories in a healthy way. I went to Sams and got a package of walnuts - a beneficial food, but expensive for her budget. Instead of a basket, I put all of my “treats” in a box and delivered them when we went to their house for BC’s 1 month birthday.
Our son has inherited the family high blood pressure gene. Like his father and grandfather, he is very tall and very thin, but still his blood pressure was creeping up. This past year he went on a low sodium diet, which lowered his blood pressure, but not enough to keep him off of a low dose of blood pressure medication.
I began shopping for low sodium, Type O foods that would fit with his active outdoor lifestyle. I found individual packets of unsalted nuts. I found Bear Naked Granola with almost zero sodium and zero wheat. SS came to spend yesterday afternoon with us. I gave him his Easter gifts in plastic bags instead of baskets, but he enjoyed opening them just as much.
Today is Saturday before Easter. Our niece and great nieces are here. It will be a fun day taking pictures of the bluebonnets. Tomorrow we will worship. Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed!
We had dinner at Bangkok 54, a Thai restaurant in San Antonio. It is near the home of some wonderful friends, and is one of their favorite places to eat. We’ve been there several times. The food is very good and everything is prepared fresh. It’s worth it just to read the seasoning guide in the menu which begins with, “0: No hot pepper added during preparation” and ends with “911 Hot: No explanation necessary.” I am cautious, and I always choose 1.
I have always eaten their beef and broccoli, but yesterday I had beef for lunch, so I decided to try something new. I chose Chicken with Ginger, and it was outstanding.
At the end of the meal one of our friends said, “Would anyone like to share a dessert?” Both of the men declined, so she looked at me. She knows I am gluten free and rarely eat desserts. “She said, “You should try this Suzanne. You will be surprised. It is made with brown rice and fresh fruit.” I was curious, so I said yes.
Our server brought an oblong plate. On one end was a scoop of rice. On the other end was a freshly sliced mango. My friend, who had obviously shared this dessert before, cut down the middle of both pushing both the rice and the mango towards the two sides of the plate. I watched as she speared a piece of mango with her fork, then scooped up a bit of brown rice. I followed her example it was an incredibly delicious combination.
I think the rice was prepared with coconut milk (which would be avoid for me), but it would be easy to substitute almond milk or some other neutral. I don’t know what kind of sweetener they used, but again, I could use agave or stevia.
It was such a treat to have a dessert. I’ll admit, I have almost completely stopped making desserts, even BTD compliant desserts. The children are grown. Plus I don’t want to sabotage HH’s success at lowering his blood sugar and keeping it low.
I’m thinking this kind of “good for you” dessert might be something to look forward to at the end of a meal once in a while.
As DD began evaluating what else she might be eating that would affect her milk and make BC uncomfortable; lettuce was high on the list since SIL’s sister has Crohn’s Disease. Her Crohn’s is triggered by anything raw and green. Lettuce, spinach, broccoli, even herbs like parsley and cilantro will send her into agony. DD, who eats a big salad almost every day, can hardly imagine life without lettuce, but when she started the brown rice allergy elimination diet, salad, like everything else, was put on hold.
After finding out that eggs and soy do not agree with BC, she successfully added several foods one at a time. Then one of their church members brought dinner to the house and included a delicious looking salad. DD decided it was time to find out whether BC could tolerate lettuce. The first night went well. She was so excited that the next day she ate more salad, and she added celery. That night was disastrous. BC cried and cried and cried. None of them slept.
She backed off of salad until BC was back to normal. Then she ate lettuce again and there was no problem. A few days later she tried celery, again with terrible results. So, lettuce is in and celery is out.
DD sent this text this morning, “I think it is better just knowing he is colicky and that he does not hate life. We can laugh at him now when he goes from laughing, to crying, back to laughing, then to screaming for no apparent reason. We cuddle and bounce him, but we feel less stressed knowing that he is acting typical of a baby with colic.”
Changing the subject:
I have a friend with Parkinson’s disease. The county support group sponsored a 5k run and she sent out a message asking people to sign up and support the cause. I signed up as a member of her team. After the race, I checked the times and saw that I had the fastest time for women over 60. I didn’t get a medal because I hadn’t sighed up as an individual runner, but I have the satisfaction of knowing that I ran well - - for an old lady!
While my run was fun, I was more impressed with my friend who finished the course in spite of her Parkinson’s. She tells me that exercise increases the natural production of dopamine, so she makes herself walk two miles every day. She said, “My doctor says if I want to stay out of a wheel chair I have to keep exercising.” That takes courage and resolve. I am so proud of her. By the way, my friend’s team was second place in the event.
Both of my babies cried at night. I’m not talking about waking every 2-4 hours to eat. All breast fed babies do that. I’m talking about frantic crying as if they were angry or in pain.
My Mom was matter of fact. Babies do that. Their digestive systems are immature. They grow out of it. My husband’s Mom called it colic. She rocked and walked the floor with me, pitying the poor baby.
When BC got home from the hospital, he began to frantically cry in the evening and at night, I was fatalistic. It’s part of being a newborn. I had even read that a newborn’s intestines were the diameter of a pencil (or was it a pencil lead?). Don’t be surprised, the book said, that the tiniest gas bubble causes distress.
DD was not convinced. She believed that she was eating something that was getting in her milk and hurting BC. She went to the internet - and got more confused. “Mom, look at this,” she would say. “This website says eat broccoli and not cucumbers. This other website says eat cucumbers and not broccoli. What do I do?”
I began to wonder if some of my own children’s colic was caused by my eating avoid foods like cow’s milk, wheat, and oranges. But DD never eats avoids. Her diet is 75% beneficials and 25% neutrals.
HH & I returned to our home when BC was 10 days old. DD maintained her strong conviction that she was eating something wrong. Finally I suggested that she try the allergy elimination diet. Many years ago I read that when allergy tests were inconclusive, to eat only brown rice for a day or two. Almost no one is allergic to brown rice. Then you start to add foods one at a time. You journal to see what kind of reactions you have to each new food.
For the sake of milk production, DD was scared to go brown rice alone. Instead she spent the first day eating only brown rice, apples, carrots, and green beans. That night was the best night BC had had since they got home from the hospital.
We were elated. We talked the next day about what to add back into her diet. We decided on eggs. They are bland, and they contain lots of protein. For years DD has eaten an egg sandwich every other day.
She called the next morning. The night had been terrible. BC suffered horribly with gas. So on day three she went back to brown rice, apples, carrots, and green beans. That night was peaceful. Eggs? Really?
The problem now was that she was losing weight too fast. She needed calories. So she added almonds - both the nuts and almond milk. BC was happy. Next she added oatmeal, again they had a good night.
But when she added soy protein - another one of her staple foods - she and SIL spent the night walking the floor with an unhappy baby.
Since then she has added several fruits and vegetables, and all have agreed with BC. Eggs and soy are the only two culprits so far.
I am amazed - and I am so glad that DD persevered and did not accept night time crying as normal.