Two friends in my neighborhood have a cookie exchange every year at Christmas. It started small, but it has grown each year. Every one brings three dozen cookies. For the first hour we eat hors d'oeuvres and visit. Then we move into the "cookie room". We select three dozen cookies to take home. What fun to walk around the table selecting cookies to enjoy during the holidays. Most ladies print out their recipes, so as you pick up cookies, you can pick up recipes as well.
The first year I made one of my favorite recipes. It's a wheat free recipe with oats, pecans, and coconut. You bake it in a cookie sheet and cut it into bars.
The second year I took the power bar recipe that DD and I developed. It is a no bake recipe made with only dried fruit and nuts.
Both years my cookies were passed over in favor of cookies with fancy decorations and lots of sugar.
This Year the cookie exchange was in a week when I had lots of business appointments. There was little time for baking. The day before the cookie exchange I didn't even have a plan. I was at the store and saw a packaged peanut butter cookie mix. I bought it along with a bag of Hershey kisses. It took just a few minutes to throw the mix together. I baked them half way then stuck an (unwrapped) kiss in the middle of each cookie and finished baking.
At the cookie exchange a lot of the conversations revolved around health. Friends talked to me about diets that worked and diets that didn't work. I heard about surgeries, exercise, and undiagnosed physical problems. It seemed to me that most of the ladies were serious about making lifestyle changes to improve their health.
Then we went into the cookie room. I watched as those same ladies grabbed up the fancy, high sugar cookies. My plate quickly emptied. Not one peanut butter kiss cookie was left.
I got a few brownies for HH - a treat that I knew would put a smile on his face. But I was really looking for healthy cookies. They were easy to find, because they were left behind. Someone brought zucchini cookies. I took several of those. I found chocolate covered nuts - wheat free. I found no bake oatmeal cookies - also wheat free.
HH was happy because there was a plate of cookies on the kitchen table. I was happy because most of those cookies were relatively Type A friendly.
However, I couldn't avoid the observation that whatever people say, they will choose sugar over health, at least at Christmas time.
I had a mammogram last week. After an unnecessarily, scary experience with a call back a few years ago, I get my mammograms done at a clinic where they let me wait for the results. I can sit in the waiting room and read until they have looked at the images.
Last week I had my results in less than 10 minutes. "Everything is normal. We don't want to see you for another year." I left the clinic thankful and happy.
Yesterday while I was shopping, I left my phone in the car. I came back to find several texts and three missed calls. Two of the calls were from DD and one was from an unknown number - probably a solicitor, I thought. I called DD back; then I saw that there was a voice mail...from my primary care physician's office. I got a sinking feeling in my stomach...it had to be about the mammogram. By then the office was closed for the day.
This morning when I called, the office assistant said, "Hmmm...let me see...here it is...Hmmm"
I broke in saying, "Is everything OK?"
"Oh yes," she said. "Your mammogram results are fine. But the doctor wrote a note. Are you still a patient? We haven't seen you since last year."
I laughed, partially with relief, and partially at what I considered to be an odd question. I haven't been to the doctor because I haven't been sick. (Thank you, BTD!) That's a good thing, it seems to me, but I guess for the doctor's office, it is unusual.
I explained that yes, I was still their patient; that I had been healthy and hadn't needed a doctor. I went on to say that with the mixed study results about mammograms, I had decided to get on a schedule where I had a mammogram, then nine months later a physical, nine months later a mammogram, and so on. That way I would get a mammogram every 18 months and a physical every 18 months. I ended by saying that I would be calling for an appointment in about nine months. The assistant was satisfied.
I feel comfortable with this schedule because there is no history of breast cancer in my family, but I can't end this blog without saying that the prompting to schedule a mammogram last week is because two friends have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer.
One had made the decision not to have mammograms. She found the lump herself, and it has already metastasized. She is pursuing treatment, but realizes the statistics are against her.
The other is a young woman. She not only has breast cancer, but she is pregnant. I do not know how the cancer was found, and I do not know what treatment she will be receiving.
If you have read my blogs for long, you know that I am a Christian, and that I am pro life. But I understand - and I know that God understands - that there are times when the life of an unborn baby is lost to save the life of the mother. I fully support this friend in whatever decision she makes.
In my earliest memories, my family ate eggs for breakfast. Sometimes we had them with bacon, sometimes with cheese, sometimes with biscuits. We all liked eggs. Then there came a day in the 60s when my Aunt Cora got a devastating medical test report. Her cholesterol was high. "Through the ceiling," my mother said. This was before medication was routinely prescribed for high cholesterol. The doctor said she was headed for certain death if she did not change her diet. The first thing that had to go was eggs. She stopped eating eggs. Stopped eating meat. Stopped eating shrimp. Her cholesterol stayed high. I'm guessing it was because of all the margarine we were eating in the 60's, but that's a different story. She never did get her cholesterol under control and she lived to be 2 months short of 90 years old. Except for her last year, she was active and mentally sharp.
The effect on the family was that we didn't eat eggs for breakfast anymore. Instead we had cinnamon toast, donuts, cereal, and honey buns. This was supposed to be healthier than eggs. Arrgh...perhaps this explains why I don't trust anything the establishment says about health.
After four decades of denigrating eggs, now they are back in style. Here are quotes from a recent article about a study from Surrey University that says eating eggs for breakfast can help you lose weight.
"Eggs keep one fuller for longer compared with other common breakfast foods, and are also better for people who want to resist afternoon snacks on biscuits, cake or chocolate," according to the researchers.
Prof Bruce Griffin, said: "This study provides yet more evidence that eating eggs at breakfast can help keep us feeling fuller for longer and may help people to eat less at subsequent meals, thus helping with weight loss."
The article refers to "the growing body of evidence to support eggs as a key ingredient of weight loss diets." It refers to a previous study that found that women who ate an egg for breakfast felt fuller and had less desire to eat other foods for the next 24 hours compared to those who ate a bagel (a breakfast of equal calories).
I'm not trying to lose weight. Thanks to the BTD, my weight has been stable at an attractive and healthy level for nine years.
However - I do have a sensitive digestive system and in the first year after the publication of the GenoType diet Dr. D wrote " Hunter: To help heal and regenerate your digestive tract, aim to eat seven to nine eggs a week" Again Dr. D was ahead of the establishment research studies.
I'm so far out of the habit of eating eggs for breakfast, that I'm not sure I could every go back. However, one of my favorite suppers is an egg and spinach frittata with a sweet potato on the side. I have this combination at least once a week.
Someone brought a biography of Charlemagne to my neighborhood book club. My knowledge of the Dark Ages is sketchy at best. My high school world history teacher neglected that part of my education, being far more interested in the explorers of the Age of Discovery. I snatched the book, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Charlemagne was a fascinating man at so many levels: his difficult childhood, his Christian faith, his military strategy, his interest in education.
One quote I found particularly fascinating was, written by Einhard the Dwarfling, a contemporary of Charlemagne's and his first biographer. Einhard wrote:
"He went by his own inclinations rather than by the advice of physicians, whom he almost hated because they wanted him to give up roasts, which he relished, and to eat boiled meat instead”
Isn't it amazing, back in the ninth century self proclaimed health experts were advising against eating red meat. Charlemagne - who I'm guessing was Type O - instinctively knew better, and continued to enjoy roasts.
I am cooking a roast myself this morning. Our Type O son is coming for lunch, and we are ready for beef after having lots of turkey this past week. I'm certainly not going to boil it, which would leach out vitamins and phytonutrients.
This brings to mind what modern self proclaimed health experts have been saying about eggs for the past 50 years. That sounds like a good blog topic. In the meantime I hope all of you are enjoying a thankful weekend.
I liked this thought from author Sarah Young: God has instructed us to "give thanks for everything." There is an element of mystery in this transaction: You give God thanks (regardless of your feelings) and He gives you joy (regardless of your circumstances). To people who don't know Jesus intimately, it can seem irrational to thank Him for heartrending hardships. Nonetheless, those who obey Him in this way are invariably blessed, even though difficulties may remain.
We celebrated Thanksgiving a week early! DD is still the newest employee in her department, so she has to work on Friday after Thanksgiving. SIL will be back at church preaching the Sunday after Thanksgiving. They have a very short holiday. However DD had a comp day, and they decided to take it last Friday. So we had our family Thanksgiving a week early.
DD and I cooked all day Friday. When SS arrived we drove downtown to look at the Christmas lights. Then we came home for a delicious, and mostly traditional, Thanksgiving dinner.
When you are on the BTD, you have three choices at holidays. At one time or another in my nine years on the diet, I've done all three.
1. Take a "holiday" from the BTD and splurge.
2. Tweak your recipes so they are a little healthier, but still traditional.
3. Convert all your traditional recipes to BTD compliant.
This year we did #3. Except for one dessert, everything was beneficial or neutral for us all.
I have posted my family's cornbread dressing recipe in other years, but here it is again: original version first, then the BTD version.
My Mother's cornbread dressing
4 cups of cornbread, 2 cups of biscuits, one onion diced, 3/4 cup chopped celery, 1/3 cup butter, 1 1/4 tsp sage, 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning, 3 eggs, 2 cans chicken broth. Cook the onion and celery in the butter until soft. Combine all ingredients. Bake in an 8x8 pan for 1 hour at 325.
My Daughter's compliant dressing
4 cups of crumbled millet cornbread
2 cups crumbled flax bread
1 chopped onion
1/3 cup melted ghee
1 1/4 tsp sage
1 tsp poultry seasoning
2 2/3 cups water mixed with 1/3 cup Braggs Liquid Aminos
Substituting Braggs Liquid Aminos for canned chicken broth was new this year. It worked beautifully.
When DD lived at home, she used to whip up a quick pumpkin dish that was delicious. The day after our Thanksgiving dinner, we were going to have leftovers. I asked if she would do her pumpkin as a side dish. If you are looking for something unique and very beneficial, for your Thanksgiving, you might like this. She didn't measure anything, so adjust to your personal taste.
DD's Pumpkin Side Dish
2 cans pure pumpkin
8 oz can of pineapple chunks, drained
1 apple chopped
Walnuts or pecans - chopped
Mix it together and heat until it is warm. It doesn't really have to cook; you just want the cinnamon and ginger flavors to have time to blend.