First of all, the Picky Eater Recipe Challenge is still on. It’s my turn and I have taste tested my recipe, but DD is a week behind, so we took a week off.
In September I mentioned that I had been to the doctor for two symptoms that I hoped were unrelated. I wrote a blog about my abdominal pain and how it had been resolved by making myself spend less time sitting at the computer.
The other symptom was a little bit of spotting. My doctor sent me for a sonogram, suspicious that my uterine wall was thickening. The sonogram showed everything was fine. However the sonogram showed something else that both the technician and the radiologist identified it as a fibroid. I thought that was good, because fibroids are almost never cancerous. After menopause they don’t give any trouble.
My doctor’s assistant wanted me to have an MRI. “Why,” I asked. “Just to be sure,” she said. “To be sure of what?” I asked. “Just to be sure,” she repeated. This was getting nowhere, so I asked her to send me a copy of the sonogram report.
When the report arrived it seemed pretty clear. My uterine wall measured normal, and they found a fibroid. But at the end it said, “MRI can be performed to find out if clinically warranted.”
I had not had any further spotting in several months, and I decided not to have the MRI.
I believe that doctors today over test. (Just to be clear, this is my personal, non-professional opinion. I have no idea what Dr. D thinks.) It is wonderful that medicine has advanced far beyond simple x-rays. Far better to get a good image of what is going on inside than to have exploratory surgery. But I have heard too many stories from friends who work in the medical profession. Many times tests are ordered because the doctor wants to live a more lavish lifestyle. Many times tests are ordered because the doctor or clinic is afraid of lawsuits.
One friend who works in a medical office joked that she spent a Saturday at a seminar on how to increase profits. She was taught how to nudge patients toward additional procedures that they didn’t need which would increase the clinic’s billing.
DD had to find a new dentist after she graduated. At her first appointment they told her they were going to do 16 x-rays. She said, “No. I just want my teeth cleaned.” They told her that if she didn’t have the x-rays they wouldn’t clean her teeth. She walked out of the office. It turns out that her dental insurance pays next to nothing for teeth cleaning, but it reimburses for x-rays. The doctor makes his income from unnecessary x-rays.
One year I was called back for two unnecessary mammograms because the clinic had bought new digital imaging equipment. I wasn’t supposed to know that, but one of the technicians let it slip.
On the other side, we have a friend who works in a hospital emergency room. It frustrates him that even when he knows what is wrong with a patient, the hospital requires tests for related symptoms - sometimes as many as ten tests. The hospital has learned from hard experience that a patient may come into the emergency room for one problem and leave with that problem with resolved. However, if a few months later they develop another problem, particularly if it is life threatening, they will sue the hospital for missing the second problem.
My father needed surgery for skin cancer when he was 90. It was outpatient surgery, but the dermatologist planned to use general anesthesia. No one wanted the responsibility for approving the procedure, so for weeks he was sent from one doctor to another for one test after another. All of the tests came out normal, but he never did have the surgery.
All of that played into my decision to decline the MRI. However, when I got my flu shot, I learned that I was over my deductible. I realized that if I had the MRI before the end of the year, it would be fully paid for by insurance. If I waited and started spotting again, I would have to start over again on my deductible. I had the test...and got the results this week.
Everything is normal. It’s the week before Thanksgiving, and I am thankful for the good results and thankful for the closure. But I still think doctors prescribe too many medical tests.
There has been a lot in the news about how today’s children do not want to eat healthy food. When Michelle Obama tried to mandate healthy meals in schools, the children (even improvised children on government programs) responded by throwing the food in the trash.
DD plans to breastfeed BC until he is one year old. She began introducing him to rice cereal, vegetables and fruit when he was 5 months old. She is making most of his baby food. As she has researched, she has turned up some interesting anecdotal evidence about how what babies eat impacts how picky they may be as children.
When babies are formula fed, all of their meals taste exactly the same. Parents mix the powder with water, and it is consistent, exactly the same every time. Breast milk is different. The flavor changes slightly depending on what Mom ate the day before. Sometimes it’s a little spicier, sometimes a little sweeter.
What mothers report is that formula fed babies are often less receptive to new tastes. They are more likely to resist eating solid food. As children they tend to find a few foods they like, and resist trying new things. They get labeled as picky eaters.
Mothers who breastfeed report that their children are curious about new tastes, and more likely to eat a variety of food. BC figured out how to open a zip lock bag of lettuce the other day. DD heard him say “mmmmmm” as he tasted the lettuce. He found the taste interesting - however DD had to quickly get a piece of lettuce out of his mouth because he doesn’t have teeth to chew it yet.
DD also read that it is fine to use spices in baby food. She has put cinnamon, ginger, currie, cumin, turmeric, paprika, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves, in BC's food. She also uses ghee and olive oil.
She is not using chili powder or pepper, because they are Type A avoids. She is not using onion or salt because they are not recommended for baby food. Rosemary, cilantro and other spices that come in bigger pieces she is postponing until he is ready for chunkier food. BC liked garlic, but every time DD mixed garlic powder in his food she said he, “reeked for the rest of the day.” So for now, she’s not giving him garlic.
So far BC likes the variety. Sometimes when she gives him a plain vegetable, he will eat half of a serving and then turn his head away. If she adds a little spice, he will start eating again. She changes things up for each meal, not wanting him to always associate a food with a certain flavor.
It would be hard to do a double blind study on this theory, because it would involve some children eating bland food as babies and perhaps growing up to be picky eaters. But I will keep you updated on this one particular baby as he grows into his toddler years.
It was DD's turn to pick a recipe in the Picky Eater Challenge. She sent this link for Quinoa Stuffing
I was out of quinoa, so I went to the Health Food Store on Friday. They had three brands of quinoa - all three were more than $7 a pound.
$7 a Pound!!!!
I've bought quinoa for years, and it's never been that expensive. What has happened? Was there a quinoa crop failure? Is inflation heating up? I walked out of the store without quinoa.
When I got home I went online. Amazon's quinoa was $10 - $13 a pound. Good grief! Several other companies where I shop appeared to have less expensive quinoa, until I noticed the packages were 12 ounces - clever marketing tactic, but I wasn't fooled.
Eventually I found quinoa for $5.66 on Vitacost. I ordered four bags.
I was excited about trying DD's recipe, and I didn't want to wait for the quinoa to arrive. I had millet in the pantry, so I substituted that.
I did not add any salt, and I didn't put in pine nuts. Other than that, I made it just like the recipe.
I didn't want to stuff a chicken or turkey just for my Honorable Husband and myself. So I cooked ground turkey and put it on top of the stuffing. Sort of like a layered casserole.
I'm from Texas, and in the South, when we say "stuffing" it is mostly bread, with a few vegetables for flavor. This was mostly vegetables and fruit with enough grain to give it substance.
The combination of onions, celery and apple gave it a sweet and tangy taste. Sort of like a sweet and sour sauce - but the cumin kept it from being remotely Asian. It was a unique flavor.
HH was watching a football game, so I was in another room reading. He came to find me, holding his empty bowl, and said "That was really good."
DD you picked a winner!
There are two things you need to know before you read this recipe.
First, while pumpkin is a beneficial food for my Type A Honorable Husband, he does not like it. He has never liked pumpkin pie, and he certainly does not like pumpkin as a vegetable.
Second, back in the 1960s, someone had the bright idea to treat acne with x-rays. HH was one of the teenagers given this treatment. The good news was it cleared up the acne. The bad news was that too much x-ray was found to cause cancer. For years HH has felt like his face was a ticking time bomb.
He had his first basal cell cancer removed about six years ago. This year’s visit to the dermatologist, discovered a second basal cell cancer. This time it was on his lip, so he was sent to a Mohs specialist in the city. If you are not familiar with the Mohs technique, I’ll explain in in non-scientific terms.
Instead of gouging out a cancer and hoping they get it all, the doctor has a pathology lab in his office. He removes a layer of cells and sends them immediately to the lab, while you read a book in the waiting room. If there are no cancer cells in the boundaries, they stitch you up and send you home. If they find cancer cells near the edges of the removed tissue, they take off another layer of cells and send it to the lab. In this way they take out the least amount of tissue necessary, yet are confident that they got all of the cancer cells associated with that spot.
HH was fortunate. The lab results after the first cut showed no cancer cells near the edges. However, since they had cut into his lip and stitched it up, he had to eat soft food for several days. I put his food through the blender, just like DD does when she makes baby food.
He really liked drinking his breakfast (granola, almond milk, and fruit) through a straw. Lunch and supper weren’t quite as appetizing, but certainly better than pain.
So, when I started looking for a recipe for the Picky Eater Challenge, it had to be something that I could put through the blender, but also be something with a texture that SIL, DD, and I would enjoy. I had some chicken already cooked, so I began reading through recipes in the BTD Recipe Database.
I stopped when I got to a recipe called Curried Chicken, when I saw pumpkin as an ingredient. The recipe says that the pumpkin is used to thicken the sauce. I hadn’t intended to be sneaky, but I knew that HH would never know he was eating beneficial pumpkin.
I made the recipe almost like it was written, except that I cut it in half. I used real garlic. I didn’t use salt, but I doubled the curry powder.
The pumpkin did indeed give a nice thick sauce without wheat or cornstarch! The orange color wasn’t particularly noticeable, because the curry powder would have made it orange anyway.
He ate Curried Chicken for one meal liquefied in the blender. He ate it for another meal over quinoa the day he got to take the bulky part of the bandage off. On a scale of 1-10, the highest score HH has ever given an entrée is an 8. He gave Curried Chicken a 7. I can’t wait to hear how SIL likes this recipe!
It was DD’s turn in the Picky Eater Challenge, and she chose a recipe on an interesting website called GNOWFGLINS — “God’s natural, organic, whole foods, grown locally, in season”
I’m going to post the two original links, then I’ll tell you how this recipe worked at my house.
My husband loves soup, but generally I do not. Because of that, I often choose the line of least resistance, and buy the healthiest canned soup I can find. Even the healthiest is high sodium, especially for someone on blood pressure medication.
I had read on the BTD website about bone broth, but had never tried it. I thought it might be a way to make low sodium soup, but I wasn’t sure how to start. I was intrigued that this recipe relied on bone broth to supplement the broth from the chicken.
My crockpot is an old 4 quart, and I bought one large 8 pound chicken. It was a tight fit. When I lifted the chicken out, the whole thing fell apart. The meat fell off the bones, the bones separated from each other. It was the tenderest chicken imaginable. The only problem was that when I debone a chicken, I anticipate where the small bones (like from the drumsticks) will be. I had to be extra careful since everything came apart so quickly.
I put the meat of the chicken in a bowl in the refrigerator. I threw away the skin - perhaps it would have helped the broth, but I didn’t want extra fat. I put the bones back in the crockpot and followed the directions for bone broth.
The recipe called for traditional vegetables. Onion, garlic, celery and carrots were good. But HH does not like English peas, and corn is an avoid food. I left those two out, and added fresh green beans instead. I decided to use brown rice instead of noodles.
We had the soup for dinner on Friday night. HH’s first impression was that it was too bland. He said he would eat it, but not to make it again. I suspected that he didn’t like this soup because it was not as salty as he was used to. On Saturday I bought Mrs. Dash No Salt Chicken Seasoning, and added more than two teaspoons to the remaining soup.
We had it again for lunch after church on Sunday. HH knew I had changed it, but he was surprised at his first taste. “On a scale of 1-10, it’s up to a 4,” he said. “I can make it a 5.” He got the tamari and added some to his soup. He smiled and said, “You can make this again.”
DD and I are looking for quick recipes. This is certainly not an impulse meal - - the crockpot ran for more than a day and a half and the pot on the stove for another hour. But my time preparing was minimal - putting the chicken in the crockpot, deboning the chicken, chopping vegetables.
I am happy to have tried bone broth and found it so easy to do in the crockpot. Straining the broth was much easier than I had imagined. I want to experiment more this winter with low sodium soups. I might even learn to enjoy them myself.