Categories: Kristin's Earlier Blogs, About Kristin
Last weekend, I began to feel the dregs of summertime cooking. Tired of fresh, but simply prepared meals, I decided to make a couple of quiches for dinner. My sons requested a quiche with bacon in it, and since I use spelt flour for the pastry (spelt flour makes a flaky, tender crust, by the way) and omit the cream, I acquiesced on the bacon. The other quiche was broccoli with lots of freshly minced garlic.
A few hours later, having eaten both types of quiche, I began to feel the familiar pangs of indigestion. I was taken aback - I had never experienced any type of discomfort with bacon before, and hadn’t consumed any other avoids in my meal. Several digestive enzyme tablets later, I pieced together the puzzle; it wasn’t the bacon after all. No, it was the garlic.
The last several years, I have been noticing in the back of my mind that I am developing an intolerance for garlic, particularly fresh garlic. I say ‘back of my mind’ because I don’t want to admit this is true. I use fresh garlic as a flavoring in many prepared dishes and also medicinally for respiratory infections, among other things. One of my favorite beverages for congestion is what my naturopath calls a “hot toddy” - juice of half a lemon, one clove freshly minced garlic, a pinch of cayenne pepper, all in a mug of boiling hot water and sweetened to taste with honey. So warming! So healing! So not to be anymore! I’ve been in denial for quite some time but now I need to come clean: I can no longer eat garlic as freely as I’d like.
So, what is it in garlic that I react to? Now that is a good question. I wish I had an answer for you... and me!
Not one of my herbals, and I have several, mention any type of reaction or toxicity associated with garlic. Not one. Hmmm... They do expound freely on the glories of garlic, however, and all its many healing properties. A search on the web yielded similar results. And yet, in all the websites devoted to indigestion or GERD, garlic was at the top of the list as a causative for indigestion. Am I missing something here?
I’m going to take a stab in the dark and say its the allicin that is “created” in garlic that gives rise to digestive ailments. Garlic contains a sulfur-based compound called allin and an enzyme called allicinase. When a clove of garlic is cut, the allin comes into contact with allicinase and makes allicin, a pungent compound responsible for garlic’s odor and lovely bite. This is why and an uncut bulb or clove has no smell. The interesting part is that the amount of allicin produced is directly dependent on the amount of cutting the clove has received - sliced garlic has the least, minced garlic the most. This also affects the flavor; slicing garlic produces a mild flavor since only a small amount of allicin is produced, mincing provides more allicin and thus, more flavor. Heat breaks down the enzyme allicinase which is why roasted garlic has such a different and mild flavor.
Now you know more about the chemical properties of garlic than I bet you ever dreamed you would! I have noticed that the longer garlic is cooked, the less pain and bloating I experience. This of course translates into less flavor, less medicinal properties, etc.
I have decided long ago that it is always best to listen well to the messages my body sends, and this case is no exception.
And so, Dear Garlic, I bid thee adieu and fare thee well...
An uncharacteristic cold snap has brought a few days of rainy, gloomy, and chilly weather. As the temperatures plummeted, so did my health and mood; and not necessarily in that order.
I really dislike that “off” feeling, you know, not quite sick but definitely not well either. You know your body is working something through: glands swollen, scratchy throat, digestive disturbances, lethargy...but not quite sick enough to spend time in bed. Just an all around blah feeling with nothing to do but wait for it to pass.
So I’ve been drinking ginger tea, spending time indoors reading, practicing stillness...
Perhaps my body is just letting me know it needs some down time.
I have been keeping up with the Olympic coverage and I agree with Linda Wells that the women gymnasts bodies look unnatural. In fact, I think the whole sport of women’s gymnastics has lost its beauty, elegance and grace in the name of strength and power. The gymnasts have difficulty even executing a simple pirouette! But, remember, this commentary is coming from the heart of a dancer so I naturally miss the dance elements.
Even though I enjoy watching people excel in sports, and many deserved kudos to our Olympic athletes and Lance Armstrong among others, what I want to know is this:
Is there anyone out there who can beat Ken Jennings???
I can’t wait to find out.
I recently realized that it has been quite some time, years actually, since I studied the beneficial food lists for B secretors. I know the avoids quite well, thank you very much, but hadn’t thought much about emphasizing the beneficials, let alone the 70/30 ratio of bene’s to neutrals that is considered optimum. So, I got out my dog-eared copy of Live Right to review the beneficial listings and test to see if any of my usual foods were actually beneficial. And I prepared myself to fail miserably.
Surprise!! Not only were most of my favorite foods in the beneficial category, almost ALL of the foods I consume on a regular basis are beneficial. I hadn’t realized that. Then I reviewed: of the beneficials, which ones don’t I eat. Hmmm...some interesting findings here...
Of the beneficial fruits and vegetables, the only ones I never eat are collard greens and papaya; I don’t know how to cook collard greens and I just don’t like papaya. All the others are regulars with the exception of shitake mushrooms, mustard greens which I love but aren’t often available, cabbage, which I use on occasion... and beets.
Now beets are an interesting story. I enjoy beets quite a bit but I live with a family of males whose urine turns red after eating beets. Every time I prepare beets for a meal, I tell the menfolk, “Now remember, if your pee is red in the next day or two, it is from the beets".
They never remember.
After several times of frantic-looking faces in the day following beet consumption, and constant reminders, “You had beets for dinner last night... remember?”, I’ve decided it’s just not worth the stress.
The only oil I buy is olive oil and I use it for all baking, cooking...everything. I thought I wouldn’t like the distinctive olive taste in baked goods, but it isn’t noticeable.
Grains, beans, and nuts: I eat all of the beneficials; I even eat black walnuts when my father brings me a bag he has gathered, although this is admittedly a rare occurrence.
Dairy: I do have difficulty with goat’s milk and goat cheese; I think it is an acquired taste and I am making numerous attempts to acquire it... All the others are high on my list except farmer’s cheese, paneer (what’s that?), and kefir. Now, I don’t know why I stopped buying kefir. I really do like it. When my boys were toddlers, I put kefir in juice bar molds and froze for delicious yogurt pops...sounds good, doesn’t it? I just might have to take that up again.
Now we come to meat and fish... The only beneficial meat I eat is lamb. And of the plethora of beneficial fish, I eat salmon, halibut, and sardines, and sometimes cod, sole and mahimahi. I can take amnesty in my lack of fish consumption, living far from the ocean there just isn’t much fresh fish for sale, and the fish that is available has not seen the water in several days. But I really do feel the need to experiment more with beneficial meat, like rabbit and venison... particularly after my last blog on the glory of protein.
Well, there you have it. I sure learned something. Without thinking about it, the BTD has become a way of life, structuring my choices from backstage. I remember making small choices along the way... learning how to substitute spelt for wheat in recipes, figuring out what vegetables my type A husband and I CAN eat together and emphasizing those in meals, eating oats or millet for breakfast instead of boxed cereals, ground turkey for beef... but I don’t remember when it coalesced into a whole.
So, if you are struggling with making BTD changes to your lifestyle...Take Heart! It’s the small changes that add up over the long haul. And perhaps some day, you too, will realize that the BTD has become a way of life without much effort.
That is my name for this end of summer time of year; when the shadows begin to lengthen, the light from the sun softens, birds have stopped singing so exuberantly in the early mornings, leaves are just now becoming flushed with tinted yellow on their edges... I remember an interview with beloved children’s author, Tasha Tudor, a few years back. She lives, writes, and gardens on a secluded piece of property in the woodlands of New England. The interviewer asked her what is the first sign that heralds the end of summer where she lives. Tasha thought for a moment and responded, “The song of the crickets begins to shorten.”
I envy her. I thought then, and still do now, how marvelous it must be to live so closely tuned to the natural world.
I try to savor this shifting of the shadows season; it passes by so quickly.
And on its heels comes ”back to busy-ness” for me.
My children return to school this week, work is gearing up with promoting our new season, many performances to attend, functions to schmooze at, endless networking, grants to write, meetings, meetings, and more meetings... all of which challenge my compliance with this blood type diet I have chosen to embrace in my life. Remember... it is always a choice.
I have found, and perhaps you have too, that I am able to resist tempting avoids when my protein needs are adequately met. I need protein. Good, high quality protein. My body sings when I have enough protein. And I need protein frequently, not large amounts, but at least at every meal and one or two protein snacks during the day. On the rare occasion that I find myself needing protein with no ”good” protein available, I eat what I can get. Yes, even chicken. My bodily needs for protein outweigh my desire to be compliant. But I do make every attempt to ensure that this is indeed a rare occurrence.
So, I am going to take time now to make sure I have available fast, easy, and portable sources of protein. My favorites are tamari roasted almonds, small containers of yogurt, usually vanilla or lemon flavors, the sugary fruit-at-the-bottom ones are too sweet for me and the sugar seems to nullify the boost from the protein, and cans of sardines packed in olive oil - even though I like the brisling variety, the skinless and boneless type is kinder to the breath which the general public will thank you for.
And I will be sure to relish this favorite season of mine. Maybe, if I attend closely enough, I’ll hear the change in the cricket’s song.
I had to drop off some artwork for work at a graphic artist in Manitou Springs this morning, which is just a mile or so from the Barr Trail trailhead. Barr Trail is the trail that ascends Pikes Peak. It has been almost 15 years since I hiked on this trail, but since I was in the area, I decided to give it a whirl.
So, after a high protein breakfast of two turkey sausage patties, yogurt with fresh peaches and 1/4 cup ground golden flax seed, a piece of Ezekiel toast spread with all time favorite Four Fruit Conserve and a mug of my new found love, ginger tea, the boys and I headed off for our errand, and then our climb.
Barr Trail has the greatest base to summit climb in all of Colorado with an elevation gain of over 7000 feet. It is 11.65 miles long. One way. And the first part of the trail is considered one of the steepest sections with 13 awesome switchbacks.
We began hiking late morning which, temperature wise, is not the best. It was ‘melt the soles off your shoes’ hot out there. Because of the heat, I promised the boys we would only climb up for an hour before turning back.
So we began, counting the switchbacks along the way. There is no other word for it but grueling. Yet I didn’t really notice how steep the climb was until reaching a clearing and realizing how high up we were.
At exactly one hour from starting, we just finished the last of the 2 miles of switchbacks. From there the trail levels out for a bit, passes under a rock tunnel, traipses through an open grassy meadow... much more pleasant and less of a grunt.
However, we choose grunt over pleasant and turn to go back down the grueling trail. Usually, it takes only half the time of the ascent to descend, this trail took much longer. Going down, I really felt the steepness, a thigh burner for sure.
At the bottom of the trail I saw a sign announcing the days of the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon races were about a week and a half away. Yes, there is a 26 mile marathon that covers the ascent and descent of Pikes Peak, the Ascent race just runs up the mountain. Most male marathoners make it up and down the mountain in about 3.25 hours, women in about 4.5 hours. I can’t even wrap my mind around that one. Check out pikespeakmarathon.org for info on this amazing race.
Back at home and we have a late lunch of turkey hot dogs with pickle relish and Lowensenf, a German hot mustard that will burn new openings in your sinuses, all wrapped in a spelt tortilla, Yum!! And my head feels oh so much clearer too! I also have a Ginger Gold apple from Austin Farms, a local organic orchard. So wonderful to eat a really fresh apple again that hasn’t been in storage for months.
The rest of the afternoon I spent back at the computer. We’re gearing up for our new season that coincides with the start of school mid August and I am working on going to press with the brochure. After hiking, I feel perfectly content to sit at the keyboard for awhile... Ah, the sweet joy of stillness.
Postscript... In my last blog I mentioned hiking at Horsethief Falls. At the start of that trailhead I saw a man taking a picture of himself in the parking lot. I immediately recognized him as Steve Garufi who has a blog called Colorado Guy and his website is, you guessed it, coloradoguy.com. Anyway, being the obnoxious boor that I am, I yell out “Hey, Colorado Guy, How’s it goin’!” He graciously smiled at me and said the hike up the falls is beautiful (which it is). Anyway, true to form, Steve has pics from his hike at Horsethief Falls posted on his website. So you can see pictures of Horsethief Falls and Horsethief Park taken on the same day that I was there. How’s that for timing!
OK, so it isn’t that exciting but I thought it was pretty cool.