Health foodie: Finding the (pH) Balance in Your Food Relationship

Health foodie: Finding the (pH) Balance in Your Food Relationship

Spicy foods and I have had a long time love affair in our food relationship.  It seems that now we are at least on a separation if not headed for limited contact relationship.  Our relationship literally burns my heart, among other things.  Heart burn, acid reflux, and bile reflux are serious conditions that do more than irritate.  Due to high acid production, it can erode your digestive system from mouth to intestines.  It can be painful and may even cause esophageal spasms.  Not being able to use your esophagus sucks at the very least and scary at times.  To find balance in your food relationship, you need pH balance- acid vs alkaline.  This doesn’t mean acidic food are bad all together, many have amazing nutritional value and for some people, acidity is needed.  For us fiery, acidic bellies- we need to tone it down and tailor our relationship.

It’s starts with “we’re on a break.” For some time or all the time or on a limited basis you need to quit these foods: caffeine, citrus fruits, cocoa beans (coffee/chocolate), tomatoes, spicy, hot temps, high fats, processed, fried foods.  A relationship with a medical professional may help you decide what that relationship will look like.  These foods are either high in acid or cause more stomach acid production.  If you are extra sensitive then avoiding most fruits, gluten, dairy, and onions may be of benefit.

So now what do I eat?  I truly did have a spicy food addiction.  In treating and making new relationship routines I have become a humongous fan of oats.  I like oats before, but it’s a whole new love now.  Oats are excellent for regulating blood sugar among many things but for the sake of stomach acid- it absorbs acid and helps regulate the guts.  Every morning I have oatmeal with raw honey and sliced bananas.  Every. Freaking. Morning.  Raw honey, it HAS to be raw, has amazing healing properties and bananas are on the helpful with the acid list.  Ginger in tea or added to a meal is another pH balancing friend.  Probiotics like yogurt, kefir, and kombucha will tip the pH scale in your favor.  And veggies.  Veggies are alkaline which is the yin to acid’s yang so to speak, especially those greens and carrots.  Avocados, herbal teas, nuts, seeds, tofu, amaranth, and legumes are other alkaline options for daily contacts in your food relationship.

Love red sauces.  Me too! What do I do with tomato based sauces to combat acidity? Carrots.  These handy veggies in a puree aid in leveling out tomato’s acidity.  Cooking time is important too.  It need to be limited and I do not cook my sauces over thirty minutes.  More cook time, more acid.  Spices and herbs can contribute to raising the pH level.  An example is enchilada sauce.  I either eliminate the chili powder completely or reduce it, the up the cumin by half more.  This can be applied to any enchilada sauce recipe or pin you see.  Below I have included how I make my carrot puree plus a recipe for a reduced acid pasta sauce.  The carrot thing really does work.

Carrot Puree

2 carrots peeled and diced in 1 cup of water.  Cook until soft and blend or food processor until smooth.  You can double to make extra to store or freeze for later use.

Reduced Acid Pasta Sauce

  • 2 ( 29 oz) can of Tomato Sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup of carrot puree
  • 2 bay leaves (cue 90’s kid in school lunchroom memories)
  • 2 tablespoons basil
  • 1 tablespoon oregano

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Cooking: measure it, dump it, stir it, and cook on medium heat for about 30 minutes.

You can cook longer if you can stand higher acidity.  TBH- I love longer cooked sauces; however, they are not loving me back at the moment.  Care for your gut as it cares for the rest of you.

Please like share or pass along!

Namaste

That Gut Feeling: Recipe Add Ons

That Gut Feeling: Recipe Add Ons

Summer time is our busiest; however, for many this is the reverse when school starts.  To keep that amazing gut feeling in your food life we have a couple of recipes to add to the food relationship.   These recipes at substance, healing power necessary to sustain you, but not weigh you down either.   I find veggies and herbs are an excellent way to get the nourishment without a heavy gut discussion afterwards. These recipes of my favs in the food relationship, nourishes well and not complicated.

Mediterranean Inspired Pasta Dish- aka “I’m obsessed with olives and herbs”

Feed approximately 4 people

Ingredients

  • Pasta or “Pasta”: (pictured) g-free linguine or zoodles, linguine, fresh pasta, etc.  12 oz pasta or 2 zucchini
  • Olive oil 2-3 tbsp
  • Garlic cloves: 3 cloves, diced
  • Fresh parsley: about 1/2 cup chopped (optional add in dried parsley 2 tbsp)
  • Green olives: 1/2 cup diced
  • Roma tomatoes, 3 diced
  • Shredded parmesan cheese

Cooking

  1. For packaged pasta cooked as directed and set aside.  For zoodles, saute in 2 tbsp of butter for about 5 minutes or soft and firm.
  2. In a skillet pour in olive oil, garlic and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes
  3. Add in diced tomatoes, green olives (if using dried parley add here) and cook for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add in pasta or “pasta” and fresh parsley.  Cook for about 3 minutes
  5. Plate and mix in parmesan cheese in preferred amounts (I love cheese, no judgement from me)

Pasta and veggies are a favorite combo but I love tzatziki like none other, that with grilled veggies and flat bread, it’s an upbeat gut feeling.

Grilled veggies with Rosemary Flat Bread, Tzatziki Sauced

Feeds 4-5 people

Minus picky veggie eaters

Ingredients

Rosemary Flat Bread

  • Gluten free all purpose or Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 flour (g free),  all purpose flour (for g)
  • Dried Rosemary  2 tbsp
  • Garlic, 2 cloves diced
  • 1 egg
  • Baking powder 1 1/2 tsp
  • 2 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • Olive oil

Cooking flat Bread

  1.  Preheat oven to 400ºF
  2. Mix dried ingredients first (flour, rosemary, baking powder, garlic)
  3. Stir in egg and milk
  4. Slowly pour half the water in to mix.  Each flour is different and some absorb water more that others.  As you mix, slowly add in the rest of the water.  Stop when the ingredients are mixed well but the dough isn’t sticky.  If it does’t become sticky, add a touch more flour.
  5. Drizzle olive oil on a baking sheet (it can be placed on a baking stone with no oil)
  6. Take a 1/2 cup size portion, roll into a ball and press flat.  All of this can be done with your hands.  No other tools required.
  7. Bake flat bread for 8-10 minutes on each side.

Just the Basics Tzatziki Sauce

Ingredients

  • plain Greek yogurt 5 oz
  • Dill, dried  1 tsp
  • lemon juice 1 12 tsp

Cooking

  1.  Mix all ingredients together and let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours

“Grilled” Veggies

Ingredient

  • Zucchini  2, sliced long ways
  • Yellow squash 2, sliced long ways
  • Tomatoes on the vine 4, cut into quarters
  • Mushrooms 8 oz
  • Fresh oregano  1/2 cup chopped
  • Fresh parsley 1/2 cup chopped
  • olive oil
  • Optional addtions: olives (yes plz), red onion, eggplant, bell peppers, carrots

Cooking

There are two options here.  Throw it on the grill or bake.  Since our grill is O-3 (out of order) these directions are for baked.  I know the ultra professional tip is to give temperatures but if I’m honest-  I forget half the time (ADHD). Much of our relationships don’t have measuring tools, cooking veggies can be one of those instances.

  1. Oven preheated to 375ºF
  2. Drizzle olive oil on a baking sheet then lay out veggies on baking sheet(s).  Zucchini and squash cook the fastest, place them together.  Place tomatoes and mushrooms together as well.
  3. Sprinkle chopped oregano and parsley over veggies.
  4. Put in tomatoes and mushrooms first.  They need a good 15 minute head start.
  5. After 15 minutes place zucchini and squash. Cook an additional 10 minutes.
  6. Check veggies to make sure they are soft but firm to touch with a fork.  Or knife. Please don’t use your fingers.  Trust me.

Now.

Throw it all together in any combo you like.

Cooked veggies are easy to digest.  With herbs, vegetables reduce inflammation from gut to brain.  Grain sustains and adds fuel.  It’s a food relationship to satisfy and provide great gut feelings.  Come back next week for simple ways to deal with the aches and “pains in the neck.”  Subscribe and then your tools for an exceptional life comes to you. 🥘💌

Namaste 🥙🥐🍽

P.S. I am not a fan of spam- the “meat” or email.  Pinky-promise for only the good stuff- no email, app, or phone invasions.

Aside

The Fluidity in Your Food Life

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This morning I checked out the 4th forecast and out came a deep groan.  Today hit over 100 ° F by eleven am; the festivities in a couple of days are predicted to be the worst.  The solar energy, vitamin D boost, sweat cleanse, and family time are the positives I am desperately going to hold on too.  Cling on too.  We will be armed with tons of sunblock, light clothing, and hydration for the negatives.  The state of dehydration affects your entire body and mind.  We must be prepared. However,  hydration is more than just the intake of fluids.  It’s how much, what you take, and what you eat.

How much water should you drink? National Academy of Science Engineering Medicine   gives guidelines on how much fluids you should take in at the very least.  According to the site, I just carry around a bottle all day because I need to take in around twelve eight ounces per day.  Food can count!  Some conditions require more fluid intake such as activity and heat,  Center for Disease, Control, and Prevention outlines other reasons.  Know and watch your fluid intake.

lime cocktail drink with two straws
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What about what you drink?  Plain water for the most part is best but doesn’t have to be the only means of fluids.  There are some you need to limit or completely avoid.  Sugary drinks such as juices and sodas needs to be limited in down, cool periods all the time.  In hot temperatures or activity, it needs to be avoided.  This goes for caffeine and alcohol too.  A non- synthetic dye water flavor may help you achieve your hydration goal.  I love herbal teas and I have been drinking lot on ice lately.  Infused water is an excellent way to make fluids enjoyable and reach those next goals in what to eat for hydration.

 

What can I eat to hydrate?  Your food life is two fold on hydration.  You can eat foods loaded with water.  You need to eat consistently to help your body absorb, hold, and use water better.

These foods have a considerable amount of water in them

  • oranges
  • zucchini
  • cucumbers
  • tomatoes
  • cantalope
  • strawberries
  • watermelon
  • celery
  • grapefruit
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Photo by Trang Doan on Pexels.com

Sports drinks are known to help with hydration and keeping hydration in short periods.  The main reason are electrolytes.  In a simplistic term, electrolytes are salts in the form of minerals that help with hydration and cleanse your bodily systems.  The electrolytes you need are sodium, potassium, bicarbonate, chloride, calcium, phosphates.  You can eat these easily.

Foods rich in most or all needed electrolytes

  • White beans
  • Dairy- yogurt/ kefir particularly
  • Fish- especially salmon
  • Dark chocolate
  • Whole grains
  • Seeds
  • Nuts- especially almonds and walnuts
  • Dark greens- notably kale, broccoli, edamame, bok choy, spinach, chard
  • Tofu
  • Baked goods with baking soda
  • Fruids: Bananas, water melons,
  • Avocado
  • Sweet potato
  • Coconut water
  • Tomato
  • Egg plant

Each of these foods offer it’s unique contribution.  A rotation/combination of each offers the best impact.  Drink and eat to keep your body and mind at it’s best, certainly in the scorching sun.

close up photography of eyeglasses on pineapple
Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Namaste and be fluid

 

Aside

Health Foodie, the Moody Eater

Your mental health to function at it’s best requires a multi-faceted care routine.  Physical activity is one essential part.  The input of human connection is another.  Your brain needs creative exercises.  Self care is important.  Proper sleep is crucial.  Professional support may become part too.   Our food relationship plays into our mental well being too.    At times our emotions start to over ride the food choices we make, “eating your feelings” or “moody eating.” This can lead to body and mental harming decisions.  Or it could be telling us something important we need.  What if you could flip your food life and eat for your moods?  Give your brain and nerves what they need ahead of time and enhance their function.

When you eat for your brain,  think “whole rainbow.” If it doesn’t require an ingredient list or has very few ingredients, eat it.  Avoid chemical, dyes, etc as much as possible.  They can harm your physical body then affect your mental health.  Then aim for variety in fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains.  Super food is a gimmick.  There are some foods like avocados, spinach, kale, berries that are dense in nutrients.  More bang for your buck.  But their impact on your health is limited if you limit what you eat with them.  The variety doesn’t have to be daily and balance is key.  Eat seasonal or rotate.  For us this week it’s mangoes, pineapple, tomatoes, carrots, cauliflower, green lettuce.  Next week will be a different story.  Go “whole rainbow.”

This is where my food life gets serious.  I LOVE herbs and spices. Recently, a well meaning comment was made on a food item not having any flavor because it didn’t have salt.  No salt doesn’t have to mean no flavor. We have much work to do in our food life if we believe that.  Seasoning is more than flavor.  Just as your food is rich in brain and nervous system nutrients, herbs can do the same.  The herbs used in the recipes/ideas below have a variety of key nutrient players for mental wellness.  We will cook with chives, parsley, ginger, dill, and garlic.  These offer magnesium, iron, choline, potassium, calcium, vitamin C,  copper, and zinc.  All of these are important for your mental functionality.   I come across magnesium and zinc often as natural options people use for mental wellness.   Three out of six of our household members take magnesium for mental focus and help with migraines as a part of our medical conversations and care routines. Do caution with mixing with other meds and zinc should by food digestion only; just because it’s on a OTC shelf doesn’t mean it’s safe.  Other herbs and spices help with brain and nerve function: rosemary, basil, cinnamon, peppermint, lavender, bay leaf, etc.

Let’s start with the A.M.  Eggs and I have a love hate/relationship.  I love eggs, the yolk hates me back.  Pictured are egg whites due to this relationship but this works with scrambled eggs/omelet too.  It’s as easy adding a teaspoon of dill/ teaspoon of chives to your eggs while cooking.  You can do fresh herbs.  In this case I did dried dill and 3 chive stalks chopped.   Chives give a onion taste (similar to a green onion)  with dill adding lively flavor.  Another way to take your A.M. lightly.

This dish can go so many ways.  The base consists of lightly cooked veggies such as zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, onion, bok choy, etc.  I cooked them in a tablespoon of butter with two cloves of garlic chopped and 2 teaspoons of ground ginger.  Not all veggies require the same amount of cooking.  Carrots, onion, mushrooms take longer.  After cooking five to seven minutes, add in things like zucchini and bok choy to cook a few minutes more.  You can add rice, I chose rice noodles.  Often I leave meat out of this part of the food relationship.  However, meat can be added.  I broke the routine by adding teriyaki marinated chicken in this case.

In all honesty, I thought all my children would hate this following meal.  Redreignofterror did not disappoint but the feedback I got wasn’t half bad.  The adults loved it.  This adult loved the simplicity and cheese.  Watching fats and getting in the good fats are important.  This was part of a day with very low fat.  A creamy, cheesy meal was well deserved.  Herbs make the encounter interesting with a balanced, light flavor.

A couple of notes about the recipe.  Dried herbs can replace fresh ones. I seriously did put in a packaged food.  I truly did not feel like cooking and chopping bacon, I don’t like grease or touching grease.  However, bacon can be cooked and chopped instead of the suggested ingredient. Dealers choice.

cheesy herb cauliflower and blt salad

I am currently glued to culinary videos and trying out new recipes.  Look out for more recipes and ways to liven up your food life soon.

Namaste in your mental health and food life journey

No Salt Added- Spice Up Your Food Life

No Salt Added- Spice Up Your Food Life

Healthy food and meals can loose their excitement.  Especially when you take away the fats, sugar, and salt.  Wait, I am to entice you to eat healthy. Hang with me.  Decades ago salt was left by the way side as a  primary means to flavor food for me.   We are in deep with spices and herbs.  By this I mean I get way too excited when they go on sale and enjoy picking them out.  I am in deep.  I love the choices, options, and various ways to can make different flavor profiles.  I love that my food doesn’t taste bland and doesn’t cause me to bloat (salt does! bastard).  Even better, this is a friends with benefits relationship.  Most spices reduce inflammation which benefits your digestive system, joints, muscles, heart, and brain.  Brain and body love.  Certain herbs aid in memory and concentration, are rich in vitamins (some even have iron!), boost immune systems, and fight free radicals with antioxidants.  If you are not familiar with free radicals, those are the bullies who pick on your healthy cells which may lead to cancer.   You are constantly surrounded by free radicals. Herbs are a great free radical bully buster.  Food love with benefits.

There are some things you need to know.  Some spices and herbs may not be safe if you have diabetes or high blood pressure.  Most help with that but a few may need to be run by your doctor.  This is noted with that particular spice and herb below.  Please practice spice safety.  Herbs come in two forms: still looks like the plant (fresh) or confetti (dried).  Dried herbs store for longer periods of time and organic in a glass container is recommended.  Dried herbs are in the spice aisle and fresh herbs are in the produce section (in a bunch you bag or in a plastic container).  Spices can be whole or ground.  I haven’t picked a side and don’t see a reason too.  I am passionate about trying to stick with glass and organic when possible.  Dried spices and herbs are more at home in a dry, cool place.  They don’t do well in direct sunlight.  Let them live their vampire existence in a dry cabinet away from heat.

Now the good stuff. I kept this list basic with it’s benefits, draw backs, flavor profiles, and what I use them in.  Have at it.

Spices

 

 

 

 

 

 

Herbs

That’s the short list.  These are common in many recipes which gives you a great base for cooking.  As you expand you will find there is so much more love out there.

Namaste and rekindle the food love

Aside

Health Foodie & Veggie Relationships: Let Them Love You Back

I like flexibility in my food relationships.  Could this be a fajita? A wrap? Ditch the tortilla for a salad? Add some spices for Italian flare? It all depends on what the mood today.  Buying a  few, key ingredients that work in multiple ways can be a powerhouse to you and your budget.  Freshness variety is great.  Too much variety of perishables in a small window of time can be costly and if you can’t eat it all before expiration, wasteful.  It’s about intent.  This list can have a few additions and be used in multiple ways for delicious health.

The Core List:

Bell Peppers

Mushrooms

Roma tomatoes

Spinach

Green Onion

Kale

What you can add on for flavor variety

  1. Lightly cook peppers with mushrooms.  Then put on a couple corn tortillas with a half to a full ounce of neufchatel cream cheese on each tortilla.  Add red pepper flakes, a few slices of avocado, and the rest of the veggies. Corn tortillas and neufchatel cream cheese are lower in fat and calories.  
  2. Roast veggies-  add black beans with salsa, a half cup of brown rice.
  3. Light roast veggies with 1 tablespoon of oregano and basil with two cloves of garlic; add whole grain pasta with a light butter sauce
  4. Lean meat the size of your hand palm to numbers 1-3 like chicken breast, 90% beef, ground turkey or chicken.
  5. Breakfast: lightly roast veggies and add egg/egg whites, lean bacon or sausage

Caution:

Be good with your tortilla, rice, and pasta carbs.

You need carbs within the suggested serving.

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These veggie combos love you much.  Most the vegetables contain vitamin Bs which makes your calorie fuel burn better.  Vitamin Bs and magnesium are essential for nerve function thus your brain, they have that too.  Eat it now to help with focus and handling stress later.  Quite a bit of these veggies are packed with antioxidants, especially vitamins E & A.  This means reduced cancer risk and help with the fight in aging at the very least.  Vitamin C dominates in this group and brings more than immune boost to the table.  C also plays a vital role in helping to absorb other vitamins and minerals.  We could go all day about nutritional value in this list, but take this start.  Work your short list for the long list of total body benefit.

Please leave a comment on the veggie you love/tolerate and the ones on your black list. Me: spinach and I have a love affair.  Brussel sprouts are earning my trust.  I become faint by smell of cooked turnip greens.  

Namaste and Let Your Veggies Love You