All Posts for March 2014

IT BETTER BE SPRING! April 2014

Monday, March 31st, 2014

I am working on my Home Page on a day when there is leftover snow from another small snowfall. So, the title comes from a conversation with my friend, Jerry Henkin, who is also going to California, as we are. By the time I return from visiting my kids in California, I told him Spring will be here and he said, It better be Spring! So, thanx, Jerry.

Thus, the flowers on the Home Page, courtesy of my friend Jo’s wonderful photos taken in Florida and made into greeting cards, is featured to prepare you for the lovely season of Spring, which is inching its way slowly up the east coast, I hope.

 

The Internet has a list of Bizarre and Unique Holidays (www.holidayinsights.com). Here it is:

  • National Humor Month
  • International Guitar Month
  • Keep America Beautiful Month
  • Lawn and Garden Month (See photo>>)
  • National Poetry Month
  • National Pecan Month
  • National Welding Month
  • Records and Information Management Month
  • Stress Awareness Month
  • Sexual Assault Awareness Month
  • National Poetry Month

The site also notes that April has several week holidays, such as Library Week* and Garden Week, as well as single days, such as National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day, National Walk to Work Day, and World Health Day (7th).  So there is a lot to choose from, and you are free to celebrate the ones that you like in your own fashion. *Celebrate National Library Week 2014 (April 13-19, 2014) with the theme Lives change @ your library, Honorary Chair: Judy Blume

But this site missed an important holiday: National Volunteer Month, which has been so named since 1974, under Pres. Nixon. I will have an article I wrote about my experience at MANNA, a non-profit organization that feeds chronically ill people whose nutrition is very compromised 21 meals each week for free.

 

What is also missing in the list is Earth Day 2014, which this year falls on April 22nd, so my focus this month will be on clean & green for the month of April to help you establish habits that are good for you & good for the planet. I would like to print a hint every day as part of Earth Day, Every Day, perhaps tacking it onto whatever posting will be that day and by itself when there is no regular posting.


 

Since I am going to be away from the end of March until April 7th, I don’t have anything definite planned, except perhaps to post-date some poems and petitions related to Earth Day to keep my blog updated while I am away. Also, during National Library Week I plan to post a book review, but haven’t chosen one yet. I will probably read one while I am away & review it when I return. So April is open-ended, which makes me anxious and excited at the same time, but I think I am up for the challenge.

Think Spring!

Right before leaving for our trip to California, my classmate, Mary Lou Meyers sent me this lovely poem, to which I am placing another of my friend Jo’s flowers that she photographs in Florida, where Spring has already arrived:


 

Spring in the North Woods
by Mary Lou Meyers

The cloudy sky, the bare outline of trees,
the snow still clinging to crevices and hollows below.
The first pale illumination of daffodils
barely breaks the monotone here in the North Woods.
It’s only when I arrange sprays of lilacs on my bay window
cut from bushes with abandon beauty
and watch the sharp relief:
the peeping sun ripples through the diamond facets
of the old cut glass vase turning lilacs into tinted hues
that repair the winter damage,
shattering the cold world into a bright testimony of Spring.

P.S. This is from the Phila. Inq. Cryptoquote of March 21st, perfect for the Home Page:

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” Margaret Atwood

THE FODMAP SOLUTION

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

Note: I recently reviewed this book on Amazon, but thought you might like to get the info from me firsthand.

 

The title is not an error, that is, it is not the Foodmap Solution. Instead,the letters are an acronym that stand for “Fermentable Oligosaccarides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polys.  Wikipedia helps unravel these words: (‘Disaccharide’ is one of the four chemical groupings of carbohydrates (monosaccharide, disaccharide, oligosaccharide, and polysaccharide).

But these scientific terms mean very little to me, so a better list are foods that contain these substances and they are listed in Chapter One:

  • lactose: milk and milk products
  • fructose: fruits, honey, and high fructose corn syrup
  • fructans: wheat, onions, and garlic
  • glactans: beans, lentils, soy
  • polys: stone fruits, avocados, and artificial sweeteners

This is quite a list and, at first glance, quite disturbing, because the list includes many of the foods people find wholesome, such as fruits, beans, and avocados. Most diets recommend avoiding highly processed foods, which this book does, but also includes what I consider whole foods.

FODMAP foods were identified in 2001 in Australia by a team of doctors. They found that there were certain individuals with gastrointestinal disorders and other digestive conditions that respond well by limiting foods that are high in FODMAPS. The book then lists 10 signs that you might have a digestive disorder such as: persistent abdominal pain or cramps, constipation/diarrhea, fever, bloating, gas, etc.

Before attempting this diet, check with your doctor, as the book recommends, to make sure you don’t have celiac disease (gluten intolerance), which requires a different diet and other modifications, such as eating smaller meals and stopping smoking. (These same guidelines apply to almost any healthful diet.)

What is interesting about this diet is that with a high-FODMAP issue, a food can be natural and organic and still be on the list, as I noted above, because, as the book notes, “FODMAPs are simply part of the structure of fruits, grains, vegetables, milk, and honey.”(p. 13)This quote is followed by a section in Chapter Two on questions and answers to determine if the FODMAP diet is for you. Then, in Chapter Three, the reader learns which foods to avoid or limit intake (ex. a small handful of berries).

After reading the list, I realized that the program is not all that difficult, unless the foods to avoid are among your favorites. (For ex., mangoes are on the fruits to avoid, and I love mangoes!) Eating small portions of the foods on your list seems to be the key, rather than eliminating them forever, as may be the case with severe food allergies.

Following some helpful lists of what to stock and how to eat out is a 14-day menu plan, which then leads into the recipes, which is the bulk of the book. The recipes are not weird. In fact, many appear to be like those you would find in specialty cookbooks, such as gluten-free ones. Here’s one that is similar to the crêpes I made from buckwheat flower when I worked at a restaurant in State College introducing a vegetarian menu.

 

Buckwheat Crêpes

4 large eggs
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
Pinch of sea salt
1 cup buckwheat flour
2 tablespoons coconut oil

1. Combine the eggs, almond milk, and salt. Add the buckwheat flour. Stir until smooth.

2. Heat a crepe pan or a small saute pan over medium high heat.  Add enough coconut oil to coat the pan lightly.

3. Drop about 1/3 cup batter into the pan. Swirl and tilt the pan to coat it evenly with the batter.

4. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the underside of the crêpe is golden, about 2 minutes. Flip the crepe over with a spatula and cook the second side for about one minute.

5. Transfer each crepe to a platter and keep warm while cooking the remaining  crêpes. Serve at once.

6. The  crêpes can be made in advance.  Separate the crepes with parchment paper before wrapping and storing them.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.  Makes 8 crêpes.

The notes also mention that you can fill them with your favorite fillings. (Just be sure they are not on the avoid FODMAP list.)
This recipe is meant for First Stage FODMAP,  which is the one in which is challenging because the list of acceptable foods is short and requires monitoring.  But this lays the groundwork for a more varied diet.  And that’s good food news!

The book is published by Shasta Press and costs$10.99. (paperback)

 

 

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