Thursday, April 10, 2014

Coconut Milk

My friend, Ku'ulei, shared with me a great new coconut knife she bought on  Amazon. Now mind you, I haven't had my own in the husk coconut for, I would say, years. Seriously. I mean living in the mountains where not a coconut tree is in sight, well, it isn't my first priority. But show me a kitchen gadget that you think works miracles and I am there. Like a bear. It's an illness. Don't judge. So what do I do? I go straight to Amazon, order the knife, and then proceed to find coconuts.


That's the beauty of friends in low places (as in ocean dwelling peeps). It was just a matter of days before 3 coconuts, unhusked, appeared on my doorstep. Or desk, in my case. And so it goes.

With knife in hand, and a handy dandy husband to do the husking (in true Polynesian style...with a pick axe), I began to remove the meat from the shell. And then what would any first time coconut milk maker do? Ask friends and go to youtube and google. And thanks to my good friend, Ku'u, and youtube, I was able to produce the freshest, most delicious-est coconut milk, made from my own hands. In a relatively short period of time. Thanks to my kitchen gadgets, the coconut knife and vitamix, and with the help of a milk bag, which is not technically a gadget but sort of is. I bought it months and months ago thinking one day I would make a nut milk (think almond) but didn't. Yay me again.

And now I have fresh coconut milk in my fridge (to add to smoothies) and in my freezer (to cook with).

Oh, and get this...I took the leftover coconut bits (oh and believe me, with a vitamix, it is little itty bitty bits), and dried them in a low temp oven (175 degrees) and I am going to turn it into coconut flour. Don't ask me what I am going to do with it, but I will do something. Because I can.


Coconut meat de-shelled

Throw it all in the vitamix

Add hot water and whirl away

Pour whirled coconut "milk" into the milk bag

Isn't it beautiful?

There is it! Three coconuts produced one pitcher plus about 3 cups I froze


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Week 1 - CHECK!

Wow. I have completed one whole week on ETL. No oil, sugar, salt. No meat, dairy, refined grains. And I didn't starve. I ate a lot.

True confessions: I went to a party, and saw ham. On the bone kine ham. I heart that kind of ham. On round one, I passed it. On round two I looked around, I grabbed a small piece, put it in my mouth. And chewed. And then felt guilty. And spat it into a napkin. And continued on my merry way. Then I passed the dessert table and took a piece of the haole brownies I made. And I did the SAME THING! Like I didn't learn my lesson the first time! Spat it out. Lesson now officially learned. I figured if I kept it up the next step would be bulimia and I don't want to go there!

In this first week, I learned that having a network of family and friends along for the ride is a great incentive. Being accountable to a like community makes a difference for me. I learned how to use soy curls and make coconut milk. I learned that prepping my own meals is way safer than eating out. And I learned that if I can do one week, I can do two.

Good luck to all in week two.



Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Day 2 - Oh Yeah!

Another successful day. For breakfast: Acai bowl with toppings (this time included pomegranate whatever those bits are called which they sell in the frozen fruit section of Costco. I have never ever purchases a pomegranate and have only eaten them on rare occasions, which does not include the most delicious pomegranate margaritas that Hilo Bay Cafe used to make).

I do need to stop eating so many nuts in the mornings but I just love them so! I try not to eat them at other times during the day. 

For dinner, I made a curry stew using potatoes, cauliflower, baby carrots, celery, onion, and a can of garbanzo beans. To this I added a can of stewed tomatoes, a can of coconut milk and then a tsp or so of curry powder, turmeric, and cumin. I put it in a slow cooker. It was delicious. Maybe next time I will add the coconut milk in at the end or a half hour before the end. It curdled a bit but the taste was still there.


So day 2 is complete. How did you do?

Monday, March 31, 2014

Day 1 - Soft Opening

You know, just like a new restaurant opening before the grand opening just to try things out? That's me. Today. For Eat to Live. Several of my friends are starting today but I wanted to wait until April 1. Except I want to ease into the ETL of tomorrow by ETL'ing today. Only thing different is that I am having a "last hurrah" this evening with a girlfriend of mine which may (most likely) include a couple margaritas. Oh yeah.

But I'll just make pretend tonight isn't going to happen and let you know that this morning I made a thick smoothie (using my magic bullet) using 1 apple banana, 1 packet of acai (from Costco) and coconut milk (also from Costco in a 2 pack 1/2 gallon box. Yum).  I poured that in a bowl (a bit too runny but I am still mastering the acai bowl thing) and topped it with mac nut bits, chia seeds, cranberries and goji berries. Yum.

For lunch I had romaine lettuce, a couple slices of tomatoes and sliced raw mushrooms. Enough to hold me over for an hour or so. Then I had a mountain apple and two cuties (the citrus fruit, people, don't get crazy).

For dinner, I had a couple of red potatoes, a few pieces of beets and made a delicious pesto dressing with pesto, dates for sweetness, lemon juice, nutritional yeast and coconut milk. It turned out yummy for an ad lib dressing.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Here We Go Again

I know, it's been a while. Okay. A ridiculous amount of time has passed. Good news: I can pretty much still fit in the same clothes that I bought after my initial ETL (Eat to Live) adventure. Bad news: my body aches. Sitting or lying down for a few minutes (or hours) and then getting up is difficult. I am battling neural foraminal stenosis (narrowing of something where my nerves are in my lower back) which means my lower back really hurts, my leg now hurts and sometimes my leg goes numb. I now have appointments at a pain clinic, a physical therapist and a neuro-surgeon. Yup. Good times.

I am convinced that eating plants will help my back. Or at least the aches and pains I have been experiencing lately. And don't think that I totally fell of the wagon and have been eating crap but I'll admit that I am not the 80/20 that I should be. I would venture to say I am 50/50. Not good enough for me.

So...
Tomorrow is my "soft start" (I have a "date" with a bff that is sure to include a glass or two of wine). April 1 I am going full fledged eat to live until May 13 and then beyond.

To prepare I went grocery shopping to load up on fruits and veggies. I am armed with a new pressure cooker to assist in the evening preparations (and it doubles as a slow cooker too!). I have family members and friends who are joining me in my adventure (we are 11+ strong) so there is no way that I can not succeed.

Onward and downward we go.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Have Another Donut, a.k.a. Diabetes Anyone?

I am not one to listen to music when I exercise. I either have to be walking/running with a friend or I have to listen to an audiobook or podcast. Yesterday on my walk I opted to listen to a podcast. Having an iPhone makes it so easy to do so but I am sure it is just as easy with a Blackberry or an Android. Once upon a time, I did a search in podcasts (or you could do a web search on your computer, "podcast joel fuhrman) for Joel Fuhrman and up popped an index of "Nutritional Wisdom with Joel Fuhrman" and the podcasts were archived, complete with the subject of the radio show. GREAT STUFF! I could pick my topic of interest and as luck would have it, lately I have been thinking about all my family who suffered through diabetes (loss of eyesight/death) and all my friends who have been or who are on medication.  And there was a podcast entitled, "Don't Control Your Diabetes - Get Rid of It!" It was 55 minutes of information, including this important tidbit:

DONUTS ARE THE WORST FOOD TO CONSUME!

I don't know how scientifically accurate this is but there is NOTHING good about a donut. First of all it is made with this:
Yup. An actual screenshot. The best ingredient in here is the water. Other than that you have milk (dairy), salt, white sugar, shortening (fat), all-purpose flour (refined flour = sugar), confectioners sugar, and oil for frying. Hey, while you're at it, have a maple bacon donut!! NICE!!!

In Hilo, I see many a man (and not always an aged person) riding in a wheelchair missing a leg. Or two. And I know that 9 times out of 10 it is from diabetes. It makes me cry. And my friends who go from taking Metformin to taking insulin is heartbreaking. Seriously heartbreaking. To think that I will lose them to diabetes.

The point of the podcast is that the drugs people take when they are diabetic do not cure diabetes. In fact, the drugs can make it worse. You can get rid of diabetes without drugs, all through your diet. ALL THROUGH YOUR DIET. GET RID OF IT.

So the point of this blog post is two fold: GET RID OF YOUR DIABETES and download some free podcasts, Dr. Fuhrman's and other healthy related podcasts and get out there to exercise!




Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Pleasure Trap, a.k.a. STAY AWAY FROM THE CHIPS!

I know I have BIG issues with certain foods (and drinks, I might add). You know the saying with potato chips, right? Can't eat just one. And that is really the case with me. I cannot have just one chip. I need the whole package, no matter the package size.  But let's take it a bit further. Here are some other foods/drinks I cannot stop shoveling into my mouth once I get a taste:

kalbi
black jelly beans (I know, gross right?)
candied ginger (or any ginger product)
buttered popcorn w/ arare
pecan pie (let me add coconut pie to that mix)
a great martini or margarita or mojito
squid luau
shrimp tempura

I could go on and on. But these are some major culprits.  Now take a look at them. Each one is either filled with sugar or fat. Or a combination of the two (kalbi and pecan pie are two fine examples that also contain a good amount of salt...the evil trifecta: salt, sugar, fat).

I was reminded of the evils of these trigger foods of mine when I read this article by Jeff Novick. In it he talks about whole, natural foods vs. processed foods and how whole/natural doesn't always equate to good for you. The reading also reminded me of this great youtube video featuring The Pleasure Trap author, Douglas Lisle. Many times, even though you may KNOW the truth, re-reading and re-watching helps you to kick things into gear again.

So no more preparing homemade corned beef hash with a side of hollandaise sauce (who would have known it was so easy to make?) for breakfast or shrimp scampi with tons of garlic for dinner. The pleasure trap will definitely kick into gear because butter is like cocaine to me.


Yes, it looks so delicious and yes, it is a special treat and we all deserve special treats once in a while. But this led to a mimosa and then some salami and a delicious artichoke dip and some shrimp scampi and, oh yes, that is a beautiful spinach salad but the scallops looks so much better! And the madness just continues. So into the trash goes that box of chocolates and down the sink goes the rest of the champagne. I know I am addicted to crap so I will just attempt to keep it out of my reach.

Butter, anyone?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Itʻs All About the Dressing

Dr. Fuhrman, author of the famed Eat to Live book, says to EAT THE SALAD FIRST. I have not adhered to that mantra. I have the magnet on my fridge (two separate ones) and yet I still neglected that all important rule. For me, I don't mind salad and if there are lots of special goodies to go with it, I actually love it. But put anything else on my plate and I will go to it first. And that has got to stop.

In the beginning of my plant strong journey the key to enjoying my salad was a good salad dressing. I blogged about it a couple of times here and here. As time went on what I found was that the salad dressing, while important, became less so. I could actually eat the greens sans dressing, especially if I had a lot of added goodies but usually I needed something to spice it up.

And then I went on a trip to Washington. And found the answer to my dreams: the most delicious vinegars that absolutely wake up my taste buds! I stumbled upon a quaint little store in the town of Camas and after sampling just about everything in there I walked away with 6 bottles of vinegars that go absolutely GREAT on any salad. in fact, I am SURE they will go great on just about anything (I'm thinking artichokes, brussel sprouts, marinade for grilled veggies, and more). Navidi's Olive Oils and Vinegars rocked my world. After I had time to calm down I realized that there are other towns out there with similar businesses. A couple of years ago my sister in law sent me a great package from a store in Temecula, CA. Same thing! Olive oil and vinegars!

Might I suggest that you check the area you live in to see if there is such a store. And if there is not, maybe check your nearest specialty food store. I don't want you to go in and buy your typical brand of cheap vinegar of the typical apple cider brand. Get something of good quality. Plain balsamic can be wonderful on its own but flavored it will knock your socks off. Imagine wild blueberry balsamic or chocolate balsamic (yes, chocolate, on your salad, OH YEAH!) or honey ginger.

My school lunch with an itty bitty bottle of tangerine balsamic, perfect size for on the go meals


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

When In Rome?

You know the old saying? When in Rome? That saying is coming to mind right now as I sit in an all day meeting on another island. I walk into the meeting and fortunately, in addition to the usual pastries, cream puffs, mochi, and chips there is a basket of fruits and a bowl of cut persimmons. Okay. I'm safe. I left home so early I didn't have a chance to eat breakfast. Saved by the fruits.

In no time, it's lunchtime. Hmmm, what's in store? I glance behind me: white rice (when you've eaten brown rice for SO LONG white rice is almost glaringly white, roast pork with gravy, noodles, and the most delicious looking mochiko chicken. Now of all of that what can I eat?

NOTHING...

So guess what I had for lunch? Yup. Persimmons. And someone brought a delicious bag of steamed 'ulu. So I was saved. But I must admit I glanced behind me several times and pondered the thought...just one small piece of chicken. What harm could come of it? I mean when in Rome, do as the Romans do, right? I'm no fool. Well I'm no fool today. I knew that one small infraction could lead to another and another. It's my M.O. Same reason I can't eat potato chips.

So here I sit. Everyone else had salt, oil, meat, and refined carbs for lunch. I had persimmons and 'ulu. And I feel great. I'm gonna live.

Heck I'm pretty darned proud of myself.

Update: On the way to the airport, with some time to kill, I stopped at Whole Foods and made myself the most delicious green salad with tons of "stuff" on top. Totally worth the wait.

What are some of your challenges? Do you have a strategy to overcome?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

SAD No More

SAD = Standard American Diet. Read into that: an overabundance of fat, sugar, and salt and a minimal amount, if any, of whole plant foods.
     My mantra for the next six weeks (and longer) is: fruits, veggies, beans, and a few whole grains and nuts thrown in. I don't want to be sad no more.
     So seeing as how I like to do things on the FIRST (hence, December 1), I am now on day 2. Whoop. Dee. Doo. I have a huge challenge in front of me. 1) PMS. 2) Getting over what the doc thought might be pneumonia (so he finally gave me antibiotics). 3) marathon one week from today. Yup. 26.2 miles. On foot. I can barely climb a flight of stairs right now, I get so winded. 4) I missed a whole weeks worth of work so I got a whole lotta work to do (message: stress eating). And I think that's it. Hey, that's not bad!!!
     Just a couple things I'm allowing myself this time around: 1-2 cups of coffee a day if I feel like it, but it has to be black. A bit of honey in my oatmeal if I feel like it. And seafood, but not fried (I live in Hawai'i for goodness sake. MY PEOPLE EAT SEAFOOD! But no fried kole for me).
     Non negotiables: I absolutely will not consume any candy, ice cream (or other dairy products including cheese), meat (yup, even kalbi), or alcohol (oooh, that's a tough one...through the new year! Maybe just red wine, and only AFTER dinner and not before).
     While I don't have any new recipes to share with you, I can share you a few pics of what nutritional food is healing my body this weekend!

Frozen organic blueberries (Costco), unsweetened cocoa powder (Trader Joe's), a few dates, a few lettuce leaves, and organic soy milk

Quinoa (with cranberries, cilantro, toasted almond slivers), vine ripened tomatoes, and an indian curry (sauce from TJs, carrots, onions, celery, cilantro, and garbanzo beans)

Coach's Oats (w/ mac nut bits, cacao nibs, cranberries and a hint of honey)

I could eat salad all day everyday if I had tons of fixins--here is what I prepped: onions, mini peppers, olives, beets, tomatoes, chickpeas, black beans, cranberries and toasted sliver almonds

Organic baby romaine (bought at the Waimea Open Market)

Had two bowls full - I used a fig balsami dressing from Navidi's (best vinegars EVER!)
     What I've re-learned: Simple can be good. Hard to overeat when you eat a plant strong diet. It helps to have friends, near or far, joining in on the fun. It isn't about losing weight, it's about getting healthy. Losing weight is just a side benefit! Bon Appetit!