My Plantcentric Journey

Archive for October, 2012

Dr. Weil’s Roasted Winter Squash and Apple Soup as Seen on Dr. Oz Show

I made this tonight (sans the Cilantro-Walnut Pesto, olive oil and salt)  Very good.  Very filling.

Take some time to cook with your family by coming together for this
comforting soup. Make extra and freeze for future dinners. For an
extra special touch, serve in warm bowls and garnish with dollops of
Cilantro-Walnut Pesto.
Ingredients
1 large winter squash (about 2 1/2 pounds), such as butternut,
buttercup or kabocha; peeled, seeded and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tart, firm apples, peeled, cored and quartered
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
Red chili powder to taste
4 to 5 cups vegetable broth

Directions
Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large roasting pan, toss the squash,
onions, garlic and apples with the oil to coat. Season well with the
salt and chili.

Roast, stirring every 10 minutes, until the vegetables are fork tender
and lightly browned, about 40 minutes.

Put half of the vegetables and 2 cups of the broth in a food processor
and purée until smooth. Repeat with the remaining vegetables and
broth. Return puréed mixture to the pot. If the soup is too thick, add
more broth. Correct the seasoning and heat to a simmer.

http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/dr-weil-s-roasted-winter-squash-and-apple-soup

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What’s REALLY in the Chocolate You’re Eating?

Food Babe has looked into what’s in our chocolate.  From HFCS to GMOs to growth hormone to artificial colors and Trans Fat.

She names names and gives alternatives.

Check out her report here:  http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2012/10/31/food-babe-investigates-death-by-chocolate/

So You Don’t Like Tofu? What You Must Know

“TOFU, Just the word brings up images of crazy, crunchy hippies.  I bought the container and let it sit in my fridge until it expired.  Then I did it again.  I knew I wanted to try it, but I really didn’t know how.  Finally I read a description that changed my mind.  It said something along the lines of,

‘You can’t not like tofu.  It’s like saying you don’t like flour.  No one eats a handful of flour and no one eats a plain slice of tofu.  It’s an ingredient, and you find the recipes you like.  If you don’t like the outcome, you try it in something else, as you would most other ingredients.’

 Okay, so I had to find a recipe…”

Kathy Preston, The Lean

Benefits Of Pumpkin

Since it’s Halloween, I thought I’d post this.  For the recipe, I wouldn’t add the coconut milk due to the saturated fat.  I’d add almond milk, unsweetened.  Laura

Pumpkin is considerably rich in vital antioxidants and vitamins. It is a very low calorie fruit; it contains no saturated fats or Cholesterol, and very low in Sodium; it is rich in dietary fibre, anti-oxidants, minerals, and vitamins, such as vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Thiamine, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus, Riboflavin, Potassium, Copper and Manganese.
The pumpkin is bright orange because of its high levels of carotenoids, this fights off free radicals which cause premature ageing, cardiovascular diseases and certain infections.As mentioned, pumpkin contains high levels of the anti-oxidant vitamin A. Research studies suggest that natural foods rich in vitamin A, helps protect against lung and oral cavity cancers; it is also an essential vitamin for good visual sight and skin.
The fibre helps with lowering LDL cholesterol levels in the blood and also regulates the blood sugar levels, which helps weight control and those with diabetes. Pumpkin is great for improving HDL, (the good cholesterol), it may also help lower your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Pumpkin seeds contain the essential mineral zinc, which plays a role in preventing Osteoporosis. The seeds also contain alpha-linolenic acid, a type of omega-3 fatty acid. Eating a diet rich in ALA may help prevent cardiovascular disease and its risk factors including hypertension and high cholesterol. They contain phytosterols that lower cholesterol; phytosterols can also protect against many cancers. The L-tryptophan found in the seeds, is a compound naturally effective against depression. Tryptophan is converted into serotonin, a beneficial neuro-chemical often labelled as nature’s sleeping pill.

I could continually write about the benefits of pumpkin and its seeds, it is a fantastic healthy food that can be used in many different recipes. Here is a pumpkin soup recipe you could try-

Pumpkin, chilli and coconut soup

Ingredients

  • 1 medium pumpkin,
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2.5cm piece of root ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ chilli, seeds removed, chopped
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • sweet potato chunks, to taste (optional)

Preparation method

  1. Cut the pumpkin in half, then into wedges. Peel and deseed each wedge and cut the pumpkin flesh into 2.5cm Put the pumpkin in a large pan with the onion, ginger, garlic and chilli. Strip the leaves from the thyme and add to the pan.
  2. Pour in about 400ml of water, bring to the boil and cook until the pumpkin has turned to a pulp.
  3. Add the coconut milk and season to taste with salt, then reduce the heat and leave the soup to simmer for another 5–10 minutes.
  4. If you like, add chunks of sweet potato towards the end of the cooking.

 

http://www.femalehealthmotivation.com/2012/10/benefits-of-pumpkin.html

Life in Limbo Land: Waiting to get booted from the cancer club

Jim Seida / NBCNews.com

“You take a hit to your femininity,” says Diane Mapes, seen here wrapping her hands before working out at Axtion Club boxing gym in Seattle. “But your hair comes back, strength comes back, and my boobs will come back eventually.” Mapes had a double mastectomy in 2011.

By Diane Mapes

There’s nothing like having cancer to make you appreciate the little things in life — like buying shampoo, running a few miles or being able to forget the address of the hospital where you were treated.

After I was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2011, I felt like I lived at that hospital. Today — a year out from treatment — it’s in the rear view mirror, along with the double mastectomy and debilitating chemo and radiation I wrote about last October on TODAY.com.

Not that there aren’t still plenty of daily reminders regarding my year of living cancerously: chemo brain, adhesion pain, hot flashes (courtesy of my new BFF tamoxifen) and, oh yes, my board-flat Olive Oyl chest.

But there have been good, uh, developments, too.

The biggest one — for me — is that I now have hair. For those of you who think baseball is slow and tedious, all I can say is try watching hair grow sometime.

I disguised my bald head with a wig from mid-June until New Year’s Eve then gratefully ditched it, along with the tape, the itchiness, and the constant fear that I’d accidentally spin the thing around backwards while swing dancing like some character on Gilligan’s Island.

Passing as … French
Come January, I let my freak flag fly and began rocking a dark gray micro pixie.

“With the wig, I was trying to pass as a healthy, normal woman,” I joked to my friends about my super short ‘do. “Now, I’m trying to pass as French.”

Today, I don’t worry so much about passing. I finally have my old color back and a somewhat normal-looking hairstyle. Although the word “style” may be pushing it. My new hair is a mass of unruly chemo curls, the type of curls I used to spend long hours (and big bucks) trying to achieve with body perms and hot rollers.

‘Chemo curls’ another kink in cancer recovery

That’s the good news.

Well, that, and the fact I’m no longer a chemo invalid, hobbling around my apartment hanging onto chairs and using pliers to open a bottle of water (although my new hobby, boxing, sometimes leaves me feeling this way). Nor am I getting zapped by radiation every day, then coming home to slather greasy ointment all over my lobster red chest in an attempt to keep the skin from peeling off.

I’ve been running for months; ditto for boxing and swing dancing. I have my strength, my appetite, my healthy skin and my hair back (well, most of it, anyway – RIP, dear eyebrows).

I’ve finally kicked treatment to the curb.

But being done with cancer treatment and being done with cancer are two very different things. That’s the bad news.

I remember feeling almost giddy as I waltzed into my oncologist’s office last November, finally done with five grueling months of chemo and radiation. Surely, there was a certificate waiting for me with a huge “CANCER-FREE!” stamp beside my name.

Unfortunately, that’s not exactly how things work in the cancer club.

“I’m sorry,” my oncologist told me when I asked her point blank if I was cured. “But we don’t really use the C-word.”

Instead, they do quarterly blood tests to look for tumor markers. They do physical exams to make sure I haven’t developed a persistent pain or nagging cough. They do a scan now and then to check up on weird anomalies like lung nodules and liver cysts and to make sure my uterus is still “unremarkable” (a backhanded pathological compliment I’ve come to appreciate).

Life in Limbo Land
In a nutshell, they wait and see if the cancer comes back.

And I wait with them, living my life with one foot firmly planted in the real world and one foot shakily set in what I call Limbo Land.

Am I cured? They don’t know. Am I going to have to go through the whole bloody mess again? They don’t know.

“It’s after treatment that some people have the hardest time coping,” Mindy Greenstein, psycho-oncologist, author and former breast cancer patient, told me when we chatted about this strange new terrain. “You’re dumped back into your regular life but it’s very different. You don’t feel like you’re actively fighting something. You just have to live with it.”

But living with a cancerous question mark hanging over your head isn’t easy. Your friends and family are sick of hearing about it. Sick of worrying about it. And even simple questions like “How … uh … are you?” are fraught with dark nuances.

“I’m fine — as far as I know,” I usually tell people, going into what I call myChuckles, the Cancer Clown routine. “I’ve forgotten how to spell, I’ve eaten so many cruciferous vegetables I’ve practically got cauliflower ear and my chest still looks like one of the talking trees from Wizard of Oz. But I’m not dead!”

Jim Seida / NBCNews.com

Diane Mapes boxes three times a week for fitness and to strengthen her body for her upcoming reconstructive surgery. “Boxing is my way to hit back,” she says. “Literally.”

When I asked Greenstein how she copes with the fear of recurrence, of mets (not the baseball team but the metastatic spread of breast cancer), of someharsh new disease brought on by treatment, of her own mortality, she said she uses different approaches.

“Sometimes I think of all the worst things that can happen and how I would handle them,” she said. “Other times, I’m a positive thinker. Whatever works in the moment, that’s what you go for.”

I guess that’s where the boxing comes in.

For me, it’s a healthy way to work off the rage I still feel over my diagnosis and treatment, which is sometimes hard to distinguish from the tortures they used to inflict on suspected witches back in the day. Knowing how to throw a punch is also an effective way to keep people from telling me how “lucky” I am I had breast cancer because now I can get big new beautiful boobs.

Yes, distractions like running, boxing, blogging, swing dancing and even dating have worked well for me.

Not that there aren’t the occasional grating moments.

“So when are you going to get your new tits?” one guy asked a while back over drinks.

“Excuse me?” I said, laser beams shooting out of my eyes.

“I’m sorry,” he quickly apologized. “When are you going to get your new breasts?”

He’s hardly the first person — or the first date —  to ask about the girls. Lots of people do, probably because I was so adamant — and so public — about not wanting to lose them in the first place.

Now, at nearly a year post-radiation, it’s time for me to figure out what I want to do about reconstruction, a process far more complicated than your run-of-the-mill boob job. But more surgery? More recovery? More pain? More drains? Once again, my body’s due for a transformation my mind’s not quite ready to embrace.

“If you’ve been out having a normal life, the thought of making yourself a patient again is very difficult,” Greenstein told me when I confessed my hesitation about going back under the knife. “One way of coping is to look at this as the next thing on the way to getting your full life back.”

And I do want my full life back. Not to mention my full bra back.

I’m tired of wearing my V-necks backwards, of misplacing my gummi, department store boobs on top of the dresser, of experiencing yet another wardrobe malfunction at the gym (“Ricky” has a tendency to migrate over to “Lucy’s” place if you know what I mean).

I miss my old carefree self, my old carefree life, where a bad headache or weird leg pain didn’t routinely morph into metastatic breast cancer at 3 a.m. I’m just not sure if new girls are going to help me get it back. I’m not sure what, exactly, is going to help me get it back. To put those fears — irrational and otherwise — to bed for good.

And so I box. And run. And offer advice to newly diagnosed women. I fret about lymphedema and send out tweets about the latest research on this sleeping beast that inexplicably comes to life in our breasts.

I read. I write. I kick myself when I forget to put sun block on my irradiated chest. I laugh with my sisters until I nearly pee my pants and flirt with inappropriately young men. I listen to inspiring stories from survivors and try to spin a few myself.

I sing loudly but listen for dark whispers. Like the rest of us in this lousy club, I keep slogging ahead.

Diane Mapes is a frequent contributor at NBCNews.com and TODAY.com. She’s the author of “How to Date in a Post-Dating World” and blogs about breast cancer at www.doublewhammied.com.

More from TODAY.com contributor Diane Mapes:

Cancer kiss-off: Getting dumped after diagnosis

Mastectomy and the single girl: A bucket list for boobs

Dating after diagnosis: Love in the time of chemotherapy

Related: 

Five years after cancer, an emotional Hoda thanks her doctors

http://todayhealth.today.com/_news/2012/10/29/14785145-life-in-limbo-land-waiting-to-get-booted-from-the-cancer-club?lite

So, What is a Plant-Based Diet?

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon

Whenever I say we eat a plant-based diet, people often ask what that means. We say that we don’t eat animal products of any kind; no meat, no butter, no milk, no cheese, ect. They often respond with, ‘Like a vegan?” Yes, it is similar but not the same.

There is a difference between plant-based diet and vegan. While the difference may be subtle to some, it is great to others. It is also a topic of debate among many, with some saying those who solely eat a plant-based diet are not vegan.

The choice to be plant-based or vegan is a personal one, and the reasons can be many. For a long time I identified as vegan, but now I no longer do. Now I am plant-based.

A plant-based diet focuses on plants, eliminating all forms of animal products. There is no meat, butter, cheese, milk, eggs, whey, casein, ect. It can include beans and legumes, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, spices, seeds and nuts. There are endless combinations of foods available on a plant-based diet. While my family and myself eat low-fat & oil free, this is not necessary to be plant-based.

The definitaion of vegan seems to have evolved to be more than just a diet, to also being a lifestyle or a philosophy. Wikipedia defines veganism as “the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products.” It includes not using products that are tested on or made from animals, such as leather or wool or some types of makeup. It is a belief against using or consuming anything that has exploited animals.

This can be beyond just animal-based products or porducts tested on animals, but also can include environmental impact as well. For example, there is debate over palm oil. While palm oil itself is a vegetable oil and not animal based, the increasing demand for it is blamed for the destruction of rain forests and natural animal habitat. This has several people claiming it is not vegan and products containing it are also not vegan. I’m not trying to debate the issue here if it is or is not vegan, I am just using it as an example of of veganism has become more than just food.

There is also food that is vegan and not healthy, like white bread or Oreos. Many different vegan junk foods are readily available – you can eat a vegan diet and not eat anything that resembles a plant.  This is why I make the distinction between plant-based and vegan.

http://happyherbivore.com/2012/02/what-plant-based-diet-vs-vegan/

U.S. Declares ‘Alert’ At Oyster Creek Nuclear Plant In N.J.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said that at “Alert” has been declared at the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in Forked River, New Jersey, an event related to Hurricane Sandy.

The NRC said that the plant, which is in a regularly scheduled outage, declared the Alert at 8:45 p.m. Eastern time “due to water exceeding certain high water level criteria in the plant’s water intake structure.”

The Commission notes that an Alert is the second lowest of four NRC action levels. Before reaching Alert status, the plant declared an “Unusual Event” when the water first reached a minimum high water level criteria, the NRC says.

“Water level is rising in the intake structure due to a combination of a rising tide, wind direction and storm surge.

Read the rest:  http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericsavitz/2012/10/29/u-s-declares-alert-at-oyster-creek-nuclear-plant-in-n-j/

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