Cook Book...

Cook Book...

To write or not to write,

That IS the ???

So I have hit the 100th person to ask me: Are you going to write a cook book?" or "When are you going to write a cook book?"  I am celebrating this milestone (like celebrating the 100th person to cross the threshold of a new store or business) by chatting about it here.

Cook book or not?

I have to say, "nah, not in my plans."  I thought about it for a bit and here are my issues... issues, we always have issues!

1.  I am a "just throw it in a bowl" kind of gal.  For example, foods like cakes, cupcakes, cookies, muffins, and pancakes all have the same basic ingredients. Some have more liquid, i.e. pancakes, while others have more flour, i.e. cookies. What I throw in the bowl depends on the consistency of the batter or dough I am trying to make.

So, to make a chocolate cake I do something like this (and hope for the best!):

  • 2-3 eggs whipped up and add 1/2 to 3/4 cup melted butter (these two ingredient amounts depend on whether I am making a one or two layer cake)
  • 1/2 cup sugar, unrefined, of course (I may use 3/4 if making 2 layers and it is not for my kids, most people like sweeter cakes.)
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 to 1 cup milk, again depending on the layers
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 to 3 tbsp. baking powder depending on the flour (oat flour and I use less b. powder, if it is millet / quinoa / teff / amaranth flours I use more b. powder)
  • 3-6 tbsp. cocoa powder depending on # of layers and how chocolate flavored I want the cake
  • Enough flour to create a cake batter consistency, which is thicker than pancakes but more liquid than cookies

Set batter aside for 5 - 10 minutes to see how the flour soaks up the liquid.  After 10 minutes, if the consistency is cake like, good to go.  If it is too runny, I add flour a tiny bit at a time.  Too thick?  I thin with a bit of milk.

So, that is how I cook everything.  A little of this and a little of that.  Who wants a cook book written like this? I would get boo-ed and rotten tomatoes thrown at me! Most people want exact measurements.

2. Meal cooking is a process of looking at the local, seasonal produce on hand and having fun with it; playing with the ingredients, herbs, and spices.  When you play with food for long enough, cooking and creating in the kitchen becomes second nature.

I suggest picking up a couple of good vegetarian cook books* (cook books that show case seasonal produce) and then read them like novels.  Next, get cooking. After a bit of practice in the seasonal kitchen, I will say it again, cooking becomes second nature. It is an art work. Relax, breathe deeply, and let your creative nature just flow.

Add your favorite protein sources and whole grains to the yummy seasonal veggies and voila'... you have dinner (suggestion: make enough for lunch leftovers!).

If you have blood sugar control challenges (diabetes) eat whole grains in serious moderation, not at every meal, and up the intake of veggies instead.

3. I visited the SLU book store and checked out the cook book section.  It was scary!  There were 5 shelving sections of cook books with 7 shelves in each section.  35 shelves of cook books and only 2 of the cook books on the shelves had more than one copy.  One was the original MoosewoodCook Book the other was a smoothie "recipe book", I believe.  All of those 35 shelves were loaded with single copies of cook books on every topic and health promoting diet imaginable! That was a huge wow for me!

The 5 rows of cook books at the SLU Book Store:

DSC00926

3.  I am all about making food an art form.  The kitchen is your studio, food is your medium, and the kitchen utensils are your artist's tools!

 

Watch for my follow up post:  How to Cook Like an Artist

Be well, have fun in the kitchen!  Paula

*Cook Books you might find useful: 

  • Home Gardener's Month By Month Cookbook, Marjorie Page Blanchard
  • From Asparagus to Zucchini
  • Recipes from the Root Cellar, Andrea Chesman (She also wrote Serving Up the Harvest)

If the cook book uses refined ingredients (refined, all-purpose flour, bleached or not)... use your whole food kitchen skills and swap out the refined ingredients and add in 100% whole food ingredients. Need help with this? Give me a shout, read that section in my book (Hands On Health: Take Your Vibrant, Whole Health Back Into Your Healing Hands), or zap me an email and I will send you my educational handout.

If you do not like the high fat ingredients in the Home Gardener's Cookbook, swap out for ingredients with fat contents you are comfortable with.  Myself, hey, bring on the butter!   (From Pasture Raised Cows, Please!)

Get cooking like the seasonal kitchen artist you can be!

PS  My second book, a book of inspirational words to help you put the action steps in my first book, well... into action, was picked up by a publisher yesterday!  Stay tuned as I keep you informed of the publishing process!  

I call this book of words my "yoga poses" for the body, mind, and spirit book. No, that is not the book's title... that secret will be released at a later date! 

Today, to celebrate, I am off to climb a high peak in those amazing ADK Mountains!

White Face from last summer's hiking ... today I am going up Dial!

White Face from last summer's hiking ... today I am going up Dial!


13 Health Foods That Are NOT So Healthy

13 Health Foods

That Are NOT So Healthy...

caution

Proceed with

1. Brown Sugar:  Brown sugar used to be sugar that did have the molasses intact.  Modern brown sugar is merely refined "white" sugar that has added caramel coloring to make you THINK it is real brown sugar.  Action to take: Use sucanat, read the label and look for sugar that is simply dehydrated, sugar cane juice... nothing added, nothing removed. Another good brand is Rapunzel Rapadura Sugar.

sugar
rapunzel

2.  Greek Yogurt: Real Greek yogurt is truly just cultured milk that has been strained to make it thicker, creamier, and higher in protein.  If refined ingredients have been added to thicken the yogurt, it is not real Greek yogurt.  Most Greek yogurts, on the market, are not real.  Action to take:  Read labels on everything that a food manufacturing facility makes for you.  Read those labels for 100% whole food ingredients.  Do not settle for less; your cellular health depends on this.

While I am on the subject, eat plain yogurt*, not the flavored varieties.  Again, read labels, flavored yogurts are loaded with crap ingredients and sugar.  These crap ingredients and sugar do not create vibrant, healthy body cells.

Real yogurt should be milk and active cultures, period.  No thickeners, no flavorings, no sugars, etc!  Want a recipe for making a yummy snack with yogurt, fruit, and nuts... email me!  pyoumell@gmail.com

3.  Frozen Yogurt:  OK, so this is a fun one.  People order frozen yogurt instead of ice cream... well, because "it is yogurt. Yogurt is good for me,  so frozen yogurt is a healthy treat, right?"  No, it is not.  See above info on plain yogurt.  No good gut microbes survive freezing, so thinking frozen yogurt is good for gut health is a flawed thought (yes, perpetuated by marketing, but flawed none the less).  Action to take:  *Eat plain yogurt you have made yummy and fun with fruit, berries, cinnamon, vanilla.  Want a recipe? Email me, pyoumell@gmail.com.

yogurt

4. Ginger Ale: "Ginger ale is good for me when I am sick, have a fever, correct?" "It settles my stomach if I have a nasty, gut bug sickness, correct?"  No, sorry. Modern sodas are just a source of liquid corn syrup, artificial flavors, and other artificial ingredients.  Action to take: Make ginger tea, use the ginger tea with seltzer water to make your own ginger soda; buy a natural brand of ginger soda that has real ginger in it!

ginger beer

5.  Bran Muffins: Running late for work or an appointment, no time for breakfast, so one stops at the mini-mart and grabs a bran muffin.  It is the health option in the mini-mart, correct?  NO, it is loaded with refined and toxic ingredients: white sugar, corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, white flour, artificial flavors, fillers, dough conditioners, etc., and a small amount of bran.  Action to take:  Make your own and have them handy.  Want a recipe, email me.  Take the time for a real breakfast.

6.  Wheat Bread:  Lots of issues here:  modern wheat is not all it is cracked up to be, most wheat breads have minimal whole grains in them, and most manufactured wheat bread is loaded with refined and crap ingredients.  Again, read labels.Action to take: Read labels and make certain breads are 100% whole grains for 100% whole cellular health.  Sprouted whole grain breads are another nourishing option.

bread

7.  Commercial Fruit Smoothies: Ok, so the fruit does not exist in powdered smoothie mixes.  Many are artificially fruit flavored or have dried fruit powders in them.  Action to take: Make at home with 100% whole food ingredients, whole fruit, and only buy fruit smoothies in shops that make them the same way.  If the fruit smoothie is a powdered mix, RUN, fast, get away from the powdered world crap.  I don't care how healthy they say their protein powder fruit smoothies are for you.  They are not real food!

8.  Vitamin Water: One word: crap.  Ok, so vitamin water has a marvelous marketing campaign. This is a big clue here, any product with a marketing campaign most likely is worthless and not nourishing to your body cells.  Fresh produce does not need to be marketed as healthy.  We all innately know it is! Action to take: Drink water from your tap, if it has not been poisoned with chlorine and fluoride.  If it has, filter it.  If you think you need to have added vitamins in your water, go to Nature's Storehouse and find a 100% whole food liquid vitamin supplement and add it to your water.  Your health and cells will be grateful.

9.  Non-Calorie Sweeteners:  Nature did not make many non-calorie sweeteners. Food laboratories do; that is your clue to avoid them.  Nature makes real food, "food" labs do not.  These sweeteners are toxic to your liver and toxic to all of your body cells.  Now stevia... yes, if you are using real, green stevia.  The powdered green herb form of stevia is a real non-calorie sweetener.  Stevia that is the white powder or clear liquids, refined in food labs, in not healthy cell food.  Action to take:  Get a hold on your sugar usage.  Is it really something we were meant to eat every day?  Nah... it's not!

stevia

10.  Diet Soda and Diet Drinks:  Toxic to liver and body cells. See Non calorie sweetener above.  Action to take: Always put your body cells first and foremost in your mind when choosing foods and food products.  Make herb teas and enjoy them sweet free or use a tiny bit of raw, local honey.  Make "soda" with seltzer water and a wee bit of organic fruit juice concentrate.

11.  Gluten Free Food Products:  A word of caution:  when a health problem arises, manufacturers are quick to respond with ' "food products" to help solve your problem.  Many gluten free products are HIGHLY processed and full of junk ingredients.

Gluten free does not mean it is healthy.  There are thousands of gluten free products on the market:  cakes, cookies, breads, pizza crusts, boxed mixes; processed food heaven!  Learn to read labels.  Many of these products are full of fillers.  Yes the “fillers” in question are gluten free, but they are also refined, nutritionally devoid foods.  If the natural, whole food nutrition is not in the food, the refined food product will rob your body cells of nutrients and contribute to degenerative diseases. You are trading off one huge health problem for another of equal degenerative quality.

Things to look for are:  white rice flour, corn starch, potato starch*, tapioca starch*, tapioca flour*, potato flour*.  Basically these are cheap, filler ingredients not real food, not food that nourishes your beautiful body cells. These fillers create a host of health problems in your body including blood sugar and insulin issues that contribute to inflammation and exacerbate health issues.  

Action to take:  

Keep refined ingredients out of your diet for vibrant health. Read labels, buy food products that are 100% whole food ingredients only, including gluten free products.

Want to learn more?  I do gluten free workshops, contact me: pyoumell@paulayoumellrn.com 

Want gluten free bread & pizza dough recipes?  See my recipes under FREE STUFF link at the top of my web page. Or contact me for more suggestions.

*Note: Some brands of tapioca flour and potato flour are the whole roots ground into flour.  Check with the individual companies to know that what you are buying is a whole food flour, not a refined food flour.

12.  Fat Free Dairy: There are many reasons to avoid animal fat.  My big issue is that they are contaminated with all the toxins that have been created on this divine planet.  So, I advise buying organic and naturally raised animal products.  I even try to avoid animals products from animals that are fed GMO foods: corn and soybeans.  These are no easy tasks, I admit, and can leave one throwing up their arms in despair.  With this said, fat is needed in your body!   The manufacture of your bodily hormones depends on ingested fat.  Action to take:  Get to know your farmers, ask them how they raise their animals, what they feed them, if the corn /soy is GMO free, if they get fed very little corn and soy and mostly have access to pasture.  (Yes, winter in the north country complicates the pasture grazing issue!)  www.gardenshare.org  Go ahead, click the link, and start finding local farmers to grow your food!

13.  Chocolate: Ok, I know there are people who will want to strangle me for adding this one to the list.  Let's get serious, anti-oxidants aside, we all intuitively know that eating processed chocolate, every day, is not what nature intended.  It has been well marketed to us as a healthy superfood.  (Please see the above comments about marketing campaigns and food.)  Yes, I am certain chocolate, cocoa beans, have antioxidants, why wouldn't they?  Nature did make them.  But humans take those beans and process them into 554 million different chocolateproductsand then market them as a necessary daily food.  Our culture has certainly bought into this food campaign: hook,  line, and sinker.  Perhaps we could all thrive ingesting just chocolate, red wine, and coffee... all are loaded with antioxidants, right?!  Ok, ok, I know I am being a smart ass.  Action to take:  See it for what it is;  a tasty, fun, occasional treat.  Buy organic and fair trade to support the farmers that grow these amazing beans and enjoy it, with a smile, on occasion.

choc

Questions to ask yourself about a food product: 

Was this nature made or man-made?

Were the ingredients nature made or man-made?

Was this made in a food factory?

Does this product have a huge marketing campaign?

If you would like to know more about how to heal your body with real food, how to incorporate healing-whole health strategies into your life, enter your name (above and on the right side of the page) to subscribe to my blog newsletter.  Come to a class I teach or give me a shout and we can work one on one.  Your health will soar, you will feel great, your cells will bounce with amazing energy!   Blessings, Paula