Constipation

Tips on how to get your bowels moving:

• Water

•Foods with fibre: oat bran, ground flax, dried prunes and figs, soaked overnight in water, nuts and seeds, leafy greens, brown rice, veggie and fruit skins

•Chewing gum (helps move the bowel)—Choose brands sweetened with xylitol

•Aloe Vera juice

•Probiotics

•Magnesium oxide—200 to 400 mg/day, not taken with meals 

•Epsom salt baths (also have magnesium in them)

•Castor oil compresses applied to the belly.  Massage the oil in a clockwise direction (See a diagram of the bowel, if you’re unsure), then put a warm cloth and hot water bottle on top.

•Exercise

Broccoli Puttanesca

A tasty meal in 15 minutes max

Forget the pasta. It’s loaded with carbs, which wreak havoc with your blood sugar–and you probably know by now that sugar metabolism is linked to heart disease, diabetes and even cancer growth.  Here, broccoli stands in for pasta and gives you cancer-fighting nutrients to boot.             

Ingredients:

•Broccoli– 1 head, stems cut on diagonal

•Olive oil– 2 T, for sautéing (Use regular, not extra virgin, which smokes too easily.)

•Onions– 2 medium (or more), cut into quarter moons

•Garlic–2 cloves, chopped

•Anchovies (optional)– 1/2 to 1 tin, packed in olive oil. Pat off oil, cut into pieces.

•Cherry tomatoes– 5 to 6, cut in half

•Capers– handful, to taste

•Kalamata olives–6 or more whole, without chemical preservatives. Cut in half.

•Tomato sauce–1/2 jar. Buy your favorite. Look for glass jar, without sugar.

•Salt–to taste

Prep:

• Steam broccoli in steamer with a pinch of salt and a little bit of water until bright green and crisp. Then quickly spray cold water over broccoli to stop the cooking process.

• In a large pan, saute onions in olive oil on low heat. (Don’t let the oil smoke. If it does, throw it out and start over.) Add garlic, sauté briefly, then add anchovies and olives. Add sauce and heat it up. Add capers and tomatoes. Cook slightly, until tomatoes start to wilt.

• Take sauce off heat. Pour over broccoli. As always, chew well.

Got Wind?

We’re here to help.  Get down on the floor and into the yoga position our carrot friend is in– affectionately known as “the wind-relieving posture.”  Hold knee to chest, first one knee, then the other, and take deep breaths. Ah, relief.  Try chewing cumin, fennel or caraway seeds; they’re anti-flatulents.  Add Beano to problem foods.  And chew foods well.  Ironically, many of the foods that give us gas are really good for us. The better you chew them, the more you avoid their incendiary after-effects.  

Aches and Pains

Pick up some Tiger Balm at your local pharmacy, and rub it into the sore spots. It will seem to lift the pressure right off the problem area. I use it often for tension headaches–at the nape of the neck and around the temples. But take care and avoid getting it into your eyes!

Greek Lima Beans

Beans are not just good for your heart, as the saying goes. Their high-fiber content helps control your blood sugar and moves foods through your gut. That makes them good for preventing other chronic conditions, such as diabetes and cancer.

Montreal cook/blogger Holly Botner has a great recipe for Greek lima beans, inspired by the wealth of great Greek restaurants in Montreal.I like to add some oregano for extra flavor as well as its cancer-fighting properties.(Scroll down to the last post called “Eat Your Avastin.”)

Of course, beans can leave some incendiary after-effects. Once upon a time, many of us cooked beans with kombu, a Japanese seaweed, to mitigate this problem, but sea vegies soak up radiation so that’s probably not a good idea these days.  Try some Beano instead.  Chew foods well, and do as the Indians do–Chomp on some fennel or cumin seeds at dessert time. Ironically, many foods that give us gas are also good for us.

p.s. If you have a healthy recipe you want to share, please send it to me at hsugarmill@sympatico.ca.

Perfection or Excellence?

Perfection or excellence?  Those are your choices for the coming year. After I gave birth to a child with challenges, the answer was obvious.

Perfection is impossible. Sure, it might be a worthy goal, but if you try to keep perfecting whatever it is you’re trying to do, you’ll never get there.  Take Hillary Clinton. Some say she got so bogged down perfecting details of a universal health plan that she missed her chances.  Or blogging, for example. For the past three months, I’ve been researching a story for you on what’s the best kind of salmon to buy, but have you read the piece yet? No. That’s because I’m still studying—and could go on and on speaking to authorities and never have a perfect answer.  There just isn’t one.

“Perfection is disastrous. Excellence is triumphant.” Somebody else said that, but do I really have to make this piece perfect and locate the source?

Carb Substitutes

Resolved to cut carbs? Good idea. Carbs are linked to high blood sugar, which in turn is linked to diabetes, heart disease, cancer and gaining weight. 

Here are some creative substitutes:

Rice: Cauliflower pieces, cut small

Mashed potatoes: Mashed cauliflower, mixed with turnips or celery root, seasoned with herbs or spices

Lasagna noodles:  Zucchini, sliced lengthwise and thinly

Spaghetti: Spaghetti squash

Buns:  Portobellos, lightly cooked 

Wraps, tacos, burritos: Lettuce or rice paper, rolled with beans or veggies

Pasta:  Broccoli spears, onions, mushrooms, smothered in sauce

Have you other ideas? Please share them. Simply comment below. 

Dental Care

Like to chew but don’t want the sugar, aspartame, sorbitol or other ingredients that wreak havoc with your health?

Try gum sweetened with xylitol.  It’s absorbed much more slowly than sugar and is teeth-friendly—meaning that studies have shown xylitol to protect against cavities, not promote them.

Dosage is key here, as it is with almost everything:  We’re talking  6 grams a day to protect your teeth. That’s 12 sticks or breath mints, assuming that’s all the xylitol you’re consuming. You can also find it in toothpaste and mouthwash, or buy it in powder to use as a sweetener. But not too much, please.  In huge dosages, xylitol can cause bloating and diarrhea—65 grams a day in one study involving kids. That’s the equivalent of more than 5 packages of gum daily. Thanks for the parameters, guys.

Kale Super Salads

holistic recipes kale salads
Kale blueberry salad at http://www.supersaladsandmore.com

Eating raw crucifers is ideal for getting the anti-cancer benefits, but hard broccoli and cauliflower just don’t cut it for most of us. 

Kale, however, is a kinder, gentler choice. Smother her in a soothing sauce, then let her wither. Chew well for a happy gut.

This supersalads blogger has loads of ideas for raw kale salads.  Omit the sweetener, if you’re minding your sugars, which I’m sure you’re doing.   Kale and berries? Kale and apple? Kale and mint?

p.s. I used a third of the amount of walnuts in the kale blueberry salad recipe–and was happy with the results.