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Making do and Making things better

I have been seeing so many posts about folks not being able to get their staple foods. I understand it is frustrating. For me though, it gives me a challenge to branch out and try new foods. We tend to get stuck rotating the same meals and food items, day after day. Some families don’t have the experience or even the urge to try new foods. If a person tries a new food and doesn’t like it, keep trying it out in different ways. As a child, I couldn’t stand mushrooms or tomatoes. Now I now love them! I just made myself keep trying them in different ways. What got me with tomatoes were some fresh from a farm. Those were like candy in my mouth! I couldn’t believe I was thinking this about a “disgusting” tomato. This summer, go to your local Farmer’s Market and get yourself a farm-grown tomato!

For now though, if your grocery store doesn’t have eggs, try out flax eggs in baked goods. Grocery stores definitely have ground flax seeds or order them from an online source. Flax seeds are high in omegas, protein and other nutrient-rich sources. It’s very simple to make a “flax egg.” Mix one tablespoon ground flax seed with three tablespoons water and let sit for a few minutes. Use in place of an egg in pancakes, waffles, muffins, etc.

Try a dairy-free milk. There’s so many to choose from now. Find one you like. My fav is almond coconut blend. Macadamia nut milk is so rich and creamy. Oat milk is light and would work well as a dairy milk replacement in baked goods.

Switch out butter for shelf-stable ghee. Ghee is an old Indian staple. I’ve seen it at major market stores. It is just butter that has been boiled down and clarified. Use it like you would regular butter, but it works best in high-temperature foods(frying or baked goods).

Incorporate more legumes into your weekly menu. There are so many different type of beans available. If cooking beans from scratch intimidates you, go for canned. Chickpeas are extremely versatile. Roast them with some seasoning for snacking. Mash them with some avocado or mayonnaise. Lentils are so quick to cook up and mild tasting. I even blend some into smoothies for a protein punch. Try just replacing part of the meat in chili, spaghetti or tacos with cooked lentils.

Try eating non-breakfast foods for breakfast. Who said one has to eat cereal or oatmeal for breakfast!? This is rather a new thing. Not too long ago, the late 1800’s, most people ate leftover bread, popcorn soaked in milk or a meat in the United States. In other countries, rice, soup, or a type of bread from that culture. I eat a lot of leftovers for breakfast, it’s easy and filling. Or try making your own muffins, bagels, bread if that’s your thing. It might take a bit more effort, but will be so much healthier and cost-effective.

Instead of pasta, how about polenta? It’s great with lots of different, yummy sauces, not just marinara. Get some polenta or yellow grits( not quick-cooking), boil the up. Spread it into a baking dish and let firm up. Cut the polenta up of use cookie cutters. Fry the pieces crisp or eat straight from the pan. You say you can’t find prepared marinara sauce? It’s fairly simple to make it from scratch. Use fresh tomatoes, preferably Roma or use some canned tomatoes. I plop the Roma’s into a large saucepan without peeling them. First though, chop some onion, carrots and garlic up and saut√© them. Then add those Roma’s. Cook until the tomatoes are falling apart, you may need to cover it with a lid while simmering and add water as needed. Then use an immersion blender or carefully blend in small batches in a blender. Add in seasonings(basil, rosemary, oregano) and salt and pepper to taste. Add a pinch of sugar, if needed to cut down on the acidity or bite. If using canned tomatoes, do the same, but you might not need to cook as long.

Another option is making gnocchi. Gnocchi is a potato noodle. The texture is so wonderful. They could even be made with instant potatoes, if needed. Growing up, I loved eating these with just some butter melted over them. Now as an adult, I make a grownup version with browned butter and sage.

You may find you and your family enjoys these new found culinary items. It might help make things better by changing it up or creating a memory of a failed new recipe or a funny story to tell later on in life.

Don’t gripe about what one cannot have. Make do, get creative, have some fun.

Let me know if you try one of these out or if you’ve already had eaten one in the past. Do you have something I didn’t mention for a good substitute on “regular” foods?

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The best blueberry smoothie to get your daily dose of resistant starch

The week is almost over! Here’s a great recipe to add in that good ¬†resistant starch I blogged about earlier this week(Why you need more starch in your life).

Ingredients:

1 cup frozen blueberries

1 green banana*

1/4 cup gluten-free oat bran

1 cup nut milk

1/4 teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon

1 tablespoon of honey, agave, or maple syrup to taste

Blend all in a blender. May add in more or less milk to make it to the consistency you prefer.

 

*make sure it’s a green banana to get the most resistant starch

 

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Why you need more starch in your life

Many of you in the health circles have most likely heard of prebiotics by now. If you haven’t heard of them, that’s okay!

Prebiotics are food for probiotics. It comes in the form of what’s called resistant starch. Resistant starch does just what the name implies, resists digestion until it hits the large intestine where it feeds those good gut bacterias hanging out there and promoting the making of butyrate. Many balk when they hear the word “starch” and “carb.” But, the good resistant starches naturally occurring in foods are extremely healthy and will not cause weight gain. In many instances, it might even cause weight loss! Certain prebiotic foods contain specific types of fiber, consisting of inulin, oligiofructose, and trans-galactooligosaccharasides. Inulin, in particular, while stimulating healthy gastrointestinal tract, it also aids in constipation, stimulates bone health by assisting in calcium absorption, and may lower the risk of atherosclerosis by decreasing blood triglyceride levels.

Now, many processed foods contain resistant starches, but these are not the ones that are the healthy startches. RS1 is one of the good ones that is found in whole foods, seeds, legumes, and unprocessed whole grains. RS2 is another found in some starchy foods, like green bananas, plantains, and raw potatoes. There are five different types total. To keep it simple, just remember that RS1 and RS2 are the good starches.

How do you incorporate RS into your daily diet? Easy! Try eating plantain chips, adding a green banana to smoothies, and adding onions and/or garlic to your dishes. Jicama, Jerusalem artichokes, legumes, and cold potatoes are more options. Some like to use banana starch to make into gluten-free pasta or adding a couple tablespoons to a smoothie. I highly recommend to get your daily dose of RS through Whole Foods, but I know some days its easiest to use a shelf-stable item. Stay tuned for a couple tasty recipes high in resistant starch!

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