Thursday, January 29, 2015

Bone Broth Again – Chicken This Time

Well, I went ahead and got the chicken feet this time.  I have read in The Wahls Protocol and elsewhere that chicken feet have a lot of gelatin and collagen.  I also used two carcasses from whole chickens - one I had roasted whole and one I had cut up to use the breasts, legs and thighs for something else.  This made my chicken broth a lot more economical than my beef broth.

Those feet look gross, but you can see she had lovely long fingernails.  Eeeeww!

Here, from the PCC Newsletter, are the benefits of bone broth:

Boosts immunity – The high essential mineral and amino acid content has been proven to speed recovery from colds and flus.

Phlegm fighter – Cysteine, an amino acid found in chicken bones, actually thins mucus, making it easier to clear.

Anti-inflammatory – Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfates stimulate collagen growth, repair joint damage, and reduce pain and inflammation.

Improves digestion – Gelatin restores digestive health and combats leaky gut.  It also makes for shiny hair and strong nails!

Promotes relaxation – Glycine, an amino acid, is calming and helps promote restful sleep.  Calcium and magnesium work as muscle relaxants and promote bone health.
I have been drinking my beef bone broth midday, as a tea, and I see it would be a good idea to sip some before bed, as well.

A few notes on the cooking and packaging:

I only cooked the chicken broth for about 8 hours, instead of overnight as I did the beef, according to the instructions from PCC Coop.  And, oops! I missed where it said for chicken or turkey to reduce the apple cider vinegar from ½ cup to 2 to 3 tablespoons.  I thought it smelled a bit vinegary while it was cooking.  It tastes fine, thank goodness, as I have quite a bit of it.

I didn’t roast the bones first this time, hence the pale color.  Although roasting the bones, and even the veggies, adds a delicious flavor, I saw a comment in the Wellness Mama’s blog about AGEs -advanced glycolsylated end products.  I have read elsewhere that the brown bits of caramelization that taste so good are not good for us.  With everything else we cook and eat, I don’t know whether it is significant to avoid them in the broth, but I do plan on drinking some pretty much every day, so I skipped that step.

I had learned with the beef broth that it’s easiest to strain the bones through a large strainer, and then strain individual portions later through a smaller one.  With the chicken broth there wasn’t much that got through the large one, but I did use both.

I am experimenting with packaging, using glass jars and quart-size freezer bags.  In our disorganized freezer, items tend to drop out on the floor while I’m rummaging around, and I know from experience that glass and plastic shatter when cold.  If the freezer bags work well, it will save room and a potential mess.  (Yes, I notice they're not labeled.  When putting stuff in, it always looks so obvious what is in the package...)

I'm sipping my first cup as I type, and it is very nice  : )

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Confessions from Las Vegas

What happens in Vegas is supposed to stay in Vegas, but I brought 2 pounds home with me  : (   Could have been worse – there were unlimited opportunities for indulgence and I wasn’t completely bad.  Here is what went well and where I could have done better.

What went well:

·      We had a great time!  That’s important – it’s why we went there.  Las Vegas may be an odd city to have fond homey feelings for, but I do.  I lived there for four years, and just seeing those bare mountains and palm trees against a very blue sky makes me feel happy.

·      My friend Marcia and I had a lovely lunch and reunion.  So sorry I had such a good time I forgot to take a photo.  After lunch she took me on a driving tour of the west side and downtown in her new Hundai.  Thank you Marcia!!

·      Jersey Boys was fantastic!  I highly recommend it – good story and great music.

·      We didn’t gamble at all.  When I lived there, I learned I don’t have that kind of luck.

·      I drank a lot of water.  I bought a bottle of San Pellegrino to have at the condo, and even eating out, at some opportunities for drinking wine I ordered water instead.

·      I ate a lot of salads.  Had salad for some lunches at our condo and ordered it when we were out for lunch.  (Am being truthful and including wine in photos.  More about that below.)

·       For breakfasts I added fruit or vegetables, even though I wasn’t cooking the veggie scrambles I usually have at home.

·      I went swimming twice.  One of the pools was the “lazy river”, a big circle with a current that made me feel like I was swimming really fast.  There were inner tubes to float on, but I did swim about ten laps first.

·      I did fine with the rental car.  For most people, this is a given, but I’m a somewhat nervous driver when I don’t know what lane I should be in at all times.  In Las Vegas, Stan appoints me designated driver, as I am familiar with the city, and I’m proud to say I got us around safely.

·      Our gourmet dinner at Alizé was a personal lifetime best so far.  Unbelievable!  The restaurant is on the 56th floor of the Palms, with a stunning 360° view.  We had a corner table overlooking the Strip – definitely the very best table in the restaurant!  

Our food was amazing, too.  We had the 7-course tasting menu, with three additional treats for a total of 10 fabulous experiences.  I remembered to photograph most of them, although I dug into my rack of lamb and forgot.

The servers were lovely, all male I noted, and kind and friendly as well as correct.  A first for me was when I made a trip to the restroom:  I asked where it was and the young man said “I’ll show you” and he walked me to where I could see it.  When I came back, the host, a different young man, was waiting at my chair to seat me.  I could get used to that!

Okay, here’s where I could have done better:

·      I bought a bottle of Kendall Jackson Chardonnay to have at our condo.  We grocery shopped right after our flight, while waiting for check-in time, and I was hungry.  I lied to myself “Oh, I’ll just have a glass each day and stretch the bottle over the whole time.”  Not.  I drank most of it the first evening and didn’t sleep well.

·      I ordered wine out several times.  What do you think about this, Readers??  Is alcohol a valid ingredient in having a good time?  Nice-to-have?  Must-have??  I will say, the prices were shocking enough to keep it to a minimum!

·      I ate this, from the Starbucks right by our pool.  To my credit, I didn’t get a latte to go with it, and I cut it in half and saved half for another day.

·      We never hiked and didn’t walk around as much as I expected.  There just wasn’t that much time in three full days.  We like to take our time when traveling, and each day included some time reading in our condo or by the pool.  We did take one walk from Paris over the bridge to the Bellagio and back, but it was more of a stroll than a power walk.

·      Didn’t swim as much as I expected.  It was just a bit more chilly than my ideal swimming weather, and again, not much time.

·      Did not even think about doing my physical therapy exercises – not once the whole time.

Altogether it was a very nice trip.  I feel so lucky to be in a position to do something like this once in a while, and I am grateful for my life.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Las Vegas, Here We Come!

Stan and I are off to Las Vegas tomorrow, he to a conference and I to have lunch with a friend I worked with when I lived there a long time ago.  We will stay at a Worldmark condo, which is a timeshare organization that Stan has belonged to for many years.   They are always comfortable and convenient, a perfect home away from home, especially for folks who like to do some of their own cooking while traveling.  They are decorated in an attractive and calm, clutter-free style that is a welcome rest from all our belongings at home.  (Stan always admires how the drawer of cooking gadgets has 5 or 6 items neatly side-by-side, instead of the tangle that is ours.)

In the city of excesses, I am planning not to forget my healthy goals!  Here are some ways I’ll keep to the plan while traveling:

·      Swim!  The timeshare has a lovely pool.  I’m hoping the weather will be warm and I know they usually keep the pools nicely heated.

·      Walk!  We know from experience you can walk miles along the strip from casino to casino.  A few years ago we also drove out to Red Rock, and we can find a place to hike there.

·      Eat!  Salad, that is.  Everywhere we go there will be healthy choices, even at those giant buffets.  I have avoided sugar for a while now, so fruit tastes sweet like a dessert.  If I can avoid looking at the pastry offerings, I’ll be okay!

Market Street Cafe, at the California casino

·      Cook our own breakfasts, and maybe a dinner.  After a few days of mostly eating out, it’s a relief to just have salmon or a steak with broccoli, and, of course, the two squares of dark chocolate that are our daily dessert.

Cooking veggies for my breakfast at home

·      Avoid alcohol…  I know it’s everywhere there, but since we’re not really gamblers, no one will be pressing drinks on us.  It probably sounds boring, but the evening is more likely to find us watching a movie than living it up at a club.  I know Stan will have wine at our condo, but fortunately he likes red and I prefer white, so it’s a bit easier to resist sharing his.

We do have two special events planned.  One is tickets to see the musical JerseyBoys, playing at the Paris casino.  It’s the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons – all the music I listened to in high school!!  I’ve already got the songs running through my head – Big Girls Don’t Cry, Sherry, Walk Like a Man.

We’re also going to eat a gourmet dinner one night at Alizé, at the top of the Palms casino.  Since Stan’s hobby is cooking he loves to see what the really good chefs are doing, and believe me, my eyes have been opened since I’ve been with him!  We still talk about the dinner we had at a different restaurant in Las Vegas three years ago, in Mandalay Bay.  If it were still there, we’d be going back, but we had to research a new one and Alizé sounds great.

They offer a tasting menu of several small courses, which limits the options down to two or three choices for each course.  Naturally a wine pairing is offered with each course.  Stan will taste the wines and I’ll have one glass of a nice white.  I’ll be our designated driver, which will help keep me to my plan when it’s actually time to order.  And yes, I’m definitely planning to eat the dessert!  I’ll report on all of it when we get home.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Non-food Treat

Today I got a manicure.  Since I have stopped my near-daily visits to Starbucks, this is an affordable treat that will last a week or longer.  My salon, 44th Street Salon in Renton, is right next door to a Starbucks and I thought I might have to fight temptation, but thanks to my big egg and veggie breakfast, and to the fact I haven't been eating sugar, I wasn't particularly hungry or craving anything and it was easy to just head straight home.

Aaargh, I didn't know my hands were so wrinkly.  They've been busy!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sulfur-rich Veggies

The Wahls Protocol recommends eating three cups of sulfur-rich vegetables every day – that’s a lot!  I may not get to the entire three cups, but I’m finding ways to increase the amount of sulfurous veggies I eat.

First of all – which vegetables are these?  The cabbage family (cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower), the onion family (onions, shallots, garlic) and all types of mushrooms.

And why do I need to eat more of them?  Dr. Wahls says:
Sulfur is key because it nourishes mitochondria, removes toxins from cells, and helps create proteins and connective tissue necessary for joint, skin, and blood vessel health.

 I read an article in Mark’s Daily Apple blog that gives more detail about what these vegetables do for us, and some tips on cooking them to keep more of the good compounds, which can be destroyed by boiling or microwaving at high heat:
·      Chopping or crushing sulfurous veggies and letting them sit about 10 minutes before cooking seems to help keep the benefits during cooking

·      Using lower-heat cooking methods retains nutrients - steam instead of boil and if microwaving (which Dr. Wahls doesn’t recommend at all), use medium or low power.

Cabbage Family:

Stan and I have a start on this already, since broccoli is our “go to” vegetable.  When we’re at the store and don’t have an idea of what to get to go with our dinner, we always seem to wind up with broccoli.  I was boiling it, but am now switching over to steaming to retain nutrients.  I also love Whole Foods' Broccoli Crunch, with broccoli, raisins, red onions and a few other things.

We squirt on a bit of lemon juice and salt and pepper

We like Brussels sprouts, too, and have grown them in our garden with varying success – some years great, other years nothing.  We usually boil them for a few minutes and then saute in butter.  Here are a couple of other recipes:

Stan found Scallops with Blood Orange Gastrique in Bon Appétit

Brussels sprouts and apple hash from KCTS9 Cooks

Stan is Irish and introduced me to colcannon – essentially mashed potatoes with chopped cabbage mashed in.  The grandkids groaned when they saw what he had done, but I noticed they ate it all  : )  We also eat cabbage in wedges, cooked just enough to still be crunchy, with a little vinegar splashed on.

Cabbage wedge with vinegar also goes great with the chicken piccata sauce

I have been adding cabbage and onion to my breakfast, too, since reading a good recipe in The Abascal Way to Quiet Inflammation, by Kathy Abascal.   She recommends poaching a couple of eggs on a bed of sautéed cabbage with a few sun-dried tomatoes and some of the oil from the tomatoes.  I’m a bit lazier, so I just sauté the cabbage and tomatoes, and some onion or scallion, then scramble in one or two eggs.  Some fruit or a sliced avocado goes well on the side.


We like cauliflower and usually just combine it with broccoli occasionally, but Stan experimented with a “faux-tato” recipe and although it didn't quite fool me, it was very good.

Onion Family:

This is trickier for me as Stan doesn’t like onions.  He’ll eat shallots so we use those in place of onions a lot.  My son, Tyler, made creamed shallots on Thanksgiving.  I would never have thought of that, but they were sweet and a bit caramelized and delicious!  I’ve been buying scallions too, as I like the green color and it’s easy to chop one for my breakfast.

I don’t like a lot of garlic, but I’m making a point now of adding at least one clove when it’s called for in a recipe.


Stan loves mushrooms.  I didn’t, when I met him, but I had mostly had white button mushrooms raw in salads and didn’t know what I was missing.  Stan cooks all kinds, in many delicious dishes.  Some are only available during certain seasons, so we’re marking the calendar to remember to cook some favorite recipes when the mushrooms are available.

Stan's mushroom sauce for steak

Chicken breast with chantrelles and tomatoes in creamy sauce

Monday, January 12, 2015

Letting Go

I’m starting to realize that really changing one’s eating habits goes deeper than just going on a diet.  This is a lifestyle change, and it will be wasted if I go back to normal when the year is up.  I’m having to let go of quite a few things:

·      Comfort Foods – These are foods I enjoyed as a child.  My Mom wasn’t an enthusiastic cook, but she gave us food she thought was healthy, never forgot to pack the school lunch, and served dinner every night at 6:00 PM including dessert.  Macaroni and cheese, cream of wheat, graham crackers with peanut butter, bologna and liverwurst sandwiches – I still love all of these!

·      Things I thought were healthy but maybe aren’t – oatmeal, whole grain bread, potatoes.  The more I read, the more I think any starch is not good for me.  I love sweet potatoes, butternut squash soup, and fresh corn on the cob, but I think even these healthy starches should be saved for the occasional treat.

·      Gluten – I’ve had practice being gluten-free because when I had breast cancer I saw a naturopath who advised me to give up gluten, and I did so for about one and a half years.  Stan researched GF substitutes and one of the things he found was this Italian GF pasta on Amazon that we use all the time now because it is so good.  I don’t notice any specific symptoms when I eat gluten, but will avoid it this year and learn more. 

·      Dairy – again, stuff I thought was healthy.  Some years ago I read the book Eat Right For Your Blood Type, and I was happy to learn that my type (B positive) comes from ancient people who could tolerate dairy, because I love it – milk, yogurt, cheese and real butter.  I plan to cut back this year, but I doubt I’ll give up cream (Stan’s wonderful sauces!) or butter.  Hmm, or cheese!  or yogurt!  
Cottage cheese lunch - yum!

·      Starbucks – so sad.  After retiring and leaving my downtown Starbucks, I had started the delightful habit of walking around my neighborhood and then down the (very steep) hill to our suburban Starbucks drive-thru.  I’d struggle back up, coffee in hand, and feel quite virtuous for having exercised.  It turns out my tall soy latte has 130 calories and 18 grams of carbohydrate, and the eggnog lattes I enjoyed over the holidays were 360 calories and 43 carbs.  Oops! I plan to switch to green tea but I don’t think it will be quite as motivating.
P.S.  I tried this tea and it is delicious!  

Teavana Jade Citrus Mint

·      Give up wine?  For a whole year?  Maybe forever?? I’m not sure I can do it.   For most of my adult life I’ve used wine to relax at the end of the day, and I love the feeling of sitting down, especially with Stan or a friend, or my Facebook friends, to have a glass of wine together.  Unfortunately I rarely have a glass of wine, more like three, so this year I’ll do my best to do without. 

Had mineral water at our favorite wine bar Friday night. (Not the same as Chardonnay, but okay...)

·      Baking – I had learned to bake bread and was getting fairly good at it before I was advised not to eat gluten.  I love the feel of kneading and shaping a nice yeast-risen dough, and Stan and I both liked eating the bread fresh from the oven.  I had even thought it would be fun to take pastry-making classes at Renton Technical College as a retirement hobby.  Instead I’ll learn to make healthier, gluten-free baked items, but the technique and results are quite different.

·      The idea that I gave my kids healthy foods – I raised two wonderful kids, Tyler and Melanie.  I did what I knew at the time, but looking back, I was making a lot of mistakes.  I breast-fed my babies, and used soy formula when needed because they didn’t seem to take cows’ milk well.  However, I still drank plenty of milk myself – cows’ milk! Duh.  We ate lots of starch – sandwiches, pizza, and all those delicious, easy casseroles that start with a can of condensed cream-of-something soup.  I knew sugar and artificial colors and flavors were bad, but I still made yummy Jello salad recipes for the holidays, and I thought I was being a good Mom by serving sweet desserts after dinner.  I’m glad to know both of them eat better now!

·      The idea that I’ll look young again if I do this right – well, I’m 67.  I’ll never look 30, or even 40 or 50, regardless of how I eat and exercise.  I do know that; I just have to keep my expectations under control.  I want to feel young.  I want my body age to match my brain age, so I am able to do the things I still want to do.

So, during this year I’ll be working on my attitude as well as my health, and I’ll be developing new tastes and new favorite treats.  I’ll try to be pretty honest with you readers about what’s working and where I need improvement.  If, no, when, I see it starting to work, I think I’ll be motivated to keep going  : )