Lately, I have thought of all the things I wish I had done. I have the time now. California is in “shelter at home” situation to slow the rate of infection of the Covid-19 viral infection. It’s better to be prepared for the worst and be happy if it eases up sooner. You’d call me a pessimist. That’s OK with me.
To make it through this challenging time, I have to learn to think a bit differently. I am especially interested in immunity for good reason.
Below is what I made from the “Forks Over Knives” App after I searched for my main ingredient, bok choy. It had the high immunity ingredients of garlic, fresh fresh ginger, Shitaki mushrooms, leeks, onions, celery, bok choy, broccoli, edamame, jalapeño peppers and Chinese Five Spice powder and was delicious.
I wish I had changed my lifestyle and eaten plants consistently years ago. I could have skipped the knee and hip replacement, high blood pressure and depression. I eat plants now. I avoid all animal products. I have since learned that my body functions much better when avoiding all animal products and alcohol ( a Class 1 carcinogen). I am much healthier now! And so will the planet Earth be too!
As you can tell, I dive into all the information that I can find from the websites that I follow. I feel like a sieve filtering out all the junk and saving the valuable information for you and me.
After watching the movie which is available on Netflix, “Forks Over Knives,” I started following the people that I’ve mentioned in previous posts and on other areas of this blog. Here are a few people to check in on and even sign up for their newsletters to stay healthy. Please do! Especially important at this time.
Dr. John McDougall is a favorite. Check out his YouTube videos for dealing with the Coronavirus. Very interesting! I’ve gone to his “Advanced Nutrition Weekends” and even a week of nutrition study and travel to Kauai. From there I met others such as Drs. Esselstyn, Greger, Fuhrman, Ornish, Goldhamer, and many more reputable physicians. I am totally convinced that this will serve me well through this difficult time of Covid-19.
The reason that I’m so convinced and am working so hard is that I’m in the high risk age category, 77, but since I have no chronic diseases of aging (obesity, diabetes, heart condition, cancer, etc.) I plan to be around for a long time. No reason not to put in my best effort! I expect you will too!
Just to bring you into my world, I was born in the state capitol of Pennsylvania and lived there for five years, then moved to West Point Island, New Jersey and moved back to Pennsylvania where I spent the majority of my life. Now follow me on my personal travels…
There were things in my life that I loved… the out of doors, boats and living near the water, color, science, medicine, travel, learning new things, etc. I had a lot of curiosity and loved exploring. I always thought that I was doing well in the way I lived my life. I chose to participate in school, college, marriages, work, moves across the country and meeting new friends and so forth. Just to clue you in, I am 77 having been born in 1942, I thought “It was a very good year” as the song says.
But now down to the nitty gritty… My parents worried about me frequently. I was sick with colds, sore throats, fevers and in school came down with most everything that was going around. At six years old, a strep throat put me in the hospital with antibiotics around the clock, my derrière was black and blue with all the penicillin shots. As a child, my energy was low and I took lots of long naps. Mom did too. Every Christmas my sister and I seemed to be sick. We’d decorate beautiful sugar cookies in the shape of angels. Birthdays always included a 1,2,3,4 recipe birthday cake made with lots of eggs, sugar and white flour by Mom with icing any color we wanted. I chose blue 10x sugar frosting. Ice cream or a fruit pie were favorite desserts after a dinner of meat, a green veggie and a starch (potato, Pennsylvania Dutch wide noodles or rice). My father brought ice cream, donuts from the bakery, chocolate TastyCakes, a local Philadelphia favorite. We were never at a loss for something sweet, tasty and delicious to eat.
In the late 1940s and 50s we lived on a barrier island in New Jersey. Looking west over Barnegat Bay, we saw sunsets, blimps and heat lightning from oncoming thunderstorms in the distance. We used to drive into Toms River and through the Pine Barrens for school, doctors appointment and shopping. Mom always knew where to get the best produce, tomatoes, blueberries, corn, etc. from the local farm stands. I still love blueberries and all the fresh fruits and vegetables. We would go crabbing in the bay for blue claw crabs and often drove up to Point Pleasant to buy fish at the Point Pleasant fish market on the docks. Mom asked me what kind of fish I’d like. I’d always say bluefish. Remember “blue” was my favorite color! She laughed when I told her that after eating years of bluefish, not her favorite. In the evening, my father and I often set an eel trap in the channel baited with squashed crabs that I had caught while wading in the shallow water to catch eels. In the evening we’d take the filled trap out to the channel and tied it to a channel marker. The next morning we’d row out to pull up the line and find our trap filled with eels. Eighteen was the most we caught. Once we caught a diamond back terrapin which we released. Rowing back we then we threw the eels into our big sand box so they’d be easier to grab and then worked on gutting and skinning them. Mom cut them in short pieces and put them in a paper bag with flour, salt and pepper. Sautéing them in butter and serving them for dinner made a delicious dinner for us. Other days, we waded in the bay in front of our house. We could take a crab net and scoop up a “softie,” a soft shelled crab, which Mom then sautéed in butter and enjoyed immensely. Ten years at the Jersey shore covered my most impressionable years of five to fifteen.
I was a skinny child and recall being the last one to leave the school lunch room because I was a slow eater. I did look forward to the hot turkey or roast beef sandwiches on white bread served with gravy and sometimes hotdogs with mustard at the school lunches.
At fifteen years of age after learning to swim and sail in and on Barnegat Bay, a move was made back to Pennsylvania. As I grew up, I went to visit friends for celebrations, my palate was expanding to cocktails, exotic cheeses, salami and spanakopita. My travels took me to other countries with strange foods which were unique and worth tasing and savoring. At home, my mother tried to keep us healthy by telling us to clean our plates, not drink Coke, try new foods like the chick peas, spinach that I never really liked. I like it now. My Grandmother grew rhubarb and potatoes, canned peaches and tomatoes at her home in Reading, Pennsylvania. I gathered a love of gardening and cooking from my grandmother and mother.
At twenty one, I weighed 110 pounds and was 5’9″ and continued to be a light weight (about 125 to 135 pounds) until I was in my fifties when menopause caught up with my metabolism.
I believed that the food I ate such as chicken, beef, pork, other meats, dairy, yogurt, cheese, milk, ice cream were good for me and wouldn’t cause any problems. I followed the common beliefs that we needed protein (meat) strong muscles, and calcium (milk) for bone density. Probably, just like you thought. I grew up in the 40s, 50s and 60s when so much was changing. Processed food was on the horizon. Spaghetti O’s, frozen pizza, hot dogs, fish sticks, Carnation Instant Breakfast, Jello, instant pudding randomly found their way into the rest of my diet. I often had a hard time concentrating and napped often and sometimes just felt low on energy. My sister and I frequently were sick around the holidays when we made our special desserts like sour cream pound cakes with candied cherries and a decadent sour cream chocolate sauce called “chocolate goop” that we put on ice cream.
As a young adult, I loved being out of doors, lived on a cruising sailboat and often rode a bike, swam at the YMCA pool and practiced yoga. Exercise to balance out my indoor, sedentary artwork was something I always enjoyed, thank goodness.
All that was how I began my life. Because of my curiosity, I continued learning about health, so never fear, I made some very major moves as I came across valuable information. I only wish that I had learned all that I know now. Going in with a good bit of curiosity, skepticism and thought, I found a more healthful path that I’d like to share with you.
I told you to expect posts on nutrition or artwork. Here is a combination of the two. Last Saturday, I took a pastel workshop with Otto Sturcke which ended up being a well focused 4 hours spent on noticing the intensity of the red, yellow and green peppers. So satisfying to me because it made the thought of eating real plants so delicious.
Now… what to do with them? Next step is to raid the refrigerator. What do I have? Brown rice, three bean chili, sweet and yellow onions, tofu, beet greens (Dr. Esselstyn would be pleased), oregano from our garden and lots of other things that just don’t sound like they should go into a pepper. That’s it, “Stuffed peppers.” Now all I have to do is find out what spices to add. On a search for a vegan recipe, I found Ceara’s Kitchen had a really nice one that could help me through the timing and assembly steps. Helpful photographs too. One thing I will do is to keep it simple by eliminating a few things and add the things that I think will make it tasty. I do not add oil, but sauté in vegetable broth like she does. Recipes like this can be very forgiving. One of my favorite things to add would be some corn kernels.
This would be a fine dinner as a way to avoid eating a chicken. I raised chickens years ago and loved the variety of breeds that we received from Murray McMurray Hatchery. My 5 year old son and I sold eggs to neighbors and had the joy of seeing how a fluffy chick became a handsome breed of chicken and went on to laying eggs. At this time, I’d keep them was pets and wouldn’t dare to eat them. Unfortunately, factory farm raised chickens are extremely high in fat and processed under conditions that you wouldn’t expect. And you thought they were safe? Not at all. Check out this website in the Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine, PCRM. So, it’s stuffed peppers tonight!
This morning when the pool was closed, I went for a two mile walk to close my Apple Watch green exercise circle. I always aim to close my red move circle and blue stand circles. It’s just a good way for me to keep track of my daily lifestyle goals lifestyle goals.
On my walk, I met a friend who I’d met when we were docents at the Friends of the Elephant Seal rookery. We chatted about what we as retired people were doing now. Where I live there are many opportunities for retirees to contribute to the out-of-doors natural science education of visitors. Many travelers from all over the United States and all over the seven continents. California has a unique landscape of ocean, bays, rivers, forests, grasslands and deserts making a healthy lifestyle easy to experience.
As usual the topic of nutrition came up. With me, it usually does because it’s such a big part of my life ever since I watched the movie Forks Over Knives and various other links such as the one I received today. It was a podcast Plant Strong with Rip Esselstyn.
The strange thing was that when my friend went to the doctor’s office with her husband, a conversation began. She told me that all the women in the waiting room said that their husbands, partners or significant others were alive because of what the women were doing. I cannot figure it out why women are usually the ones who care, take responsibility and run the house so that their husbands are the recipients of all their efforts, continuous kindness, health care and generosity.
I have come to the conclusion that men are just as capable to take on their own health and lifestyle needs. Do we want to continually drag an unwilling partner along as we make our best efforts? Or do we just keep doing what we want and set a good example for a healthy lifestyle?
The way I see it, having two partners working on healthy lifestyles and nutritional needs has a much huge benefit for both of them. The biggest gift to our partner is to give them ourselves in our most healthy condition when we take responsibility for ourselves. Now the best gift they can give to us is the excitement, enthusiasm and knowledge to support a whole foods plant based, no oil, salt and sugar, lifestyle too!
Health is a gift we give to our immediate family, children and extended family. Right?
They are our comfort food. They looked like candy. What a peculiar idea!
The day I bought the potatoes, just a few of the over 100 varieties, I saw the colors and was happy to plop them down on my wooden chest for a pastel sketch. As I worked they looked more delicious as time passed. The varied colors and diverse sizes were an indication of how we can become enthralled with them.
Eating these colorful and nutritious tubers offer vitamins galore along with a satisfying feeling of having something filling and tasty to eat. An excellent source of vitamin C and B6 along with more potassium than a banana. They are fat, sodium and cholesterol free. So they must be healthful! Just don’t cook them in grease or put fatty and salty things on them. No milk or butter. That is what does the damage to our bodies. Remember, the fat you eat is the fat you wear. So true for me as I got older and had no idea that is what was happening. I loved eating potatoes with meat with fat rippled through it, loved dipping my bread in the gravy under a roast and eating chicken which has a huge quantity of fat in it.
Meat and potatoes had become a standard concept. Over the years, I had misconstrued ideas about “protein” which I considered meat to be. Ideas that dairy and meat were good for me and I needed to eat it with my fruits and vegetables. It is what I heard in the news. When I started having high blood pressure, a doctor never asked what I ate. I was only told that I should take a pill to lower my blood pressure. HUH?! Why would I be told that? Oh, the pharmaceutical lobbies wanted me to take a pill for the rest of my life so they could make money on my ignorance about high blood pressure. Guess what… A lifestyle change and potatoes are really good at lowering high blood pressure and much less expensive. Disclaimer: Remember, if you are on blood pressure medicine, the change in diet is not a quick fix. So check with your doctor first.
Just having read the book Proteinaholic * by Garth Davis, M.D., I realized that I didn’t have the correct idea about protein. Actually, no one in the USA who has enough food is protein deficient. There is protein in broccoli and other vegetables, potatoes, quinoa, brown rice, kasha, millet, all colors of beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and fruit. So I no longer need meat or dairy (a subject for another day). I have plenty of protein in my plant foods.
So back to my healthful potatoes… I love them baked with broccoli on top, covered with vegetable chili or mashed with mushroom gravy. What I also like to do is to just have them plain. I bake them so I might be able to grab one to eat as a snack when I’m hungry. Microwaving them takes just a few minutes depending on size. When I boil them, they are easy to use in other recipes such as adding them to salads to give a satiating component.
What will you do you with your next potatoes? Draw them, bake them, boil them or throw them in a soup? Whatever… enjoy them!
Until the next sketch…peace and good health, Heather
*Two excellent podcasts by Howard Jacobson on the book, Proteinaholic, by Garth Davis, MD and Howard Jacobson, PhD. They are found on plantyourself.com as podcast #122 . An interview with Garth Davis, MD is on and earlier podcast #059
I woke up early at 5:35AM, made coffee for my guy, started his Wheatena with ground flax, set up a bowl with frozen Bing cherries to defrost, sprinkled them with walnuts and went back to bed to listen to a podcast. It was Rich Roll on his podcast! He interviewed two women who made “an attempt to complete 5 Ironman-distance triathlons on 5 Hawaiian Islands in under 5 days.” It’s called the EPIC5 Challenge . It was so interesting and then I faded off and fell asleep and then woke up at 6:50AM. He was talking to the two women who are Ultra Athletes, “thriving on the cutting edge of ultra-endurance.”
I woke up excited about what these women were doing, thinking about the effort they put in and how it paid off. I wanted that too. I went back into the kitchen and made my steel cut oats and thought what else would I like in it. Went to the fridge and grabbed my jar of saved leftover kale cooked the day before, dumped it in, went to the freezer and grabbed two shiitake mushrooms, chopped them up, grabbed a can of fire roasted tomatoes from my pantry and dumped about a quarter of a can in along with one tablespoon of my Dr. Greger’s seasoning mix . Oh yes, a tiny bit of liquid smoke (optional). This is my favorite way to make my oatmeal after spending years of wondering why anyone would eat and like savory oats. Must have been me watching Jane and Anne Esselstyn’s video.
As I see it, since our American doctors were never really trained in NUTRITION, they never gave us the information that we needed to avoid so many illnesses and the chronic diseases of aging. So sad. I know they tried their best, but all they could do was give us pills. I speak from experience having been a little girl who missed lots of days at school due to sickness. I took endless naps due to tiredness and lack of energy. I was eating the SAD, standard American diet, which my mother and father carefully prepared to make sure I was as healthy as possible. Little did they know that their choices were guided by the meat lobbies, dairy lobbies, egg lobbies, sugar lobbies, pharmaceutical lobbies, and medical lobbies. I had numerous doses of antibiotics.
Yes, I was gypped for many years by being deprived of information, but the truth is that now I consider all this experience in the past is now an opportunity! I have chosen to educate myself over the past 8 years in what I have found to be a much more healthful way of living. It was that I was offered a copy of “Forks Over Knives” to watch by a friend. I am very grateful to her. She happened to be a Seventh Day Adventist with the knowledge from one of the Blue Zones in America, Loma Linda, California. No matter what religion or Humanist approach you take, the lifestyle that promotes healthful longevity seems desirable to me. So now is the time for those of us, no matter what our age is, to choose a healthy lifestyle by eating a whole foods plant based diet and avoiding all the meat, dairy, eggs, and strongly limit the salt, oil and sugar to which we’d been accustomed. Add onto this way of eating a lifestyle which includes daily exercise and relationships with like-minded people who support our efforts.
This way of living is expanding rapidly while our waistlines are shrinking. Thousands of people are carefully considering how to do this and are finding a better and pleasant improvement in health and happiness. It’s all about educating ourselves.
Now that you’ve read all this, here’s a little bit of dessert, an Anjou pear from my Farmers’ Market.
Until the next sketch… peace, Heather
*Quotes are from the Rich Roll website mentioned here.
During a cold and frosty winter, a brilliant color that evokes the warmth and freshness of summer or a trip to Florida or California. Peeling an orange makes my fingers juicy and sticky just to separate the sections to pop into my mouth. A big squirt of orange juice is a delightful way to add in some Vitamin C which can lessen the chance of getting sick. It is one of the most delicious fruits. Just don’t try to eat one while you’re on a computer, iPad or iPhone!
So going to the market, I’ll choose a variety fruits and vegetables. It’s funny that I write about something that we have known about for years, eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Skip the processed and fast food that has snuck in to our pantries and way of thinking. Factories have created processed food that appeals to our senses of salty, sweet, buttery. Or should I say SOS (sugar, oil, salt) which I now consider dangerous to my health. Now, I’m leaning towards more fresh fruits and vegetables since there is less work. Then it’s not hard to cook a few grains (rice, potatoes, quinoa, millet or kasha) to put my vegetables on! A pot of beans soaked overnight then cooked in my Instant Pot makes a super addition to my meal. The excess I freeze in pint jars to save for later. Canned beans or chickpeas are fine too, if you rinse off the excess of salt.
Come join me, Heather
P.S. Join Howard Jacobson in Plantyourself.com for his latest podcast or one of many others that he has produced on all sorts of useful topics. This week he chose the topic of “Vanquishing Procrastination.”
As I was growing up, my mother often put a beautiful stalk of broccoli on our dinner plates. Always so bright and green along side the wide buttered noodles and a piece of roasted chicken, I couldn’t resist. Now, I skip the chicken … too much fat and it’s an animal that I came to love after raising them for their beautiful colorful feathers. I’ve altered what I eat significantly since I having learned so much over the past seven and almost eight years now.
Recently, I found a super cookbook by Cathy Fisher called Straight Up Foodwhich includes excellent information to keep me on track for proper methods of preparation. What to include and what to omit. Actually, it is the first cookbook that I found myself reading the “Preface” and then continued on to the “Introduction”, “The Food”, “SOS-Free”, etc. She teaches at TrueNorth Health Center in Santa Rosa, California.
My first recipe from the cookbook was a Broccoli soup which turned a deep green because I put in a generous amount of Swiss chard. Couldn’t resist all those greens because of what I’d learned from Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. You’ll find his books listed under “Books” and “Cookbooks.” The second recipe was called Tu-No Casserole. It was amusing to me, in that I’d never made a Tuna Casserole before, but since I’m from Pennsylvania and used to creamy type of foods from the Pennsylvania Dutch region. It seemed appealing.
This cookbook I’ll continue to use frequently due to its creative and varied recipes along with its excellent compatibility with all the physicians, researchers and other chefs who follow a “whole foods plant based” approach to prevent and in many cases reverse the chronic aging diseases.
Below is a fascinating podcast about the many benefits of broccoli. Dr. Greger also mentions the best way to get the most out of it by waiting almost an hour to cook it after cutting it up. The time increases the nutritious benefits. If you cannot do that he adds a spice. So take time to listen as you play it during your daily walk. I play many podcasts during my two mile amble around the Marina Boardwalk in Morro Bay. A couple days ago, the Harmony Headlands lured me out on a walk where I listened to a podcast.
If you read to the end, you’ll find a treat from a friend. Actually, there are special treats all through my post. Just click on the links. In addition to this post, go to my website and sign in to “FOLLOW” my websites for “Art and Healthy Groundwork” for the most recent posts. Try clicking on the page “Healthy Groundwork” to see an introduction to my ideas and a bit about “me” on this path.
Today, I was craving something hearty for breakfast because of the cool weather and something good for my heart. Just look at how wonderful a banana can be when you draw it or hold it ready to peel and cook with it.
So here is the Prevent and Reverse Heat Disease cookbook and YouTube demonstration by Ann and Jane Esselstyn that shows you how easy heart health can be. The video is the most entertaining! I loved it when I saw it. They make the Banana Steel Cut Oats and Savory Smoky Oats recipes found on pages 44 and 54. You can guess which might be my favorite. I make oat waffles some days, too. If only my Mother had known about these recipes, she would have had great fun making them.
Now for oats. You can get the rolled oats or my favorite, the steel cut oats. Skip the “quick oats since they are almost the consistency of predigested pablum when you cook them. In the Esselstyn cookbook, it says that “oats help lower cholesterol and blood sugar, reduce artery inflammation, and are dose responsive, so find a breakfast with oats, in some fashion, every day.”
WOW! I’ll go for that
When I want to search something like “oats,” I go to Dr. Michael Greger at nutritionfacts.org and find all sorts of information. He is my best source of peer-reviewed research, so it’s going to be accurate. I frequently dig into the sequential posts he produces. It confirms that I am on the correct path to learning more valuable information.
Come join me, Heather
P.S. Here is the treat that you were curiously waiting for… a link to a podcast by Howard Jacobson, PhD who interviews Caroline Trapp, DNP on the topic of “Unleashing Nurses to Revolutionize Patient Care.”
Here is one of my prettiest wrinkled and curly cabbages in pastel. Since it’s sketch you cannot enjoy the full pleasure unless you see one in actuality. It almost leapt off the organic farmer’s stand!
Since I’ve chosen to eat plants and draw them, here is a thought that it would be good as coleslaw! My coleslaw is ready for a bit of plant yogurt and grated carrots, and I found some grapes on my counter that would compliment the slaw. Now, I’m off to get the soy or cashew yogurt to mix in with the rice vinegar, dijon mustard and celery seeds. I consider myself a creative cook who frequently alters recipes on a whim.
For those of you who started following me for my art, I hope you’ll enjoy the beauty of art and good health. When it looks this attractive, it will feel good too. I guess I just love to eat beautiful vegetables. What could be next?