Gluten Free Veggie Red Pepper Boats

photo

Kudos to Frankie again for this week’s recipe.  She reminded me of a dish I used to make (and hadn’t made in years), and said she would help me make it.  Her suggestion worked out perfectly because I was going to make something with chicken and it wasn’t thawed out in time, so it was great to have a vegetarian back up.  She even helped me make it – thanks Frankie!

Ingredients:

3 red or yellow peppers
8 oz. brown rice noodles
1 cup snow peas, sliced
2 cups sliced green cabbage
1 cup chopped kale
1 cup carrots, diced really small
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
Olive oil and dark sesame oil for stir frying veggies
Sea salt and fresh pepper to taste

Sauce:
3 Tbsp. Asian BBQ sauce (or poison sauce)
2 Tbsp. gluten free soy sauce

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Clean out the peppers and cut in half lengthwise (top to bottom).  Oil the bottom of a 13 x 9 glass pan and put the peppers seasoned with salt and pepper, cut side down.  Cook for about 15 minutes or until crisp/tender.

Cook the brown rice noodles according to package, and drain when done.

Heat 1 Tbsp. each olive oil and dark sesame oil in a wok or pan to medium, and add the snow peas, cabbage, carrots, and garlic.  Saute for about 5-10 minutes or until just about your desired tenderness.  Add the kale the last couple of minutes to finish cooking the veggies.

Mix the Asian BBQ sauce or Hoisin sauce with the soy sauce.  Add it to the veggies along with the noodles and toss with the cilantro.

Scoop the noodle and veggie mix into the pepper halves and serve.

Note:  You can add meat or tofu, if desired – just make a little extra sauce if you do.

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Natural Repellents For Summer Pests

mosquito repellent

By Shannon Keirnan – Contributing Foodie Bitch, Mosquito Hater

‘Tis that time of the season here in Michigan – the sun is hot, the windows are open, and I’m probably on the deck enjoying a nice glass of wine with the weather.

Meanwhile, the fruit flies are seizing the opportunity to sneak in through the window screen, the flies won’t quit biting my leg and landing in my glass… and we won’t even discuss the indignities I’m suffering from the mosquitos that come in off of my marshy backyard in bloodthirsty swarms.

Need some ideas on getting rid of these pesky critters, without putting other critters (or yourself) in danger from harmful chemicals? Check out the list below.

Flies

Make a natural fly repellant out of essential oils. You can check out some ideas here (just remember NOT to apply essential oil directly to your skin unless it has been properly diluted). You can also add a few drops of oils to a spray bottle and spray the area before going outside. Try basil, lavender, bay, rosemary, or mint oils – or just keep your herb garden near where you like to sit!

Hang strips of fabric soaked in garlic water in the area, or apply garlic water to your skin. It will keep the flies away but probably no one else will want to be near you either, so use that idea at your discretion.

Trap the ones that just wouldn’t take the hint in a jar with some apple cider vinegar, and a few drops of dish soap.

Fruit Flies

If you love produce and your kitchen is now teeming with these buggers like mine, try an easy and natural trap. Simply put apple cider vinegar into a glass, and cover it with plastic wrap. Rubber band the plastic wrap on, and poke a few small holes in the top to trap them inside. They’re good at breeding, but not real smart. Like a lot of people I know.

Try a (cute) DIY repellent  jar made with vanilla, sage, and mint. Find the directions here at The Dabblist!

Ants

If you know where the ants are coming in, try leaving some cucumber peelings on their front stoop. They don’t like the smell and won’t appreciate the gift.

Same goes for coffee grounds, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and pureed citrus peel (orange or lemon).

Sprinkle cornmeal where the ants will pick it up and eat it. In theory, it is supposed to expand in the ants and kill them. This doesn’t seem to be scientifically accurate, but a lot of people swear by it regardless.

Mosquitos (The WORST of the WORST)

First of all, make sure you don’t allow them breeding territory. Mosquitos lay their eggs in standing water, so clean bird baths often, make sure children’s toys aren’t collecting puddles after a rain, etc. All those buggers need is one tablespoon of water to sit still for seven-to-ten days, and you’ll be practically breathing them in when you walk outside.

If you have a small pond or something else that you can’t exactly drain regularly, think about investing in a few guppies or feeder goldfish. The small fish cost very little, and are awesomely effective at chomping up mosquito larvae and eggs. Just do your research before making that final decision – don’t introduce a species where it might potentially spread. If mosquitos are breeding in your backyard river or lake, this is not a great idea and won’t help you anyway.

A few drops of dish soap can also suffocate larvae in small bodies of water, but can be hazardous to other species that may drink the water, so again, use common sense and consider the larger implications.

Plant or pot lemon balm, a nicely scented plant that naturally repels mosquitos, presumably because they prefer all things evil and the pleasant citrus smell defeats them. Crush up a few leaves and dab the oils on your skin for extra oomph. Plus you’ll smell real pretty.

Keep catnip near by, as another enjoyable plant that keeps mosquitos pretty far away. Be forewarned – it keeps cats pretty near.

Have you tried any of these methods, or others? What are your favorites? Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments below, or visit us on Facebook!

Functional Medicine

Functional Medicine tree

By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch

I know I’ve posted video from Mark Hyman, M.D., about overall health and Functional Medicine.  And I have posted video from Dr. Terry Wahls about turning her health around using Functional Medicine.  So, I wanted to experience Functional Medicine first hand.

So, what exactly is Functional Medicine?  It’s a patient-centered approach to medicine (rather than disease-centered) that addresses the whole person and the underlying cause of disease, rather than just addressing the isolated symptoms.

Functional Medicine uses the example of a tree to explain how the overall health of the tree relies heavily on the health of the roots and the soil, or the foundation of the tree.  If you see that the leaves or fruit aren’t doing so well, you know something is off at the level of the roots, soil, or even the trunk of the tree.

Likewise, in humans, the foundational elements of health are:  sleep, exercise, nutrition, stress levels, relationships, and genetics.

Functional Medicine also takes into account the biochemical individuality of each human being, based on environmental and genetic uniqueness.

One of its core principles that I found most interesting is how it promotes organ reserve as a means to enhance the “health span,” not just the “life span” of each patient.  And, I also love how it tends to empower the patient to take ownership of their own health, rather than simply handing it over to the doctor.

In my own experience with family members and loved ones, it’s been frustrating to watch them go through the traditional health care system.  They are shuffled from one “expert” to the next.  They have one treating skin issues, another treating neurological issues, and another treating cardiac issues.

And then there’s the general practitioner.

If they have the unfortunate experience of landing in the hospital, there are even more “experts” called in to try to figure out what’s going on.  While I appreciate the expertise of each discipline and I value the skill set they posses, it’s got to be extremely difficult to develop a protocol for any patient when, first of all, there are so many people involved, and, second of all, when none of them typically evaluate the “foundation” of the patient, or take into consideration their lifestyle, environment, stress, nutrition, relationships, exercise, etc.

I think they are trying to find a “quick fix” to get the patient back on their feet and functioning, but they only end up putting band aids on them rather than healing them (in their defense, I have to say, that most patients tend to put pressure on them and demand that they tell them what is wrong with them.  They want a label and a quick fix, which is usually in the form of a drug or surgery.  There is no way that a doctor should feel that kind of pressure).

Because of biochemical individuality and environmental and genetic differences between individuals, a certain set of symptoms in one person may be a sign of something totally different in another person.  It’s really not something we can neatly categorize – nor can we neatly categorize the same protocol for all individuals experiencing similar symptoms.

While Functional Medicine is much more than I am explaining here, hopefully you now understand the basics.  If you want further information, check out the Functional Medicine website.  They also have a section where you can search for a Functional Medicine Practitioner in your area.

So, back to my experience.  This morning I went to DBC Natural Holistic Health Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as they practice Functional Medicine.  I loved how they focused on food as medicine.  In fact, Dr. DenBoer recently traveled to San Francisco to a Food as Medicine conference, which I thought was pretty cool.  I also loved how they didn’t automatically run a bunch of tests that may or may not be necessary.

First, I had a brief phone call with one of their Health Coaches, and had to fill out a lengthy questionnaire online.

Then on my visit today, they did a Bioelectric Impedance Analysis, which helped them assess my intercellular health and muscle mass, body fat, and BMR (rate my body metabolism burns calories at rest).  It measured my cell size and the speed at which cell regeneration occurs.  It also measured intracellular water – the water inside my cells (the higher the number the better and it is influenced by hormonal balance), and extracellular water (a smaller number is better – too much here is an indicator of toxicity, liver and kidney function as well as cardiac output).  It also looked at total body water.

They tested me for zinc deficiency (I was deficient), and did the usual height and weight stuff.

Since I went in to help improve my digestion, the doctor went over some things she thought might help her with putting the pieces together for me in this area.  She checked my alignment and felt around on my abdomen for intestinal clues.  She tested for adrenal health and went over a number of lifestyle questions.

She gave me a food log to fill out for the next 7 days to hand in on my next visit, which is in 1 week.  Between now and then she will meet with the other two doctors and go over everything and, together, they will discuss a protocol and/or further steps to help me optimize my health.

Overall, it was a great experience.  Everyone was very friendly – no rushing me in and out.  It didn’t feel too clinical, which I liked.  Although they didn’t say this, I felt it was an overall energy of “whatever we find, we can work with it and we can help you get yourself back into balance.”  There was no energy of fear, which is often typical of doctors’ offices.

I will let you know what I find out on my next visit (next Wednesday).  I’m looking forward to it  – I love learning and if I can learn how to help heal my digestion even more, then I can share that with others and maybe provide some insight to what may help them as well… or at least possibly lead them to investigate a whole systems approach to putting the pieces of the puzzle together for their own health.

Frankie’s Tomago

Tomago recipe

By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch

As promised, here is Frankie’s Tomago Recipe.  It’s one of my favorite things to order when we go to a sushi bar and now I can enjoy it at home as well.  Thanks Frankie – you’re so awesome!

Ingredients:

3 eggs

1tsp. sugar

1 tsp. gluten free soy sauce

pinch of salt

Olive oil

2 cups cooked rice

Nori (seaweed sushi wrap)

Instructions:

Tomago recipe

Eggs

Whisk the eggs, then add in the sugar, soy sauce, and salt.

Swirl 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a pan and heat to medium high.

Pour the egg mixture into pan.  Let cook until done enough to flip easily (make sure it doesn’t burn on the bottom, though).  Flip, and allow the other side to cook.

Turn off the heat, place it on a large cutting board, and cut into rectangular shapes to fit on top of the rice.

Rice

Before cooking, rinse the rice until the water comes out clear.  Cook as directed on the package, but add in 1-2 tsp. rice vinegar and 1 tsp. olive oil in the beginning.  After the timer goes off, stir and pour the rice into a large bowl.  Let cool.

After the rice has cooled, place a small amount onto plastic wrap, and mold into the oval shape as seen.

Once you’ve finished those steps, take the egg and place onto the rice, wrap it with a strip of Nori and enjoy!