Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bare Cupboards Equal Culinary Delights!

So I'm actually really bad at going grocery shopping on a regular basis. I might do it once a month or so and just pick up a few fresh things when I need them in between. So there's usually a point every month when my cupboards are empty and I get to look at what I have left, what's far in the back that I haven't seen since I moved into this house.

At times like these I get to be very creative! And it doesn't mean that the back of the cupboard food is any less healthy than the newer food! In fact creative cooking is one of my favorite hobbies. There was actually a time when I entertained the idea of a cookbook. I even had a name picked out! I was going to call it "Adventures With Knives: Meditations Outside the Recipe." I even thought that my sister might contribute a chapter or two on the many ways to fix Ramen or things to do with peanut butter!

Well I doubt there's a cookbook in my future, however, I can still share with you this really interesting, tasty, and versatile dish I made the other day. It doesn't have a proper name yet. Do you have one for it? I used it as a spread on some rice cakes, a dip for some chips, the filler for some quesadillas and I even threw it in as the glue for some stir fried vegis. I was going to try it inside a seaweed roll in place of sushi rice, but I ran out. Maybe the next time I make it.

So here is what I came up with:

1/2 cup of plain flax seeds soaked in enough water for a couple hours to become gummy but not runny
1 can of black beans
4 cloves or more of garlic
salt to taste
whatever spices appeal to you (I used oregano and some basil and maybe some celery salt? You could go Indian!)

Throw it all in the cuisanart and blend till you like the consistency. It will be kind of like a chunky, dark hummus. Lots of protein and omegas from the flax seeds. I didn't work out the nutritional info but it's pretty low in calories and fat and high in fiber since it's mostly just beans and flax seeds. You could add a little olive oil to make yours smoother.

What interesting recipes have you discovered by mistake?

To your health!

Rebecca Cowan
Producer and Host of Healing From the Roots

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What's this gluten free craze all about?

Happy Wednesday to everyone! I recently gave up gluten with the new year and I wanted to share the massive changes going through my body because this has been a real eye opener for my own health so, I've suddenly become very passionate about this topic.

So to start with, here is the 2.5 month breakdown of what has been occurring:

First 2 weeks
- Inflammation in my gut reduced immediately.
- Dry skin, eczema started to heal

First Month
- belly smoothing out
- cravings reduced, not as pulled to want baked goods and
- Menstrual cycle regulating (sorry for that bit of personal info, but it's been a long struggle and it was miraculous for me)
- more energy

Month 2
- skin smooth and clear (unless I do a big load of dishes)
- Weight loss! Hurrah!
- Tons of energy, working out is easy and not such a chore
- Food cravings gone, I eat when I'm hungry and don't overeat naturally, no dieting, just my body's food desires have changed

Start of month 3
- I'm giving up sugar for lent AND IT'S EASY! (I'm not catholic, I've just always liked the idea of lent (raised Presbyterian))

Really, I've just noticed how what my body wants has changed. I used to think about food all day long. Now I eat because my belly growls and I'm satisfied by less. I think this is why giving up sugar this month has been so seamless and easy. I'm not a nutritionist, though I have done a lot of research over the years trying to figure out what's best for me, and also through my powers of deductive reasoning, I believe this is because of the control that gluten has on the brain.

I read a really great article that I got from Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo, "The Many Faces of Gluten Intolerance." It talked about how gluten activates opioid receptors in the brain similar to the effect of cocaine and creates that intense craving for bread products, giving you the bottomless pit feeling. I know I've been trying to feed that hole myself for years and really didn't understand why I couldn't stop eating. She also discusses how this reaction on our brain may also link gluten intolerance, not to be confused with Celiacs disease, to many emotional and mental disorders such as autism, depression, learning disabilities, schizophrenia, and a host of other neurological problems. You can get the full article at

I also read the book, "Eat Right 4 Your Bloodtype" and it's recommendation for type O's is also to go wheat free. Type O's make up the majority of the population and are from a time in history when we were hunters and gatherers, we didn't farm yet and there was no grain available. Makes sense to me!

I've also gotten my mother reducing her gluten intake. I haven't gotten the full account from her, but I know that so far it has really helped her intense heartburn. Seems that everyone reacts to it differently and can get some benefits from trying it out.

The times that I have slipped and had a little wheat, thinking it wouldn't hurt, has brought on a resurgence of all my old problems. So I'm sold on the gluten free lifestyle!

It's not terribly hard to do, it just takes some substitutions. My favorite brand of gluten free baking products is Pamela's. Their chocolate cake and the chocolate chunk cookies are amazing and fluffy and moist! And you can feel good about eating it because you know it's digesting better and being used by your body for nutrients it needs instead of as a filler like flour often tends to be.

I'm really stoked on this topic and I'd love to do an episode of Healing From the Roots about this. If you're a gluten free expert and would like to come and talk about it, please go check out my website,, to see if my show would be a match for your business and look on the guests page to see the requirements for being a guest. Then message me and we'll have a discussion.

I'm sure I'll write more about this because it just fascinates me! For now, try eating less gluten, preferrably none at all, and see how it changes your life.

To Your Health!