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Thursday, November 29, 2012

My Review of Bob's Red Mill Teff Flour

Originally submitted at Bob's Red Mill

Teff (Tef, T'ef) Flour is a pleasingly light, uniquely flavored, whole grain flour. Due to Teff?s size, it is almost impossible to grind in your home mill. We are glad to do the work for you! Ethiopians make a flat crepe-like bread called injera from teff flour. Substitute teff for about a four...

Amen to the Other Reviews

By Celiac Mom of 7 from Iowa on 11/29/2012


5out of 5

Pros: Flavorful, Unique, Satisfying, Vegetarian, Healthy

Best Uses: Cooking

Describe Yourself: Foodie, Simple Tastes, Health Conscious

I agree with all of the reviews below. I make baked goods and pancakes with 1/2 of the flour called for being teff and the other 1/2 being the gf baking flour. I have six boys and all of them love the baked goods. I also don't use sweeteners except applesauce and banana, and no oil, and the baked goods turn out just fine. So healthy! Thank you, thank you, thank you for making this available.


Vagus Nerve Pain Another Cause for "Heartache" and It's Relationship to Empathy and Healing Through Hope

I know my Coronary Chronicle blog is mostly about my DH's experience with heart disease and healing through a low-fat plant-based diet, but I like to give myself license to talk about other matters concerning the heart and chest pain, as I did in my last post, because it was my interest in the health of my heart that caused my intense study in heart matters a couple years ago.  Plus, it was this interest that enabled me to quickly recognize that DH was having trouble before any heart attack happened,

You could say that my tendency towards worry about health may have saved him from having a heart attack, and if my experiences can help others get to the doctor and get checked out when they have symptoms, I'm glad.

On the flip side of being cautious and getting check ups on our hearts, is the over barrage that I believe we get from the media that can make us overly cautious.  I'm a victim of over cautiousness.  In other words, I have been to the doctor, I have been checked out thoroughly, and I still obsess over the condition of my heart, much more than DH who has a known heart condition.

Part of this stems from working in the health field for several years, working with geriatric patients for several years, and reading too much.  Another part of this stems from the fact that I have always been a "worry wart", a nickname I acquired at a early age.

My new quest has been to treat my worry wartism by learning how the mind and anxiety can promote physical pain.

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf has given many talks on the relationship of worry and it's affect on the mind, and eventual effect on the heart.  As I have learned more about the relationship between the mind and physical pain, I am realizing that what our leaders tell us is far more reaching than what we give them credit for.

Elder Uchtdorf, having seen much suffering, and mental illness during his lifetime due to being a refugee, understands this mind/spirit/body relationship very well, and when he talks about the relationship between hope and healing the condition of the mind and heart, he knows a deeper meaning than we might focus on.

As I have studied the result of worry on the physical heart, I have come to know for myself that this is true.

What launched me on this study was the literal heartache I feel when I have negative, worrisome,  or sad thoughts.  I had this pain the day my DH and boys left for a week long trip in Colorado.  I knew DH was sick (and he was, as he was a heart attack waiting to happen), and two of my boys were just recovering from the flu.  Did that set the worry in?  Yes, indeed, and hours later I was popping my omeprazole, and calling my friends in tears due to this ache in my chest.  One dear friend came over to spend the evening with me so I would be distracted from worry.

I discovered that weekend that if I rubbed my back on the corner of the wall that the gripping pain would go away, which I have learned to be a treatment for my "heartache" everytime, or I can asked one of my boys for a hug, or a backrub and it's goes away.

The day that DH was diagnosed, I had my "heartache" the whole weekend that he was having and recuperating from his procedure.  I wanted to take my place in line for an angiogram and get my heart fixed.  Interestingly, the pain would only come when I was able to be quiet and think, but when I was needed for caregiver duties the pain would go away.

This has been consistent.  When I have a worry thought and a rush of adrenaline from that worry thought the pain comes, and when I get busy doing laundry, taking a walk, painting, or something physical, or have the boys distract me with a hug, bye bye pain.

Going to my heart and tummy doctors, to rule out the heart and to discover the stomach problems, made it possible for me to release myself from the primary worry of heart disease, and focus on the mental reasons for my pain which is why I would encourage anyone with chest pain, to just skip the middle diagnostic activities, including going to the primary care provider, unless you need a referral, and just go directly to a cardiologist.

But, now that I have done that, I can get busy on working on healing my stomach, and working on my hope.

So, this past week, I have been praying hard for the Lord to help me figure out what is causing my chest pain.  I know that some of it is stomach, but I've been told that the stomach problems won't heal until I get my nerves under control.

Believing in the mind/body connection, that mind problems can cause physical problems, I wanted to figure out what part of the body is my mind problem messing with, and this morning as I was praying, the thought came to me, "check into the vagus nerve."

Aha!!!!  That made so much sense to me.  The vagus nerve has been my go to guy when I have needed to blame other symptoms on something.  In the past, I had learned that it is the vagus nerve that makes both my reproductive organs, and my stomach nauseated during that special time of the month. It is the vagus nerve that makes me dizzy when I stand up to too fast during those times I have not been drinking enough water, and it is the vagus nerve that I think triggers my SVT's when I have eaten too much or am, again, dehydrated.

Well, so, I did a Google Search and found this discussion....

The discussion is a  psychologist's  answer printed in Scientific American answering the question, "What causes chest pains when feelings are hurt?" by Robert Emery and Jim Coan both professors of psychologic at the University of Virginia.  It talks about the link between emotions, the vagus nerve, and heart pain.

A few weeks ago, I had read an old description of this from an ancient Roman physician, probably Hypocrates, who talked about pain in the solar plexus, that is a network of nerves, just below the sternum than can develop pain triggered by emotions, so this has been on my mind as an explanation, but my pain comes up little higher in the chest right below where my heart is.

Because I do worry a lot, and because I would like to avoid being on medications, I like to look for explanations for sensations that make me worry and make me uncomfortable.

So, I have been praying for an explanation, and praying hard, and the Lord has sprinkled bits of information little by little as can handle the understanding of them.  This morning as I was praying again, the thought came to me, "Check on the mind/body connection of the vagus nerve."

This made complete sense!!  Knowing that I have already discovered the vagus nerve to cause issues with my reproductive organs and my stomach, then why not go right up the line, higher up, and blame it on my heartache as well!!!!  For those of you who might not know the vagus nerve, or wandering nerve as it was anciently called, wanders from the reproductive organs to the stomach to the heart, to the base of the skull.

Incidentally, as I write this, I am at the time of the month when the reproductive area and the stomach complain together, and I am realizing that I am having a constellation of pain, with all four sites, reproductive, stomach, heart, and neck in pain, but I have been focusing on the heart pain because of the mode of life I am in right now, caring for someone with heart issues.

Let's say that some of this might have to do with empathy.

So here is what the answer from the professors says...
"Heartache is not the only way emotional and physical pain intersect in our brain. Recent studies show that even experiencing emotional pain on behalf of another person—that is, empathy—can influence our pain perception. And this empathy effect is not restricted to humans. In 2006 a paper published in Science revealed that when a mouse observes its cage mate in agony, its sensitivity to physical pain increases. And when it comes into close contact with a friendly, unharmed mouse, its sensitivity to pain diminishes. "

My DH often tells me he has never met another person that has more empathy than I do.  I do suffer a great deal  mentally, and physically, when others are suffering.  Even now as I write this, it prompted me to think of a friend that I have who is suffering right now, and I noticed that my chest was hurting again.  

I'm not equating myself to the Savior at all, but these thoughts did cause me to think about the scripture in John 11:33 when Jesus saw Mary weeping after the death of Lazarus.  It states, "When Jesus, therefore, saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the Spirit, and was troubled."

When that scripture comes to mind, I see the empathy of the Savior, and the uncomfortable sensations that empathy caused for Him.  The dictionary says that groaning is a deep sound in response to pain.

Should we try to suppress the pain of empathy?  For us worry wart types, I don't think so necessarily, but I do think it helps us worry warts to understand it's mechanism better so we can see it as a positive response to what is happening around us.  To see that we are experiencing this due to empathy and know that it is a result of sharing with another human being, and not a health problem, helps immensely, and can help us deal with the stress response.

The professors say that there are ways to minimize this pain once it is recognized, and that is was I was seeking for.  So, I'm saying to myself through this time of knowledge seeking, "I have this pain, is there something I can do about it?"  And the answer is, "Yes!"   The professors report.....

"Soon after, one of us (Coan) published a functional MRI study in humans that supported the finding in mice, showing that simple acts of social kindness, such as holding hands, can blunt the brain’s response to threats of physical pain and thus lessen the experience of pain. Coan implicated several brain regions involved in both anticipating pain and regulating negative emotions, including the right anterior insula (which helps to regulate motor control and cognitive functioning), the superior frontal gyrus (which is involved in self-awareness and sensory processing) and the hypothalamus (which links the nervous system to the endocrine system)."

I experienced such a thing the other night that perplexed me.   I had read about Oprah's (benign) breast cancer scare briefly, and having walked through a friend's breast cancer experience that led to her death, I immediately began to feel pressure in my chest.  While trying to process this pain caused by empathy, I did "feel for" what she had been through, I received a very sad and disturbing phone call from a person going through great suffering.  In my effort to comfort, I noticed the pain was gone.  Based on the explanation from the professors an act of kindness lessened the pain.  This is why I started praying about this emotional connection.  I wanted to know that I was not crazy, that there was a physical explanation to what was clearly an emotional trigger.

Now I know that it's okay for me allow myself to put myself into the path of suffering, to suffer with others, but that I also need to recognize that I can and need to pull myself out of the uncomfortable physical sensations created by empathy, and worry, by getting myself into action and do an act of kindness, or even seek for  an act of kindness from loved ones, by getting a back scratch or a hug.  

So, what is the physical mechanism that causes pain during extreme emotion?  The Professors Emery and Coan report that it's a part of the brain called anterior cingulate cortex that increases the activity of the vagus nerve during times of emotional stress, and that this activity causes a "cascade of biological" symptoms.  

To me this makes perfect sense and gives me great comfort to know, and explains my experience very accurately.  

It supports what Elder Uchtdorf has gently told us for years, that if we allow ourselves to lose hope, we will make ourselves sick, and that if we hold onto hope, it will heal our hearts - not just our spiritual hearts, but our physical hearts.  Why, because it is all connected.  The vagus nerve responds to negative emotions in a negative manner.  Lack of hope creates negative emotions.  Hope and charity (acts of kindness) heal us and  keep the activity of the vagus nerve down and heals minds, our spirits, and our hearts.

It's the Christmas season now.  In four days, my DH will go through another heart procedure, and it will be a stressful time,  a time that could produce a lot of worry and stress, if getting ready for the holidays were not enough; but it is good to know that I can still take care of myself while I'm taking care of DH through caring for him.  He provides an opportunity for me to redirect my worries to acts of kindness towards him.  

Christmas also provides that opportunity.  Now that I know that the stress and worry I have been carrying have triggered a uncomfortable physical symptom that is not a medical emergency but feels like one, and that that symptom can be controlled by redirecting my thoughts and actions, I think I will actually be able to handle this stressful period better than I did when he had his last procedure.

Just before I end here, I'm not trying to minimize the pain that anyone would have by saying, "Just be kind and you'll get rid of your pain."   There are many causes for pain, not just emotional, obviously.   I'm just comforted to know by this information that this is an explanation to the literal heartache that I feel when I worry can be lessened with a positive action related to the human touch.

I am grateful for prayer.  It has been my greatest tool during this time of unusual stress, and I'm really glad that my son directed me towards Elder Uchtdorf's talks that have been cycling around in my head leading me to expect healing through greater hope, and I always think it's pretty neat that science often supports what our church leaders have been telling us all along!   

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

GERD Can Mimic Heart Problems and Cause Unnerving Symptoms - Get It Checked Out!

I have a condition that is very painful at times and mimics heart attack pain.  It wakes me up almost nightly, and it takes me a while to calm down before I can get back to sleep again.  If I called 911 everytime I had heart attack symptoms, I would be calling 911 almost everyday.

Can you imagine what it feels like to live like this?  I used to be unmanageable.  It paralyzed me to the point where I couldn't function during the day because I was up all night worrying and pacing.

My condition is called GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease.  Before this disease took over my life, I thought only people that eat fast food get GERD.  But, I was terribly wrong.  I have been a lower fat mostly vegetarian for many years, and low-fat vegan for a year, and it did not prevent me from getting GERD.

I didn't get GERD from my diet.  I got it from 1. Having seven babies, and losing the tone in my lower esophageal sphincter from having my stomach pushed up in my diaphragm for much of my adult life.  2.  From having a hiatal hernia, for the same reason.  3.  Being high strung  4.  From acquiring a nasty h.pylori infection, for which I am being treated for right now.

I suppose my GERD would be a lot worse if I wasn't eating the way I do.

My GERD haunts me many days and nights of the week.  I can't eat more than a fist full of food at one sitting, or I feel a ripping pain where my stomach meets my esophagus, which lies right underneath my heart and feels like it's ripping into pieces, which gives me the feeling that I'm having a heart attack, which triggers an adrenaline rush, which triggers my heart to beat fast, which triggers me to hyperventilate, which triggers shortness of breath.

I went to the ER one time to have these symptoms checked out, (and $3,000 later because I was hospitalized overnight), and I had many heart tests, and several cardiologists follow up appointments.  The result was a diagnoses of a really badly inflamed stomach, and a good heart.

I also have gastritis and an ulcer in my duodenum which were caused by the post traumatic stress I deal with for some issues I won't go into here, and most especially, the damage done by the h. pylori.

My stomach is severely inflamed and I am told by my gastroenterologist that I will have trouble with it unless I take omeprazole for at least another year.  I have been taking it for three months.  She said it was one of the worst cases she has ever seen.  We are trying to avoid a bleeding ulcer and stomach cancer.

The omeprazole, which is a proton pump inhibitor and cuts down the amount of acid my stomach produces works quite well.  I went back on it a week ago and the ripping pain in my chest is now just a sharp sick pain which is happening less frequently.  I expect to be feeling much better in a week's time.  I think I am also having esophageal spasm which can be caused by GERD and can also feel like a heart attack.

I hate being on the omeprazole because it makes my face feel and look like I have lupus, and it makes my scalp itch.  This only happens when I'm on my period, though, so I think I can deal with nasty skin for a few days a month in exchange for getting rid of the sensation that my aorta is about to explode.

So, how do I know it's not my heart?  The answer is, there was no way I could know without getting the testing done and seeing my doctor, and having my heart monitored thoroughly this past year.  The symptoms are so similar, and everything I have read says to have it checked out by a cardiologist just to make sure.  This is good advice after having been through what we have been through with my DH.

I would encourage anyone who has heart disease symptoms to take the easy step and go see a cardiologist.  Most likely the good doctor will send you home with peace of mind, but if it is your heart, it can be dealt with like we are dealing with DH's heart diagnosis.  There are so many great technologies and protective medicines to help you deal with a heart disease diagnosis that it's not as scary as it used to be.  And there is also the great research that has been done by Caldwell Esselstyn, M.D. and Dean Ornish, M.D. that gives even a bright hope of reversal from diet.

I say going to the doctor is easy because I first thought it would be scary and that I would find out all of this terrible news and that the cardiologist would laugh at me, and that I would be made to feel like I was wasting his time.

Nothing could have been further from the truth for me.  Yes, is was hard for DH to receive the diagnosis he did when he went, but going was helpful for both of us.  On balance, both of us are better off now than we were six months ago.  Both the heart and stomach specialists have played a role in making us more functional than we were six months ago.  Both of us are dealing with conditions that are inconvenient, draining, and we wish we didn't have, but we are getting support to deal with them, and we will be much better a year from now because we went to get checked out, found out what was going on and are dealing with it.

We both go to Iowa Heart and I have not met one person on the staff there that hasn't been respectful or caring.  They have been supportive, patient, and considerate, and thorough.

The scariest part were the bills.  I have a  $6000 deductible, and my stress echo test cost a few hundred dollars, but I had every test available except the thalium stress test and the angiogram.  And that was because I ended up in the ER instead of going right to the doctor in the first place.   Had I gone to the doctor's office when the pain first started, the multiple tests would have been narrowed down to just the stress echo, and I would have avoided bills from the hospital, and bills from multiple hospital doctors, plus X-rays, medications I didn't need, and heart monitoring on the telemetry floor that I didn't need.

My gastroenterologist was shaking her head the other day over the cardiology bill expense as we discussed it.  If they had just done an endoscopy in the hospital, no other tests would have been needed.

My endoscopy was just $600 for a $2500 out of pocket test.  That included the clinic fees, the doctor fees and everything that it entailed.  It was worth every penny because I knew what was wrong and we had a plan for healing that we could set in place.  The treatment for the h.pylori costed me $800 but I think if I had gotten the therapy medications at Costco, I would have paid half of that.  I just didn't think about it.  I was too sick at the time.

Other conditions that mimic heart attack pain are gallbladder disease, and anxiety, both of which I have experienced.

There are other conditions that cause chest pain, costochronditis, but that feels more like a chest wall pain.

So, I just have to say, if you are having heart attack symtpoms, don't freak out right at the beginning,  Try to listen to your body for a few minutes.  If the pain goes away with movement, having someone massage your back, or taking antacid, then you are probably safe, but if it persists after a few minutes, and you get sweaty, dizzy, and the pain increases and becomes severe, call 911.

By all means, any of this type of pain bears having a doctor check it out, and no doctor is going to think you are nuts for getting checked out.  I have talked to several doctors about my chest pains, and every single one of them have listened well, have been considerate, and have taken me seriously, even though I am a woman who has not gone through menopause yet.

I think doctors are starting to take women more seriously now, which is a good thing.

Listen really hard to your body.  Take notes.  Try to see what triggers the pain.  Take your notes to the doctor.  They will appreciate you for the thorough history because they can zero in better on what is going on with you.

This helps when you are dealing with GERD to.  Take notes of food triggers and stay away from those triggers.  For me, this has been the most helpful in decreasing my pain.

There's a lot of scary information out there about chest pain on the Internet.  Hopefully, my experience will help others going through the same thing, and help those people not to freak out over every little twinge of pain they have in the chest, but to also encourage them to see their doctors and not worry about doing so.

I for one don't like going to the doctor, never have, but sometimes our problems can be bigger than we can handle and when they do catch up to us, the doctor can help us deal with it and lessen the difficulty.

The expense of going to the doctor in the first place is also a concern, but like my friend who lives down the street, who put off listening to her gallbladder, you could wind up in the ER with a life threatening condition, and have many months of extra expenses to pay for that you wouldn't have had if you dealt with the problem on a non-emergency basis.

I'm so glad we got DH in before he had a heart attack.  We were able to deal with the problem in a measured and calm manner that did not result in heart damage and very much time missed at work.

GERD can also cause emergency symptoms too, so if you go to the heart doctor with chest pains that you didn't know were being caused by GERD, you still need to find out what it is, and how to heal up, so as not to develop anything condition that would cause severe bleeding.  The heart doctor can quite easily help you rule out heart problems so you can concentrate on the real problem and when those chest pains continue to surface before healing takes place, you can assure yourself that it's not being caused by the heart.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Here are several of the recipes I've made up recently.  All of these were a hit with DH and the five of our children that are still at home.

They are also all gluten free, fat free, and pretty much allergen free.  In addition, they are in quantities that are practical for large families, with ingredients that can be purchased at most local grocery stores.

Sorry I don't have pictures to go with them yet.  If I waited to be able to post pictures, they might not every make it on my blog.  But I will get the pictures here eventually.  Hopefully, you all have very good imaginations and can see in your mind's eye some beautiful preparations and colorful presentations!


Oatmeal with Cherry Berry Blend

3 c regular oatmeal
2 t cinnamon
dash of salt
1 pk stevia

Put oatmeal in a microwaveable bowl large enough that the oatmeal would only fill to no more than one inch of the bowl.  This prevents it from boiling over into the microwave. Cover the oatmeal with water.  Microwave for 4 minutes.  Oatmeal should be mushy but not watery.  If it is watery add cooking time.  Add frozen Cherry Berry Blend to Oatmeal.  The frozen fruit will cool off the hot oatmeal and the hot oatmeal with thaw out the fruit.   Add a small amount of raisins, if desired.  

Fat Free, Sugar Free, Gluten Free Teff Pancakes

On the Esselstyn plan, ground flour is discouraged if there is a problem with belly fat, indicating metabolic issues.  Since ground flours can cause blood sugar spikes, one needs to be careful not to eat to many recipes with ground flour in them because blood sugar spikes can compromise nitric oxide levels.  However, if you are not overweight, one of these pancakes here and there shouldn't be a problem.  This recipe is high in Omega 3's provided by the chia seeds.

In your mixing bowl start by soaking 2 T of chia seeds in 1/4 cup water for 15 minutes.  These provide healthy Omega 3 fats, and also serve as an egg replacer.

1 ripe banana
2 t cinnamon
3 pk Sweet Leaf Stevia
2 cups water
1 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Flour
1 1/2 T Baking Powder (aluminum free)
1 cup Teff Flour (I get this from Bob's Red Mill, as well)

Using a mixer mix the ripe bananas with chia seeds, and add cinnamon and stevia.  Mix until smooth.  Add water and mix until completely blended.  Add gluten free baking flour and mix until completely blended.  Then gradually add the Teff and mix while sprinkling the baking powder in with it.  This is to try to keep the baking powder active as long as possible.

The batter should be the typical runny but not watery texture.  If it is too thick add enough water to make it the desired consistency.  If too runny add more gluten free baking flour.

Using a non-stick frying pan, heat to about level 7  or medium high.  Pour the batter on the pan as you would any other pancake mix.  The pancakes will stick to the pan until they have dry bubbles on the top, so don't try to flip too early.  They should come right up when they are ready.  If not, take a papertowel and put a very small amount of oil on it and wipe the pan with the oil.  But don't let it be drippy.  Just barely moistening the pan with oil should do the trick.

Now what to put on the pancakes?  If you are worried about heart health, stick to unsweetened applesauce, or thawed blue berries with a little Sweet Leaf sprinkled on top.  Honey, syrup, all of the other traditional toppings are harmful for heart patients, or anyone concerned about preventing heart disease.  Fortunately, I have gotten used to eating them dry, and they have actually become quite a treat since I rarely have flour based products anymore.

Kale for Breakfast?!  Come On, You're Kidding Me!

If you don't have severe gastritis, like I do (I'm still healing up from a severe h.pylori infection which will take a year), them kales is the best breakfast and great tasting.  Now, why would kale be harmful to a person with gastritis.  It's not.  It just doesn't taste all of that exciting with the vinegar.

However, if you can handle vinegar in the morning, steamed kale with infused vinegar is delightful!  Dr. Esselstyn says it taste like hot fudge Sunday.  I wouldn't go that far, but it is rather delicious if you can get the right type of vinegar.  Dr. Esselstyn has been promoting the vinegars from, but I simply can't afford a $25.00 bottle of vinegar.  Even with my not using vinegar right now, we are still going through two bottles a week for DH, as it is.

But, I found two wonderful vinegars at the local grocery store and they can be purchased online for about $3.00, as well.  The Vigo Allessi infused brands are delicious and make a great substitute for salad dressings, taste great in hummus, and wonderful mixed with steamed Kale.  My favorite flavor is the Ginger Infused, and DH loves the Raspberry Blush.  DH dislikes anything that is too vinegary but we were able to use the Raspberry Blush to get him off of oil salad dressing because of it's pleasing flavor.

So how to prepare this remarkable meat substitute called kale.  Meat substitute?  Yes, look at  Do a search on kale and you will find it has far more nutrients than beef.  If you are worried about not getting your vitamins and minerals from being a vegan, you don't have to worry if you are eating kale everyday.

Anyway, back to the prep.....

Get a small saucepan, put 1 inch of water on the bottom, and bring to a boil.  I just place a colander of the same diameter as the pan on top of the saucepan for steaming.  To prepare the kale, you have to pull the leaves off of the steams, and then shred the leaves into bite size pieces which are placed in the colander.  The water in the pan should be at a rapid boil, and steam should be coming up through the colander.  Steam for 5 minutes.  The kale will be really hot, so get a plate and dump the kale out of the colander onto the plate and cool off in the fridge for another 5 minutes.

Drizzle the vinegar on the kale and enjoy a nitric oxide building breakfast.  Don't forgot your oatmeal.  Together they make a great heart healthy and artery healing breakfast!

Main Dishes

Gluten Free Vitamin and Flavor Packed Low-fat Spring Rolls

2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup shredded cabbage (purple makes this dish very colorful)
1 red bell pepper shredded
1/4 c shredded fresh ginger
1/4 c shredded onion
1 can drained garbanzo beans
1/3 jar LaChoy Sweet and Sour Sauce (optional, heart patients shouldn't have sweeteners)
1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste if you can handle the extra sodium)
1 t sweet basil
1 t Tone's Lemon Peel
1 t Tone's Orange Peel
1 t garlic powder (optional)
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 package of rice based (not wheat based) spring roll wrappers.


Shred all veggies and garbanzo beans together in a food processor.  I have a Ninja and it works great!  After processing, scoop everything in the food processor into a non-stick frying pan that has about 1/4 inch of water in it.  Add sweet and sour sauce if you are using that option, and salt and spices to stir-fry.  Stir-fry until the veggies are cooked but still crunchy, so don't stir-fry to the point that the veggies get mushy.  Stir in brown rice.  Transfer mixture to a seperate bowl, and rinse out frying pan.

To make the spring rolls:

After rinsing out non-stick frying pan, fill up about 1/2 inch of water.  Put pan on the burner and warm up water to about the temperature you would your bathtub, not to hot to burn the skin, but warm enough that it's above room temperature.   Make a clean place on your countertop to roll up the rolls.  I use a clean cutting board.  Have your rice wrappers, the shredded mixture, and warm water surrounding you so they are all three handy for spring roll assembly.

Take a rice wrapper and place it in the water for three seconds.  Don't worry if it does not soften up completely.  They will continue to aborb the water that is still on the wrapper, and the water in the mixture.  You just need them pliable enough to be able to roll up without cracking.  Also, if you get them too mushy, by keeping them in the water too long, the should still work, but you'll have to coax them a bit more to keep them from sticking to themselves while you are rolling.

Put the softened wrapper on the working surface and on one third of the wrapper drop 1/4 cup of veggie mixture.    Roll one edge over the mixture, then bring in the two side, and then roll up the wrapper the rest of the way.

Because the rolls are so sticky, I line a large casserole dish with wax paper and then place the rolls on the dish with a space in between each roll.  I layer a couple of rows of rolls on the bottom of the dish, and then place a layer of wax paper on those, and then start another couple of rolls until I either run out of veggie mixture, or have used up all of the rice wraps.  I usually end up with about 10 wraps left over.  It depends on how thick of a glop of veggie mixture I put in the wraps, and it's different every time.

Once all of the wraps have been used up, or you have your desired amount of rolls made, then cover the casserole dish with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to cool off.  I like my rolls nice and cold, DH likes them hot, so he will warm them up in the microwave.

These taste good with or without a dipping sauce.  I gained a few pounds the week I didn't regulate myself and used sweet and sour sauce to dip these in.  They are good without the sauce, and much healthier.

Once you get the concepts behind making spring rolls you can experiment with different types of veggies, like adding kale, or brocolli slaw!  You can make them without cooking the veggies first.  I cook them because I tend to gas up and have a return of IBS symptoms, but I've had them with raw veggies at a local Thai restaurant and they are just as good.  You can also experiment with no sauce, or more spice, or different spice.  There's no end to the creations you can make!

Savory Carrot and Lentil Casserole

2 cups lentils

2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/4 sorghum flour
1 T Mrs. Dash Onion and Herb
1 t salt
1/4 c nutritional yeast

8 carrots sliced
10 Baked Brown Rice Edward & Sons Crackers crushed Tamari Sesame flavor

Boil lentils in a saucepan until tender.  In a saucepan, make a gravy out of the almond milk, sorghum flour, Mrs. Dash, salt, and nutritional yeast by bringing to a boil and stirring over medium heat until thickened.  Once the lentils are tender, drain in a colander, then put the lentils in a bowl and stir in the gravy and sliced carrots.  Line a casserole dish with parchment paper, pour the contents of the bowl into the casserole dish and smooth out throughout the dish.  Sprinkle crackers on the top.

Bake casserole at 350 degrees for 1 hours, or until carrots are tender.  

What a Delight Potato Salad

This recipe was very much inspired by Ann Esselstyn's Yam-Yukon Gold Potato Salad, but I made some adjustments to the taste of my boys who don't particularly appreciate sauces made by tofu.  The recipe still has tofu in it, but a fraction of the amount, and more hummus than Ann's recipe called for.  Plus, I also used red potatoes.

Boil for 10 minutes or until just barely tender, strain, and chill in fridge

3 cups peeled yams or sweet potatoes
3 cups yukon gold potatoes
3 cups red potatoes
1/2 chopped onion (or use 1 T dehydrated chopped onions)

Blend together until smooth in blender....

1/2 cup of homemade hummus, see recipe below
1/3 cup light silken tofu
4 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (I used a ginger infused variety)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 t garlic powder
1/4 pk of stevia

While the above ingredients are chilling in the fridge cut up....

4 stalks of celery

After the potatoes, onions, and sauce are chilled combine with celery in a large bowl and mix together with

1 t Mrs. Dash
salt and pepper to taste

Rainy Day Creamy Cheesy Soup for a Healthy Heart

This is a creamy heart healthy soup with no added fat, salt, or sweeteners. This soup was inspired by the recipe Not Your Mother's Oatmeal on the web site authored by a medical librarian (she doesn't publish her name)  who embraced a plant based diet for healing heart disease.  Her web site is  at

The oatmeal and kale provide nitric oxide for accelerating the healing of the damaged endothelial cells.

1 box Kitchen Basics Vegetable Broth
1 head of orange colored cauliflower cut into chunks (white can be used, just blend in a jar of pimientos to make the cheesy color)
10 quartered small yukon potatoes
1 cup gluten free oatmeal (if not celiac you can use regular)
1/4 cup dehydrated chopped onion

Pour vegetable broth into a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil and add cauliflower and potato pieces, oatmeal, and onions.  Simmer until tender.

Once tender, using a large spoon, "fish" out all large cauliflower pieces and half of the potato pieces and put in a high powered blender.  Some liquid should end up in blender to help with the blending process.  Once mixture is smooth and creamy return it back into the pot.

Add the following ingredients to the saucepan...

1 additional cup of oatmeal
1 T Bragg's Amino Acids (this is to give the soup somewhat of a salty flavor, but for a heart healthy soup this is all of the sodium that should be added to the soup.  Others who don't have heart problems can add salt to taste later)
1/4 c nutritional yeast (heart patients, especially vegans,  need B-vitamins to keep homocystein levels down and this is an excellent non-meat source)
1 t Mrs. Garlic and Herb Dash (any type of Mrs. Dash will do)
2 fist fulls of torn into small pieces kale (not cooked)
1 cup frozen peas (not cooked)

The peas and the kale will have good bio-avaliabilty as the warm soup breaks down the outer cell walls somewhat, but doesn't kill all of their enzymes.

Let the soup sit for ten minutes, without being on the burner, before serving so the piece and kale have time to "process".

Again, if you aren't a heart patient feel free to add salt to taste to bring out a more cheesy flavor!

Amino Complete Kale, Brown Rice, and Hummus Delight

This is my favorite meal morning, noon, and night, when my gastritis is under control.  It is complete with protein, B vitamins, so packed with everything good.

1 cup steamed kale
1 cup boiled brown rice
1/2 cup homemade fat free hummus
Alessi Ginger Infused Balsamic Vinegar
1/3 cup diced red bell pepper

Steam the kale as shown in the Breakfast section.  Make sure the kale is cool and then place nicely on a dinner plate.  Top with cold brown rice.  Pour desired amount of vinegar on the rice and the kale.  I used about 1/4 cup.  Then top with hummus and bell peppers.  

Corn Tortilla Mexican Lasagne

This is fat free, sugar free, and dairy free, but not taste free.

Line a casserole dish with parchment paper.  Layer the following:  
Corn tortillas
thin layer of salsa
refried beans
corn tortillas
artichoke dip from the Dr. McDougall Newsletter (this recipe is also in my Facebook Notes notes)
baby spinach artichoke dip
corn tortillas
thin layer salsa
refried beans
corn tortillas
thick layer of salsa

Sprinkle corn and nutritional yeast on the top

Bake at 400 degrees until crunch on the top

Gluten Free Bean Burgers

Drain, rinse, and mash  the following

1 can black beans
2 cans red kidney beans
1 can garbanzo beans

Soak the following in 3/4 water

1 T chia seeds
1/4 dehydrated chopped onions
1/4 dehydrated chopped bell peppers

After mashing the beans drain the soaked ingredients above and mix into the bean mixture

Then mix in

1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Mrs. Dash
1/4 tsp salt
1 16 oz can of tomatoes and green chili's drained
1 T Bragg's Amino Acids
1/4 xanthum gum
1 c Bob's Bakery Flour
2 C gluten free oats

This mixture should make a concrete texture.  Glop onto a parchment paper covered cookie sheet like cookie batter, and press down into a burger shape.

Bake on each side for 15 minutes at 425 degrees.

Creamy Cauliflower "Alfredo" and Pasta

The cashews listed below may be made to be eaten by families who are not serving food to a heart patient, but because cashews are high in saturated fats, they should be left out for those with heart disease.  The fats in the cashews make the blood sticky and can form unstable blood clots that back up behind their more calcified plaques.  The sauce still tastes good without the cashews.

1 box Kitchen Basics Vegetable Broth
5 red potatoes
1/2 head cauliflower
1 sweet onion
7 whole cashews

Bring to a boil all of the above and simmer until tender.  Take out all of the vegetables and put in a blender and blend until creamy.

Add the creamy mixture back in with the broth.  

Now add...

1 bag of broccoli stirfry 
2 T Bragg's Amino Acids
2 T Bragg's Nutritional yeast
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 bag of Mrs. Leeper's gluten free Rice Vegetable Twists.
1/2 bag frozen corn

Simmer until twists are cooked through and frozen veggies are thawed out and tender.

Nutrient Complete Zesty and Cool Broccoli Salad

I'm listing this as a main dish because it is complete in all amino acids, therefore it has complete proteins in it, and complete in nutrients.

1 1/2 cups quinoa
1 bag frozen broccoli florets

In a small saucepan boil quinoa while steaming the broccoli florets on top of the pan until broccoli and quinoa are tender.  Once that is done put those in the fridge to cool off.

1 mango chopped
1/4 red onion chopped

Chop mango and red onion and put in a large salad bowl

1/8 cup lemon juice
1 tsp honey
1/2 cup raisins
1 tsp Bragg's amino acids

Once broccoli and quinoa are cold,  mix together in salad bowl with mango, red onion, lemon juice, honey, 1/2 raisins, Bragg's amino acids.  Chill in refridgerator until ready to be eaten.

Warming Inflammation Fighting Red Lentil Soup

1 box of gluten free vegetable broth (add more water as need to keep the lentils covered during the simmering process.

2 cups red lentils
1 onion diced
1 small bag of the tiny baby carrots
1 pk Stevia
1 t cumin
1 t turmeric
Sea salt to taste

Fill a saucepan 1/3 with gluten free vegetable broth and bring to boil.  Add lentils, diced onions, and carrots to boiling water and turn heat to simmer and simmer until all ingredients are mushy consistence.  Add stevia l, spices, and add salt to taste.


Fat Free Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Ohhhh!  These were sooooo good!!!

1 bag frozen brussel sprouts
2 T lemon juice
1 T Alessi Infused Ginger Balsamic Vinegar ( I bought mine at Hyvee)
1 t garlic powder
2 pk Stevia
1 t sweet basil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Warm the frozen brussel sprouts in the microwave for 1 minute.  Slice the sprouts into 1/2 inch slices.  Put the remaining ingredients in a gallon Ziploc type bag, and then put the sliced brussel sprouts in the bag.  Shake the bag, throw it up in the air, twist it around, and move it from hand to hand, anything you can do to completely coat the slices with the contents of the bag.

After the brussel sprouts are completely covered, place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.

Roast in the oven until the brussel sprouts brown.  It took me 30 minutes.

Sweet and Crunchy Sweet Potato Coins

Preheat oven at 350 degrees

Peel and slice two sweet potatoes, or yams, into 1/8 - 1/4 inch slices.  Places slices onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.

Bake for 15 minutes, then turn over.  Bake for another 15 minutes, but keep checking to make sure they don't burn.  

They are just right when they have hardened up but have not burnt.  The trick is to keep checking every couple of minutes, take the finished coins off and place on a plate on the countertop, and bake the rest another minute or two, and then take them out and check, take off the ones that are done, and put the rest back in, and keep doing this until all of them have finished.  They are so sweet, tasty, and filling cooked this way.  It's worth the extra effort.

Suprisingly Delicious Steamed Kale

Dr. Esselstyn told me that Clark needed foods high in nitrates three times a day to heal up the boiling cauldron in his arteries.  He said one tight fist full of steamed  greens, i.e. kale, collard greens, chard, spinach, three times a day.  So today I went into our garden and picked some kale.  I chopped it up in tiny pieces then steamed it for 8 minutes.  Then I put the fist full on a plate, sprinkled ginger infused balsamic vinegar on it, then layered brown rice, my homemade fat free hummus (recipe in my notes), and topped it with a couple canned roasted red peppers .  The dark green of the kale, contrasted against the light tan rice, light orange hummus, and red pepper looked really appetizing.  DH liked it!!!  Yay!!!!!  I liked it too and I'm going back for seconds!


Artichoke Spread from Dr. McDougall's Newsletter

This is not my recipe, but it is so delicious I just had share.  Thank you Dr. McDougall!

This is delicious as a spread for sandwiches, as a dip for crackers or veggies, or stuffed into pita and topped with chopped tomatoes, cucumbers and sprouts.
Preparation Time: 10 minutesServings: Makes about 3 cups 
2 14 ounce cans artichoke hearts in water, drained and rinsed1 15 ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed4 tablespoons lemon juice2 cloves garlic, crushed4 green onions, chopped1 tablespoon soy sauce ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.

Never Fail Fat Free Hummus

I have developed many hummus recipes, but this is the easiest and tastiest to prepare.  Even DH likes it!

2 cans of garbanzo beans.  Drain one can and leave the liquid in the other can.
1 small jar of pimientos or 1/4 red bell pepper
4 T lemon juice
4 T Alessi Ginger Infused Balsamic Vinegar
1 T chia seeds (this optional ingredient can be used if you want to add Omega 3's to your diet)
2 pk Sweet Leaf Stevia
1 - 2 T Bragg's Nutritional Yeast (to taste)
1 t - 2 t garlic powder (to taste)

Place all of the above ingredients in a heavy duty blender and blend until smooth.  Put the hummus in a storage container and chill in the refrigerator.  We love to used this as a dip for the Roasted Brussel Sprouts, oven baked potato french fries, and bean burgers.  

Fancy Non-fat Artichoke and Red Bell Pepper Hummus

1 can garbanzo beans (drained)
1 can garbanzo beans (with full liquid)
1 14 oz can artichoke hearts
1 T Bragg's Nutritional Yeast (found at Hyvee Health Market)
1 T Mrs. Dash Onion and Herb
1 T garlic powder
3 T Alessi Ginger Infused White Balsamic Vinegar (found at Hyvee or online)
3 T lemon juice
1 pk Sweet Leaf Stevia (found at Hyvee Health Market)
1 leaf of Kale (I used steamed because I already had some steamed, but I think you could use raw)
1 red bell pepper

Put all ingredients together in a high powered blender or  food processor, except for the red bell pepper and process until smooth.  Rinse out the processor and add the red bell pepper cut up in large chunks and seeded.  Process the bell pepper until it's in little chunks.  Stir into the hummus.

For dieters who are trying to cut their fat and calories this tastes great as a butter substitute on baked potatoes.  We can't get enough of it, and the high protein content keeps the potato from hitting your blood sugar so hard!
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Golden Sunshine Salad
This salad reminds me of Matisyahu's song Golden Sunshine because it makes me happy when I look at it, just like the song makes me happy when I hear it.  It is full of crunch and color!  It's easy and nutritionally complete.

1/2 bag of frozen peas (no need to thaw as they will thaw by the time the slad is finished being made)
1 can drained corn
1 can drained garbanzo beans
3 stalks of celery chopped up
4 carrots chopped (I used my Ninja food processor)
1 yellow bell pepper chopped (again, used the ninja)
1 handful raisins
1 can chopped water chestnuts
1 small handful of dehydrated onions.  

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and dress with your favorite infused balsamic vinegar.  I use Alessi's White Ginger.

Winter Cheer Up Salad ( I did have a picture for this one)
2 Romaine Hearts finely chopped
1 large handful of Half and Half Mix (This is a Walmart product of baby greens and baby spinach)
1 can drained navy beans
10 cherry tomatoes chopped in half
1/4 sweet onion chopped
1/2 bag frozen peas (wash with warm water to thaw out and then just put into salad)
1 chopped red bell pepper
1 chopped orange bell pepper
1 T Mrs. Dash Herb and Onion 
1/4 c raisins
1 T lemon juice
1 t lime juice
1/4 t Sweet Leaf Stevia
1/4 c red wine vinegar (or to taste)

Mix all of the ingredients in a very large bowl.  It makes enough to feed 8 people.  If you don't have 8 people to eat it, eat it yourself for breafast lunch and dinner.  It's full of everything you need to get through a busy day.


Oops! I Forgot to Buy Pumpkin Butternut Thanksgiving Pudding

1 T chia seeds
2 T water
1 ripe banana
1 c almond milk
1 T Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Flour
1 can butternut squash puree
1/4 t salt
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t (Tone's has this) orange peel
1 T cinnamon
4 pk Sweet Leaf Stevia

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Soak chia seeds in 2 T water for 15 minutes.  Mash banana and blend with chia mixture.  Pour almond milk into a small saucepan and whip the 1 T Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Flour into the milk.  Heat up saucepan to med heat and bring almond milk to boil.  Heat milk to a thick texture while stirring and then pour into the chia banana mixture.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix.  Line a 9x9 baking dish with parchment paper and pour the mixture into the dish.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Poke the center of the pudding with a fork and bake until it the fork comes out clean, adding five minutes to the baking time each time the fork comes out with pudding on it.

Gluten Free Fat Free Allergen Free Pumpkin Bars

I made this for Clark to help get him through the transition of having "no baked goods and no sweetener".

1 can butter beans drained
4 medjool dates
1 cup raisins
1 T chia seeds
1/4 c water

Blend the above ingredients in a blender then transfer mixture to a mixing bowl and add

1/2 tsp xanthum gum
1/3 c canned pumpkin
1 T cinnamon
1 T allspice...
1/2 c Bob's Red Mill Baking Flour

Blend ingredients together and then spoon onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper and spread the batter as if you were making cookie bars.

Chop up an apple in tiny pieces, leaving the skin on and sprinkle the apple pieces on top of the batter.

Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Lo-fat Vegan Gluten Free Peach Cobbler

This recipe never lasts.  All of my boys, including  my son-in-law love it.

1 1/2 T chia seeds
1/4 c water
1/3 c apple sauce
1/3 c honey
1/3 c Bob's Red Mill Baking Flour
1/3 c Teff Flour
1 t cinnamon
2 t baking powder
dash of salt 
dash of xanthum gum

In the bottom of your mixing bowl soak chia seeds in water for 10 minutes (this is your egg replacer).  Mix chia seeds mixture with the remaining ingredients.

Line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper and spoon batter into the pan.

Then sprinkle a thin layer of raisins on the batter.

Next you will need 2 cups of frozen peach slices.  Press the frozen peach slices into the batter.  Sprinkle the peaches with desired amount of cinnamon.

Bake in 400 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes until the cobbler is fully cooked. Test with a knife like you would a cake.