Friday, June 16, 2017

What's the Big Deal About Air Frying?


I admit, I felt a bit jealous when the air frying fad started a few months ago and really wished our apartment kitchen wasn't so small so I could fit even the smaller of the Phillips, but after seeing how big even that was in Bed, Bath, Beyond one day, and knowing all our other storage spaces are totally maxed out, I walked away with a sigh.

That didn't stop me from joining an air fryer (low-fat vegan, of course) Facebook community, or drooling over all those new concoctions Chef AJ was posting pictures of everywhere. I clicked to the next post with another sigh.

I told myself I could clear out the closet that holds my sewing supplies to store one, then realized I still use that stuff, frequently. Crafting supplies? No, still use a lot of that, too. Um, under the bed? This is how desperate I was, thinking I could fit an air fryer under the bed!

I started reading reviews of various air fryers on Amazon, just in case we hit the lottery and can afford to move into a larger apartment, preferably in Florida again.

Now, those of you who come here often know I can be a bit of a crank at times, always crabby and complaining about something, major or minor. Grumpy Cat and Maxine are my heroes. When I read reviews on Amazon, I don't go to the 5 star ones - too many of them are fake or bought. I mean, I want to get in on being a Vine reviewer, they seem to get every single item in the store for free, just for a review! No, being the realist I am, I go right for the one-star ones.

And I saw the chink in the armor.

Even the best air fryers had complaints about them, from arriving broken to the timer settings suddenly while unattended. On rare occasions, a fire would break out, or the cooking food would become so smoky, the room's smoke alarms would go off.

OK, I can see how cooking greasy foods could do some of those things, so those bad reviews didn't turn me 100% wanting one.

But there was this one reviewer who asked what the big deal was about this appliance. Potatoes cut into fry shapes come out hard, burnt around the edges, and hollow on the inside. Vegetables cooked in it just looked and tasted charred. Other items were just so dried out they were inedible. I sat there and yelled at the monitor (My husband will vouch for the fact that I do this at least twice a day) and said "Well, what did you expect would happen? You're tossing vegetables into a 400ºF or higher oven with a fan blowing on them to make it hotter! Of course they're charred and dried out!!"

And that's when it hit me.

When people on the Ultimate Weight Loss community made a big deal out of oven roasting vegetables I tried it, and disliked it for the same exact reasons this man disliked the air fryer!  People asked about the caloric density of doing this, because as Jeff Novick explains in his Caloric Density video (Still free on YouTube), when you remove the water from a food you're increasing its caloric density. The reply was, if it gets you eating your vegetables (2-4 pounds a day), don't worry about the caloric density. That was the same response to flavored vinegars, an item Jeff had called Balsamic Crack. So now we're taking veggies, coating them in balsamic crack, and removing their water, causing a previously low caloric density to rise to astronomic heights! Is it still healthy? Well, maybe if you have never eaten a vegetable before in your life and this is the only way to trick you into eating them. But I would put this into the same category as making peanut butter and chocolate flavored green smoothies, an actual recipe I saw on the Eat to Live message board. I doubt Dr. McDougall or Jeff Novick would approve of either one.

But I'm OCD, and in the back of my mind, I still wanted to at least try one to see if I liked it. I know, an impossible feat, since I don't know anyone in real life who owns one, so I tried let the thought leave my head and filled it with nice steamed veggies with my healthy bean or oat based nutritional yeast cheese sauce or a McDougall gravy.

Then we had a heat wave. For about 5 days we had temps in the 90's. My son came home from work one day and didn't want his usual early dinner of pasta with marinara sauce. He wanted grilled cheese, so on the way home he stopped for a loaf of bread and package of cheese slices. No, he's not a McDougaller, a vegan, or even a full time vegetarian, even after the scare of his father needing CABG 4 years ago and his own ER trip with chest pains which turned out to be  panic attack. I made him fat-free vegan cheese from a recipe found on-line a few years ago, but although his father and I loved it, he didn't.

Anyway, to make his grilled cheese he needed the toaster oven instead of the toaster. Again, small apartment, infrequently used appliances stored in every nook and cranny we would find. The toaster oven was in the front hallway under Christmas decorations, so while he took his shower I dug it out and brought it to the kitchen, moving the Instant pot to the bedroom until after dinner. While setting it up and making sure everything was there, I noticed that on the front door of the oven it said it was also a convection oven!! 

Eureka!

I could finally find out what the big deal is with air frying, since an air fryer is nothing more than a miniature convection oven. That night after he had his dinner, knowing he was probably going to use it until he ran out of bread and cheese, I found a more convenient corner to temporarily tuck it into. The next day around lunchtime I put it on the table and plugged it in. I popped a slice of parchment paper onto the roasting tray and dumped some cauliflower on it, put it in the oven, set it for convection roasting, 400ºF, and set the timer to 20 minutes, because that's the time and temp Chef AJ said she uses for everything.

After 20 minutes I had warm cauliflower.

I put it in again for another 20 minutes. When the timer dinged I had hot cauliflower, but nothing browned, blackened or slightly crispy. By then I was really hungry and my sweet potato was getting cold, so I just ate it as-is, vowing to try again in the near future.

Today was that day.

Instead of using raw, cold vegetables straight out of the refrigerator, I nuked up some Brussels sprouts. While that was cooking, I took a Japanese sweet potato out of the refrigerator, sliced it in half, and once again put parchment paper on the tray and put the tray in the oven, this time setting the temp on 450ºF. The potato Chef AJ made the other day looked interesting so I thought I'd give it a try. At 10 minutes the edges of the skin were getting crispy, so something was happening this time. But at 20 minutes, I not only had crispy skin, but a really dried out potato.

Now for the Brussels sprouts. One thing I noticed with all of Chef AJ's veggies is that she coats her Brussels sprouts with the balsamic/mustard concoction, so I did that with mine. I keep a bottle of it in the refrigerator as a salad dressing so it was easy enough to grab, pour, and toss. Onto the roasting tray they go, and in the oven for 20 minutes at 450º again. At 10 minutes I shook the tray, turning them all over to the other side. A little browning on the side that was on the bottom, but not much. At 20 minutes, I shook them again, and again a little browning, but nothing like the dark, charred look that Chef AJ and others get with an air fryer. So I let it cook for another 10, 20 minutes for a total of 40 minutes at 450º.

It says "Convection" in that oval in the lower right hand corner of the door


So, once again, I say "What's the big deal about air frying?" 

I won't be wasting any more time or food on this idea. If you like air fried food, great! Even as a kid eating the crappiest version of the SAD diet there is, I would always prefer my hotdogs boiled instead of cooked on a grill. I preferred plain white bread and cheese sandwiches to grilled cheese. If my hamburger was crunchy on the outside I would give it to one of my brothers and ask for a hot dog or cheese sandwich. I guess air frying is an acquired taste.

My sewing and crafting supplies are happy.

Friday, June 2, 2017

What the Health - Updated 3June17


The movie, What the Health, is now available for free on YouTube. It was good - not as good as Forks Over Knives, but almost. My main complaint about it? Not nearly enough time with Dr. McDougall!


Sorry, folks. I just found out that YouTube's version is pirated, that it was not put there by anyone associated with the film. Sorry about that. I just deleted the link to it.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Just Tired of It All


This morning I go to Blogger to moderate some replies that came in overnight, and find over 100 messages in the pending queue awaiting moderation going back a year or more that I was never notified of. The majority of them were spam, many not even in English, and were marked as such and deleted. A few were angry letters that were anti-McDougall, pro-other eating plans that were not WFPB no added S-O-S. There were even fewer from people who accused me of being too angry, too strict, too lenient, or other complaints. They, too, were deleted. The rest were approved and posted on the posts they were replies to, one from about 4 years ago. Funny thing is, I'm on the Blogger site at least once a week and I swear those old messages were not there. 

I had my opthalmologist appoint the other day, the one that had to be cancelled when I had the bronchitis back in April. I've had some weirdness in my vision going on for about a week and he said it sounded like migraine auras, but he said they shouldn't be happening every day, as mine are. But I told him  these look nothing like I've seen migraine auras depicted on Google Images or how my husband describes his own migraine auras. And I have no history of migraines, although my son does since early childhood. He admitted it would be strange to start getting them at this late stage of the game, and I reminded him my husband was in his late 50's when he got his first migraine aura. Each and every morning when I wake up, the top and bottom of my field of vision appear to vibrate or flicker, like an old time movie projector, for anywhere from 1 to 10 minutes. He asked about aspirin use, my blood pressure, and when I last saw my primary care doc for a check-up, and I told him I take a daily low-dose aspirin tablet, my BP is being controlled by low-dose fosinopril and stays around 110/60 to 130/80, depending on time of day and how stressed out I am, and I told him all about last month's doctor visit and lab results. He has no clue what else it could be besides the auras. If it turns out not to be migraine auras (scintillating scotoma is the official medical term), it may be something related to my auto-immune disease or something else, to keep an eye on it, and if it gets worse, go back to my primary care doc and see what he wants to do, maybe an MRI and a neuro consultation. Thanks, Doc. This is the guy who diagnosed my auto-immune problems and said to have my primary doc run the slew of tests. He's a very smart guy, in business 40 years now, and knows more than any other eye doc I had ever been to. If he doesn't know, I'm doomed!

Tomorrow is my dentist appointment, something else that was cancelled when I was still coughing. So it's 7 months check-up instead of 6 - he'll understand.

BTW, I still get laryngitis. That cough really did a number on my vocal cords. I may wind up at the ENT doc for this if it keeps up much longer.


A few days ago, Ginnie Messina's latest book, Even Vegans Die, was mentioned in the McDougall forums in a thread about Denise Minger. Back before I McDougalled I was already eating veg and had belonged to the Vegetarian Resource Group and got their magazine, and she was a steady contributor. I liked her recipes and read many of her books. Because she doesn't believe in being as low fat as Dr. McD does, I stopped reading her works years ago and also let my membership to the VRG drop. But her latest book does look interesting. I always felt like such a failure on the McD (and other WFPB) forums because I do everything according to plan and still get sick, still am not at a so-called "healthy" weight. She touches on all of these things in the book, according to the descriptions of it. I look forward to reading it. Hey, I'm in my mid-60's - time to think about the finish line, now that the race is almost over. My husband and I already revised our wills, powers of attorney, and DNR forms after his CABG surgery, and all 3 of us know where all the important papers are, who to call, and what to do in the even one of both of us do die suddenly. The only relative who needs to get notified (outside of our son, of course) is my brother. Everyone, even WFPB SOS-free vegans, die.

I may stop writing this blog. The only things besides medical updates have been links to videos. I haven't tried any new recipes in ages, because not only do I have a lot of food restrictions right now (gluten-free, nightshade-free, or at least greatly reduced, as well as WFPB no added S-O-S), but I'm just too tired to play around with complex recipes. I've been making a lot of rice or sweet potato and veg meals and add a sauce or gravy to go with it, like one of Chef AJ's, Mary McDougall's, or an Esselstyn one. On a bad day I just shake a little coconut aminos, watered down Bragg's, or nooch on top. My tastebuds still aren't 100%, and some foods I used to love before, like pea soup or carrots, just taste weird to me now. And even with eating cleaner, lighter, and less total calories, my weight is slowly creeping up again, regaining the pounds lost when sick.

We even stopped discussing a possible move back to Florida - it's just too much trouble to pack everything up again, move it all 1200 miles again, find an affordable place to live again, set up a new apartment or house again, and find all new doctors, barbers, stores, new job for our son, etc. again. We know that unless the owner sells this house (He has no plans to do so, as far as I know.), this is where we will be living when we die, and it's just so darn depressing to think that, but it's easier than moving, even if we do have to walk up three flights of stairs and go through winters being trapped in the house because of 3 feet of snow and 5-degree temps (with negative degree wind chills).

I'm just tired of it all. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Body Manifesto - Dr. Linda Bacon



Click HERE to go to Dr. Bacon's web site. I've been a fan of her books for years.

Linda Bacon, PhD

inspiring a global transformation to a more just world,
where all bodies are valued,
respected,
and supported in compassionate self-care

Friday, May 12, 2017

Webinar May 11, 2017 - Dr. Lisle


The sound is messed up and they know it. In fact, it was non-existent for the first 10-15 minutes, which is why this webinar is less than 40 minutes long and starts in mid-sentence. At least they kept trying and didn't just cancel it like they had to do so many times in the past recently. 

I really wish Gustavo would get himself a decent microphone to use in all these webinars, including the ones he does with Chef AJ, when he just follows her around and holds his laptop up to record things. Healthy Taste of Sacramento a few months ago was a total waste of money - even people with normal hearing complained you could barely hear the speakers, and people like me, with hearing loss, just sat there trying to lipread while Gustavo kept shaking his laptop around. Sad, because I really wanted to hear what the two Drs. McDougall had to say.