Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Curried Split Pea, Potato, Broccoli & Veggies Soup

Another Jeff Novick recipe I made a few weeks ago, one of his rare non-tomato SNAP ones. His new DVD is said to be all non-tomato ones, so I hope it really is released soon. He promised it last year and I'm still waiting. :(

This particular recipe calls for a packaged food (gasp!), Tabachnick's Low Sodium Split Pea Soup that's found in the freezer section.
Well, IF you can find it! The box I used for the recipe I had in the freezer for over 6 months but never got around to using it. Now when I went to replenish it, I can't find it in any store locally, and I hit 6 supermarkets, 2 Walmarts and a K-Mart in search of it. I can find the regular one, the one that's so high in sodium that one serving is equal to an entire day's worth, but not the one I need. In fact the only Tabachnick low-sodium soup I could find at all was the Minestrone - 3 different stores had that one. If I'm truly desperate I suppose I can use a few Right Foods pea soup cups, but the sodium of those will be as high, if not higher, than the Tabachnick's, and that's using the lower sodium ones, too. If I have to make pea soup from scratch, well, then it's no longer a SNAP meal.

So, although I like this recipe, this may be the last time I ever make it, unless the stores start carrying the low-sodium Tabachnick soups again. I asked my favorite store about it and was told the low sodium soups aren't big sellers so they got dropped and no, they won't be carrying them again. But right now, no rush, because peas are a no-no on my husband's gout diet, especailly during these flare-ups.

The recipe is posted on Jeff's Facebook, but I'll repost it here, anyway, for those of you who dislike Facebook:

Curried Split Pea, Potato, Broccoli & Veggies Soup

- 1 Box Tabtachnick Frozen Split Pea Soup
- 4 Medium Potatoes
- 8 oz Frozen Broccoli
- 8 oz Frozen Mixed Veggies
- Curry Powder (Salt Free)

While Frozen Soup is cooking (boil in the bags), dice potatoes and place in pot. Cover with water to cover the potatoes, bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes. Add frozen veggies and cook a few more minutes. The boil-in-the-bag soup should be done now and so add to the pot. Add curry powder. Stir well.

Another yummy addition to the list of favorite SNAP recipes. As with most foods, my husband added a squirt of sriracha sauce to his bowl for a bit of flavoring, but I found it delicious as-is. 

I'm really going to miss my SNAP meals! I hope after this gout flare I can tweak enough that they're still enjoyable and tasty, even if I have to eliminate all peas and beans.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

New Orleans Jambalaya

Note: I started this post over a week ago but never completed it until now, mostly because I had no time with hubby still home and because I never got a chance to transfer the pic from the camera to computer until now. More info after the picture.

This is one of Jeff Novick's simple meals that for some reason isn't included on the Facebook page. He does have an Okra Jambalya there, but I'm really not a fan of that slimy vegetable, so made that version only once and vowed to never make it again. This particular version I've only seen posted in his forum on the McDougall web site.

The recipe:

New Orleans Jambalaya

1) 2 28oz can Whole Tomatoes (No Salt Added)
2) 2 cans 14oz can red beans or kidney beans (No Salt Added)
3) 2 lbs frozen Vegetables, corn, carrots, zucchini, yellow squash (equal parts)
4) Success Quick Cooking Brown rice (1 large bag)
5) Spice mix

Cook Brown Rice (Success Quick Cooking). While rice is cooking, place tomatoes, and veggies in pot and heat. Add in 4 cloves garlic, diced, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 tsp thyme, 4 tsp paprika, .25 to .5 tsp cayenne pepper. And heat.

When rice is done, place in a bowl and serve tomato vegetable mix on top.

Since cans of name brand whole tomatoes are getting harder and harder to find in our city, either due to rust, dents, or high sodium content, I was very happy to see that the local Stop and Shop recently expanded their own line of no-sodium added tomato products to include the 15 ounce cans of these beauties. The quality may be a small step down from some of the more expensive name brands, but just as good as some others. They do contain a bit more juicy liquid, the only drawback. I used one can of the Cento that I had left and 2 of the Stop and Shop ones.

I used the dark red kidney beans, and half a bag each of the frozen vegetables listed.

OK, maybe I tossed in a bit more corn and the whole bag of zucchini. :)

Instead of Success rice I cooked up some of the whole grain mix I got from the local Asian food store. I has brown rice, wild rice, barley, and a few other grains. This stuff is as tasty as any Lundburg mix at a fraction of the cost.

For the spices, I've had this jar of Cajun Spice Mix from Penzey Spices that I got free with a coupon for a few years now and never had the chance to use. I used 2 tablespoons and although it was perfect for me, my husband wanted more kick so added his sriracha sauce to his bowls.

See how great it turned out:

This made 2 large servings and 2 smaller servings the first day, and we had enough for 4 of my 3-cup Pyrex containers in leftovers that we had for lunches later that week.

This meal is now was going into my SNAP Foods rotation schedule. I (did) plan on making 3 or 4 of those meals a week for the next few "weeks, months, years, who knows?" to quote Eeyore.

Written today:
I had a whole big paragraph about why I'm going to stick with Jeff's SNAP meals for the time being because they 1) were helping me lose weight at a pretty decent clip there for a while and 2) are great for controlling cholesterol and, more importantly in this house, triglycerides. I had all intentions of doing that, until life once again interfered.

Now my husband has gout.

But I'll save that saga for another blog post.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Back to Doctor Bashing

Those who followed my VeganMoFo posts for the first half of the month might remember the day I mentioned my doctor's appointment to get some lab results. I wrote a long post about being overwhelmed when I finally got all the results.

Well, I did have some blood drawn to repeat some of those labs and got the results last Thursday.

The good news is that the ESR and CRP were well within normal limits, so no excessive inflammation that would indicate lupus, many other auto-immune diseases, or rampaging cardiovascular disease.

My total cholesterol was down to 176 - much better but still not in the heart-attack proof range. VLDL was up a little, but took me just one point over the normal reference range.

My triglycerides level is what shocked me - 237! They went UP even after eating from the 2 heart-healthy books for the 2 weeks prior to the blood draw and strict McDougall/Esselstyn since July 8th when my husband first told me of his chest pains! WTF?!?!?!

Then I looked back over my journal entries to see exactly what I was eating, and saw that for more than half of the entries in the first half of the month I had flour products, and what wasn't mentioned in those entries were the (whole wheat, unsalted) pretzels I was eating most nights. One day I had a load of fruit as a night time snack, and most mornings I had raisins or dried dates in my oatmeal. Most days I was also having a few ounces of POM juice, as recommended by Dr. Fuhrman in his autoimmune protocols, and once or twice some fruit-based salad dressing.

Between the flour and fruits I can see why the trigs were up.

My doc doesn't believe too much fruit has anything to do with triglycerides, that it's only saturated fats that raise it, "anything you can buy in a bakery, including whole wheat bread" is bad, everything else is fine, (here it comes) in moderation." (sigh)

My doctor went into immediate pill-pusher mode and had the student doc start looking up meds to lower triglycerides and wrote a prescription for Lovaza, a purified fish oil pill to raise Omega-3's, even though I told him I'm not going to take it, especially when the web site say it's for trigs over 500, and mine are less than half that. I can take more crushed flax seed and chia seeds to raise Omega 3's, like Dr. Esselstyn says to do.

He told me I'm eating too many carbs on my food plan, to switch to the "heart healthy" Mediterranean diet, to replace all those carbs with protein foods.

I looked him right in the eye and said: "You want me to stop eating my whole food plant based, no sugar-oil-salt food plan and start taking fish oil, eat fish, chicken and beef, and start pouring olive oil over everything so my triglycerides go down? What do you think my total cholesterol is going to do if I do that?" He and the student just shrugged. 

I also reminded him that many people with MCTD eventually wind up with kidney failure and on dialysis, and he wants me to load up on kidney-killing animal protein? He shrugged again.

He told me if I don't want to take the Lovaza, at least take fish oil pills from another source, but make sure they're fresh. I shrugged. Now I know he's just not listening.

I told him I'm going to cut the rest of the dried fruit out my diet and stick to only 1 serving a day of either blueberries or apples, and he shrugged.

I told him I'll cut out the processed carbs - the whole wheat flour and cornmeal - and he shrugged again, telling me I should also cut out the beans and potatoes, so I shrugged again.

He didn't even ask if I saw the rheumatologist yet to start treatment for my MCTD, the one thing my husband was most concerned about. I had to come right out and ask how my ESR and CRP results were. He shrugged and said they're fine, then went back to telling me how horrible my diet is.

So here I am, debating whether or not to shut him up and take Lovaza (probably not), other fish oil pills (ditto), grab a bottle of the EPA-DHA or OmegaPure that Dr. Fuhrman sells, or just go with other comments by Fuhrman and Esselstyn, that as long as one is following the whole foods plant based/plant perfect food plan, don't worry about the trigs, because they're not going to be normal until all the excess weight is off, especially if you already have a lot of belly fat, which I most certainly do. 

Dr. McD has a few tips, besides cutting down on fruit and eliminating flour products (meaning, go on MWLP instead of the regular/heart healthy program) that includes increasing exercise and eating an extra quarter cup of oat bran, and a few cloves of garlic every day.

So, no to Lovaza or fish oil, yes to more oat bran, garlic (Yum! Really!) and ground flax (I have to remember to drink more water now), no to flour products (Goodbye, pizza and pasta - sniff) and try increase my aerobic exercise a bit without causing any more pain to my already achy joints and muscles (Now attibutable to MCTD and not my fat and degenerative arthritis).

I'm now 60 years old - time to nip this in the bud so I can live to see 70 and beyond.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

National Grouch Day

What a wonderful birthday present! Even my husband said it was appropriate, considering the kind of year we just had.

Sesame Street magazine declares Oct. 15 ‘National Grouch Day’


My husband returns to work in just a week and a half, and we have a lot to accomplish in these 12 days/8 business days, hence the scarcity of posts.

Since VeganMoFo ended I've been making a lot of Jeff's SNAP meals, and so far only one of them was new to me, and I'll post on that after the 28th. Tonight I'm making the New Orleans Jambalaya, another new to me one, so that's at least 2 posts with pics to look forward to. 

And wait until Jeff releases his next Fast Food DVD in November! It's only a year and a half since he first announced it, and it was supposed to come out the same time as Shopping School. I can't wait to work through those! I still wish he would post a sample recipe so I can get started!

I'll also have a very grouchy post about doctors, too. My family doesn't call me "Oscar" for nothing!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Dr. McDougall's Top Ten Questions

Dr. McDougall frequently appears on the TV show LifeStyle Magazine that these guys emcee various religious cable stations. Here they devote an entire show to the top 10 questions their viewers want to ask of Dr. McDougall.

I love how they remind him there are TEN questions to be answered, not to dawdle over any one. They obviously know how he likes to talk! LOL