Day 16 – Three more Detox Pathways

Posted April 14th, 2011 in Detoxification, Meatless, Recipes by Rebecca Lane

Eggs for dinner

Are you starting to see how our bodies naturally have a variety of ways to clear and cleanse themselves? Unfortunately, with all of the toxins we keep feeding ourselves, and those proliferating in our environment, its hard for the body to keep up. Even 20 years ago, there wasn’t the toxic load on the earth that there is today. Manufacturers continue creating foods that just do not serve our body’s health. And we keep buying them – blissfully unaware of the damage they create.

The intestines
After leaving the stomach where food mixes with stomach acid and enzymes, the acid is neutralized and more enzymes and bile are added into the mix. In the small intestine valuable nutrients are removed from the food and what cannot be used to feed the body is driven through into the large intestine with its muscular movements.

In the large intestine, water and remaining minerals are removed from the food and the rest is eliminated through bowel movements. One bowel movement for each meal consumed is the ideal for keeping the large intestine moving without backed up waste.

Unfortunately, it is rare for us to have the ideal in terms of bowel movements. The combined effects of stress, low fibre diet, insufficient hydration and lack of exercise can cause waste to build up on the large intestine’s walls, forming crusts and pockets where bacteria, yeast and other microorganisms proliferate and infection can follow.

We can support the elimination process through the intestines by consuming a diet high in fibre (about 30 grams of fibre per day is a good starting point), 1.5 to 2 litres of water per day, add probiotics to keep our gut ecology (or the “good bacteria”) healthy, regular exercise to stimulate the movement of muscles and avoid antibiotics which disrupt the balance of our body.

The kidneys
The kidneys take care of the elimination of water-soluble toxins and excess minerals. They are filled with about one million tiny filtration units called nephrons, which collectively cleanse 180 litres of blood each day.

Water, and lots of it, is the best way to support our kidneys in their elimination role. Drink water (1 ½ to 2 litres) free of chemicals and pesticides. There are many water purification systems available to fit any budget. My family uses a counter-top Santevia filtration system that was in the $160 range and we change the filters per the instructions – which cost about the start-up price annually.

Another way to support the kidneys is to maintain a low sodium/high potassium diet to increase the efficiency of cellular detoxification and elimination via the kidneys. Sodium is present in the fluid outside each cell, potassium inside each cell. When one is low, the other will be high. If sodium levels are high, the body’s cells may swell and trap toxins inside. Restricting sodium consumption allows less fluid retention. Potassium preserves alkalinity of the body fluids and encourages the kidneys to eliminate toxic waste products.

Foods with the best low sodium/high potassium ratios are navy beans, caraway seeds (also good for increasing Phase 1 liver detox), dark cherries, dried apricots, lentils, walnuts, oranges, almonds, apples, avocado, peaches, banana, grapefruit, pineapple, squash, sage, mint and apple cider vinegar.

The thymus gland
The thymus gland, which lies just beneath the breast bone, is the main immune organ of the body. It is large in infants, and shrinks as we age. Its function is to program white blood cells, the body’s immune army, in their various tasks and then sends them into the blood to recognize and destroy pathogens.

The thymus develops our resistance to bacteria, cancer, viruses, toxins and allergens and stimulates the production of white blood cells in the bone marrow. It controls the lymphatic system of glands and ducts by turning up the volume on the elimination of wastes.

This gland is highly responsive to our emotions and shuts down when we are feeling stressed, unfulfilled, and without purpose. As a result, the white blood cells become fewer in number and less aggressive.

Support for the thymus gland can be achieved through a healthy diet, healthy sleep patterns so that the body produces melatonin and receives adequate rest, water and exercise, and responds best to our learning to manage stress effectively.

Antioxidants like vitamins C and E, beta carotene and selenium are critical to protect the thymus from free radical damage. Other nutrients such as zinc and vitamin B6 are important because they are required for the production of thymic hormones.

Eggs can be eaten during a detoxification program because the protein is more easily absorbed than any other protein, except for whey. To enrich more anti-oxidant power, add fresh herbs from your garden, such as basil or parsley.

Zucchini, Pepper and Goat Cheese Frittata

 2 tsp.  olive oil
2 cups mixed diced vegetables (choose from zucchini, asparagus, spinach, broccoli, and/or onions
1/2  red pepper, diced
1/2 tsp. salt with trace minerals
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
8  large eggs
6 green onions, chopped
½ cup  minced parsley or mixture of fresh green herbs
2  garlic cloves, minced
1 cup crumbled goat cheese
Dulse to sprinkle on the top

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Chop the green vegetables, onions, and red pepper and green onions. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Heat olive oil and sauté vegetables, stirring occasionally for five minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, cayenne pepper and salt and pour over the vegetables. Add green onions, herbs, and basil. Crumble the goat cheese on top.

Let it cook undisturbed over moderate heat for three to four minutes, until eggs are set on the bottom and edges. Transfer to the oven and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until eggs are cooked in the centre and the goat cheese is slightly brown.

Serve it in the hot skillet, or later at room temperature. Cut into wedges. Sprinkle with dulse. Serve with a spinach salad.

Day 15 – the Liver’s Detoxification Role

Posted April 13th, 2011 in Detoxification, Meatless, Recipes by Rebecca Lane
Rapini Rice Bowl

The liver acts as the body’s main factory for breaking down, neutralizing, detoxifying and removing chemicals, poisons, body wastes and unused and undigested food surpluses. It handles about 40% of all of the body’s detoxification work.

It has three main functions:

  1. Filtration – the liver contains cells called Kupffer cells which are phagocytes (white blood cells that protect the body by ingesting (phagocytosing) harmful foreign particles, bacteria, and dead or dying cells). These Kupffer cells filter the blood and eradicate large molecules and pathogenic bacteria and toxins. In a healthy liver, these cells eradicate 99% of bacteria.
  2. Bile Secretion – the liver produces bile which binds with toxins, harmful poisons and wastes (including those removed via step 1 filtration and step 3 enzymatic pathways) and removes them from the body via the intestines in feces. Inadequate fibre causes the process to slow down causing many toxins to be reabsorbed in the intestines.
  3. Enzymatic Pathways – the liver disassembles toxins via a two-step process known as Phase 1 and Phase 2 detoxification.
    1. Phase 1 – a group of enzymes called cytochrome P450 either directly disassemble toxins, convert toxins to water-soluble substances which can be eliminated via urine, convert toxins to less toxic chemicals for removal, or convert toxins to activated intermediaries for Phase 2 conjugation.
    2. Phase 2 – these are called Conjugation Pathways because one molecule is bound to a toxin thereby converting it into a water-soluble substance that can be evacuated via urine. There are 7 different molecules chosen by the body depending on the toxin to be disassembled (eg. Amino acids, sulfation, methylation, glutathione, glucuronidation)

There are many ways to support the liver in its detox role.

  1. Keep the blood and organs well hydrated with lots of water.
  2. Avoid harmful substances, sugars, alcohol, high protein diets, coffee, saturated fat, and smoking.
  3. Support the Phase 1 detoxification pathways with lots of brassicas (cabbage, broccoli, Bussels sprouts, kale, rapini, collards), oranges, and tangerines.
  4. Support the Phase 2 detoxification pathways with brassicas, legumes, oatmeal, oranges, lemons, tangerines, whole grains, green tea, red peppers, fresh berries, and omega 3 fish oils.
  5. Supplement with milk thistle, magnesium, B complex vitamins, selenium, and zinc.

I realize I’ve given a lot of information. These Phase 1 and 2 pathways need to work together, if the Phase 1 works faster than Phase 2, then a backlog of activated intermediaries can occur. These can cause symptoms of fatigue and nausea among others. If you have underactive Phase 1 enzymes, you may be more sensitive to medications than the average person and require smaller dosages, may be hypersensitive to perfumes, paint fumes, easily affected by caffeine and alcohol. Just another indication of the importance of maintaining balance within the body.

One of my favourite dinners includes several of the foods suggested above. Remember that you can add Flax seed oil (an omega-3 oil) to replace part of the olive oil in a salad dressing recipe. But never heat it – omega 3 oils cannot take any heat.

Rapini Rice Bowl

1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. vegetable stock
1 head rapini, chopped
1 head bok choy, chopped
1 bunch swiss chard, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbsp. tahini
1 large handful, chopped mushrooms
4 cups cooked brown basmati rice
2 sheets nori, torn (seaweed)
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 batch simple sauce (from ReFresh – copied below)

Heat the olive oil and vegetable stock at medium heat in medium saucepan. Add the onions, garlic and mushrooms until fragrant – 5 minutes. Add the greens and steam until tender and bright green.

Put 1 cup of the cooked brown basmati rice in each bowl. Stir in 1 Tbsp of tahini and ½ sheet of crumbled nori. Arrange the steamed vegetables on top, sprinkle with slivered almonds, then drizzle with simple sauce over the vegetables and rice.

Simple Sauce (p. 92 of ReFresh – a Vegan cookbook I just LOVE and use for inspiration often)

½ cup tamari
3 Tbsp sesame oil
1 ½ inch ginger root, peeled and minced
4 Tbsp lemon juice

Put all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and serve over the rice.

Day 14 – How we Detoxify

Posted April 12th, 2011 in Detoxification, Meatless, Recipes by Rebecca Lane

Exercise is a great detoxifying tool

Our body has 11 ways that it cleans itself constantly. These detox pathways are going on all of the time, while we eat, as we sleep – we don’t consciously know that they are working away, but they are. Their efficiency depends on many factors and I’ll describe them in some detail as we learn about them. If you want more detailed information, please let me know and I can help you to find what you need.

The blood
As we all learned in high school, our blood carries nutrients and oxygen to all parts of the body and carries away cellular waste products. These waste products are delivered to the liver for detoxification and elimination.

If the blood becomes ‘sticky’, meaning it has an increased viscosity; it is less able to circulate freely through the small capillaries of the body. This stickiness can lead to the development of disease states because the blood can’t be efficient in either picking up waste, or dropping off food and oxygen.

Blood becomes sticky for several reasons: dehydration; the presence of pathogens like fungi, viruses, bacteria, and parasites which cause the blood to become thick through the body’s immune response to them; food sensitivities also cause immune response; heavy metal toxicity and exposure to environmental toxins; stress and trauma can also cause the blood to become thick.

Exercise is one way we can keep the heart muscle pumping strongly and blood flowing smoothly. Also make sure to drink lots of water to keep the blood hydrated and thin.

The lungs
With each exhalation, we release toxic gases and end products of cell metabolism. When we breathe slowly and deeply, we aerate a greater volume of the lungs and enhance their cleansing ability.

That’s why so many meditation practices include breathing as part of the practice. Often when we feel stressed, our breathing becomes quite shallow using only a small portion of the actual lung capacity. It can be very cleansing and refreshing to actually take ‘breathing breaks’ throughout the day when we consciously take several deep breaths in, hold and then exhale completely.

The skin
The skin opens its pores and releases water-soluble toxins through perspiration. Sweating is one of the ways that we can eliminate toxins that reside in our fat cells.

Exercise is critical for healthy skin – but the body must be allowed to perspire. Anti-perspirants block the body’s natural cleansing process and as a result should be avoided. Another method to induce sweating is through using saunas – especially when followed by a cold plunge or shower.

It is important to sweat during every season in order to get rid of those toxins. However, it is also important to use a proper cleanser and body wash following any strenuous workout. It doesn’t make any sense to sweat, eliminate toxins, and then use a chemically produced cleanser. Instead, choose all-natural skincare products for use after you sweat.

The digestive organs
Saliva in your mouth, stomach acid and digestive enzymes in the stomach and pancreas all are responsible for breaking down harmful toxins and pathogens in the same way as they digest food. These digestive organs are the first line of defences for the rest of the body, killing harmful bacteria, fungi, yeast and viruses before they can gain a foothold in our intestinal tracts.

Often as we age, or if we are living in a highly stressed environment, we don’t produce enough stomach acid and enzymes to be able to protect our bodies from these pathogens. Another thing that decreases the acidity of our stomachs is taking antacids.
Signs and symptoms of low stomach acid include bloating, belching, and flatulence immediately after meals; heartburn (often thought to be caused by too much stomach acid); indigestion, diarrhea, or constipation; undigested food in stools; acne; chronic candida; multiple food allergies; weak, peeling, or cracked fingernails; chronic fatigue – and that’s not all of the signs!

You can increase your stomach acidity by eliminating mineral-depleting sugar and sweeteners, eliminating processed foods (white flours and grains – eat whole foods rather than food in boxes), and adding fermented foods and drinks to your diet. Another way to increase your digestive juices is to start your day with lemon juice in water – if you’re sensitive to citrus try bitters 15 to 20 minutes before each meal.

That’s four of the 11 – we’ll talk about the liver tomorrow. Bet you can’t wait!

Coconut Beans and Rice

This recipe came from Sherri Doak who made it last night and raved about it enough that now I have to make it tonight to see if it’s really as good as she says!

1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp curry powder (Arvinda’s Curry Masala – use less – or Lala’s)
1 14-oz can Adzuki beans (or use 1 ½ cups of sprouted, cooked Adzuki beans for extra digestibility)
3 cups finely chopped, mixed greens (bok choy, kale, spinach, broccoli, collards – 3 cups fresh or 1 ½ cups frozen)
1 can coconut milk
1 cup brown basmati rice
2 cups filtered water (or 1 cup water, 1 cup vegetable stock)
1 tsp salt

Cook the rice in the water and salt per package instructions and set aside.

Heat the coconut oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat – add the onions and garlic and cook until fragrant 2-3 minutes. Add in the curry powder and swirl around in the oil another minute. Add the beans and greens and cook until heated through – about 5 minutes. Add in the coconut milk to make a creamy sauce – and just heat through again.

Serve over the rice with a mango salad. I’m looking forward to tasting this!

Day 13 – Why consider a Spring Detox?

Posted April 11th, 2011 in Detoxification, Recipes, Salads by Rebecca Lane

Kale Salad

I met a really interesting couple at The Crow’s Nest last night (yes, I’m predictable – on Sundays we have supper out so that’s why there’s no Day 12) who had lots of questions about the importance of detoxing, so I thought I’d do my blog today on why a spring detox is a healthful practice.

What are toxins?
Toxins are substances that are harmful to our health. There are two main categories: Exotoxins – toxins which enter into our bodies from our external environments; and Endotoxins – toxic by-products of internal bodily functions.

Exotoxins include such things as xenobiotics (insecticides, herbicides, pesticides, food additives, plastics, drugs, chemicals from cleaning supplies, etc.), toxic metals (lead, cadmium, mercury, aluminum, arsenic in our water, fish, lead pipes, paint, pots and other sources), organic toxins (aflatoxin, penicillium toxins on our food), vitamin and mineral excesses, infections, lifestyle toxins (caffeine, sugar, alcohol, smoking), inhalents (mold, algae, pollens), food sensitivities (gluten, dairy, nightshades), and energetic toxins (electromagnetic fields, ionizing radiation, geopathic stress).

Endotoxins are things like by-products/waste products of intestinal bacteria and fungi, intermediary metabolites (lactic acid, urea), hormonal overload (estrogen, progesterone, insulin, cortisol, prolactin), increased free radicals, toxic emotions (excess worry, regret, grief, fear, anger) and toxic memories (loss, embarrassment, shame, violence, abandonment).

What happens when we are toxic?
When the body is unable to keep up with the break down and elimination of toxic wastes, symptoms of illness can begin to show up. These symptoms may include headaches, joint pain, fatigue, irritability, depression, mental confusion, digestive disturbances, cardiovascular irregulatiries, flu-like symptoms like hives, runny nose, sneezing and coughing.

Why detox in the spring?
Spring is a time of rebirth and renewal and the perfect time for an annual removal of these toxins from the system. There are many kinds of detoxification strategies that are available.

The simplest is for 2-weeks to concentrate on feeding your body with lots of fresh, raw vegetables and fruit (take a break from eating potatoes, tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, eggplant, tomatillos, tamarios, pepinos, pimentos, paprika, cayenne, and Tabasco sauce which are classified as nightshade foods and can be inflammatory for some individuals – as well as citrus fruits including lemon, lime, oranges, mandarin, grapefruit, as they can be a source of food sensitivities).

While you’re enjoying lots of fresh, raw vegetables and fruits, take a break from eating sugars (white, brown, honey, maple syrup, you name it, leave it alone for 2 weeks), gluten-containing grains (white flour, whole wheat flour, spelt, kamut, barley, rye), dairy products (especially milk, and cheese) and all lifestyle toxins (food additives and colourings, caffeine, alcohol, smoking).

Do include small amounts of protein each day as the function of proteins in our body is to repair, renew, and improve immune function. However, protein containing foods are generally higher in fat, require cooking, and are harder for the body to digest. Foods that draw energy for digestion interfere with the use of energy for cleansing and rejuvenation, and should be avoided during detoxing.

Include in your 2-week detoxification a trip to a spa where you can relax and feel pampered and refreshed. You also might want to consider keeping a journal during this time to keep track of how you feel as your body is given the chance to clean and clear itself.

Kale Salad

When kale is cut into thin strips, rubbed, and then marinated overnight in a dressing, it has a wonderfully soft and juicy texture that makes it delightful for a salad. This nutritious salad is visually beautiful, and sure to become a staple recipe for your family and friends. When I’m not on a detox, I add 1 tbsp of maple syrup to the dressing.

1 head of kale, washed and cut into thin strips
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cucumber
1/3 cup raw whole almonds, chopped
¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 small red onion
1/2 cup finely chopped red cabbage

Combine all the above ingredients in a large bowl. Feel free to add some fresh berries to increase the antioxidant properties of the salad.

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp flax oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon
1 tsp tamari
½ tsp coriander
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine ingredients in a jar, shake and pour over salad. Massage dressing into salad and let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving to let flavors meld and allow the kale to soften. This salad will keep for a couple of days as the kale just softens in the dressing and becomes juicier.

Thanks to Caroline Dupont’s Enlightened Eating for starting me on my love affair with kale.

Day 11 – a Night for Grilling

Posted April 9th, 2011 in Meat in, Meatless, Recipes by Rebecca Lane

Spring on the Danforth

What a beautiful day. I think that everyone feels happier when the sun smiles on their faces, cause everyone downtown was happy and talking and friendly. Both of the children were busy today, so Mark and I spent the day shopping and eating on the Danforth.

We had lunch at a little pub and I had an amazing pizza – basil pesto, feta cheese, spinach and carmelized onions. It was sooo delicious. I’m going to try and make it myself and then post the recipe – wish me luck! With it I had a dark ale – Mill Street Tankhouse Ale – which was really flavourful and didn’t overwhelm the pizza.

Because my feet hurt now and I’m looking forward to just sitting down with a big bottle of water (yes, I’m drinking water to refresh), we’re keeping it simple for supper.

Grilled Chicken and Vegetables

BBQ vegetables

Vegetables – chopped in large chunks, a little larger than bite-sized otherwise they grill too quickly
Red onion
Red pepper
Small eggplant
handful of mushrooms
Small zucchini

Coat vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with dulse flakes. Toss to make sure that they are well covered. I grill them in a cast-iron bowl that looks more like a colander than a bowl. I’ll see if I can find a photo online.

Chicken – 1/2 a breast per person
Marinade for 2-4 hours:
1/2 c. olive oil
1/4 c. lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon)
1 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. oregano

Take chicken breasts out of marinade and discard (marinade, not the chicken!).  Put the vegetables and chicken on the BBQ for the same amount of time, making sure to toss the vegetables whenever you check on the chicken.

Serve with a mixed greens salad with a lemon-vinagrette dressing.

Lemon-Vinagrette Dressing
(here’s the one from Jamie Oliver’s cookbook Jamie’s Food Revolution)

Put 6 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil into a jam jar, with a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon (I add about a tbsp of zest of lemon just to give it a bit more zing). Put the lid on the jar and shake well. If you like it a little sweeter, add 1 tbsp of maple syrup.

Day 10 – Soup for the Soul

Posted April 8th, 2011 in Recipes, Soups to warm you by Rebecca Lane

I find that eating soup makes you feel like you’re doing something good for your body – and that’s good for your soul too! Combine the curried butternut squash soup with a grilled apple and camembert sandwich on a folded wrap, and a salad and you’ve got one very happy body.

I wanted to talk about dairy-free ways of making soups and sauces creamy. Usually I prefer not to use the boxed almond and rice milks to add to soups as they don’t really have a nice flavour and tend to separate when heated. To add flavour and texture to soups, my favourite warm me up foods, there are three different techniques I choose from:

  1. Make a nut milk with vegetable stock. Cashews, almonds or pecans are delicious and add wonderful flavour to soups. Use one part raw, shelled nuts, soaked overnight in filtered water (just cover with water and leave) to three parts water or stock in the soup. Grind the soaked nuts in a blender (has to be a high-speed blender like Vita-Mix), then add the liquid and blend until completely smooth. Add to the soup at the end of the cooking to smooth it out.
  2. Use dense starchy vegetables. Cut potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash or celery root into 1-inch pieces. Saute in oil in large soup pot with onion, garlic and dried herbs until the vegetables soften (about 15-20  minutes). Puree the mixture in a blender with just enough water or stock to make the right consistency. Return to the pot for an additional 10 to 15 minutes until completely smooth.
  3. Use coconut milk. This is the simplest method and one which I use often, especially if I’m making a curried soup like today. For every 6 cups of water or stock add one can of coconut milk. This is also delicious in cream of celery, cream of mushroom or cream of tomato soup.

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

1 tbsp olive oil
½ cup chopped onions
2 tsp curry powder (again, Lala’s is my favourite powder)
3 cups vegetable broth
½ cup apple juice
6 cups peeled, cubed butternut squash (if you have time, you could roast a butternut squash and use that – cut in half and cook for 45 minutes at 325 degrees F – make sure that you use parchment paper on the pan!)
1 cup peeled, chopped apples
¼ tsp salt
1/2 can of coconut milk (or you could use pecan milk here and it would be delicious)

 Add oil to large saucepan, heat to medium heat and add onions. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add water as necessary to avoid onions sticking to pan. Sprinkle curry powder over onions and mix.

Add vegetable broth, apple juice, squash, and apples. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes until squash is tender.

Use an immersion blender and puree soup in the pot. Add salt and coconut milk.

 Makes 6-8 servings

Thanks to Vegetarian Times article Ask a Chef?, March 2011

Day 9 – the Gift of Friends

Posted April 7th, 2011 in Meat in, Psychology of Disease, Recipes by Rebecca Lane

Angels around us

I know – so what happened to Days 6 through 8? Life happened, or in this case, death. Over the weekend, two of my high school friends lost a parent, so I packed up two black dresses and headed to Petrolia so that I could show them my support and love for them. But I received a lot more than I gave.

When I left Petrolia for university, I lost touch with all of my girlfriends from high school. Three years ago we reconnected through the wonder of Facebook. Two years ago we got together for a Soul Sisters retreat weekend and found out how wonderful it is to get together with women of the same age and similar background and find out the journeys our lives had taken us on. Two weekends ago we were together again for our second Soul Sisters retreat at the Scandinave Spa in Blue Mountain. What a cleansing, renewing experience that was.

This was different. First, I called up a friend whom I had always loved and admired, but never been really close with and asked if I could stay with her. She welcomed me with open arms and greeted me at the door with an open bottle of wine and chocolate! Who could ask for more? We stayed up and giggled, while remembering the years gone by and got to know each other again. I met her husband and son and learned even more about this beautiful, strong woman.

After a great sleep, far away from streetlights, I was awakened to the blessed aroma of coffee (yeah, I know its not good for me) and we talked and laughed some more as we got dressed and ready for the funeral.

I won’t go into details of the funeral, but the number of people there were a testament to the people this farming man touched while on earth – whether through his own words or deeds, or those of his children and grandchildren. I was moved most by the words of his family after the funeral service – and by the hug from his daughter.

The second funeral was very different from the first, but again I was moved by the words spoken from the heart about this creative, artistic, loving woman who had touched so many lives while on earth. And again it was the hugs that I will cherish.

I realized that we are remembered by our words and actions, not by our regrets for what we should have done or might have been. By the bodies that we have hugged, by the tears that we have kissed, by the times we sit and listen, by the laughter (and wine) that we have shared.

I will always remember these past two days – thank you to my friends for sharing their love and for being open to receiving my love back in return.

Before I left for Petrolia, I made a huge pot of chili for my family back at home. My intent was that on Monday night they could have the chili with a salad, and then on Tuesday night they could make fajitas.

Chicken Chili Con Carne with beans and vegetables

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 ½ lbs. of ground chicken or turkey
1 cup coarsely chopped onions
½ diced red pepper
½ diced green pepper
2 stalks celery, diced
2 large garlic cloves
2 16 oz cans chopped tomatoes (my own tomatoes are long gone, so I used Eden)
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto peans
¼ cup chilli powder
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt

In large Dutch oven, over medium-high heat, cook chicken in oil. Once chicken is cooked, add the onions, peppers, celery and garlic until onions are tender – about 10 minutes – stirring frequently.

Add tomatoes and their liquid, chilli powder, cayenne, and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and cover and simmer for 1 hour stirring occasionally.

Stir in beans. Serve in soup bowls with grated cheddar cheese and fresh cilantro on top.

Day 5 – Sunday, a day of rest

Posted April 3rd, 2011 in Meatless, Recipes by Rebecca Lane
The Crow's Nest, Newmarket

The Crow's Nest

Sunday is a special day at our house. It’s the one day of the week when we always get together for dinner. And we always eat together at The Crow’s Nest, a small British pub just down the street from our home.

What we love about Sunday dinner is that it’s the one time of the week when we actually talk with each other. We joke around, and we know everyone at the pub, in fact over the years they’ve become a part of our family. They also know that we use this special time as our ‘together’ time and let us talk.

I think it’s important to have traditions like this. We can walk here, so no gasoline is wasted. And what the kids like best is that once the dinner is finished, and the conversation is completed, they can just walk home and get on with their evening, while Mark and I often stay for a drink alone together.

I did make a delicious lunch today, and it only took seconds to put together when I took a break from working in the garden.

Wraps filled with Guacomole, spinach, sprouts and salsa (serves 2 or 1 very hungry gardener)

1 avocado, peeled, pitted and mashed

2 Tbsp salsa (today I used Jack’s Salsa, but in the summer I usually have fresh salsa sitting around for snacking on)

2 ancient grain tortilla shells

handful spinach

handful sprouts

sprinkle of dulse

Mash the avocado with 1 Tbsp of salsa. Spread on the 2 tortilla wraps. In the centre of each, add a handful of spinach, sprouts (today I had broccoli sprouts on hand), and sprinkle with dulse. Then add another 1/2 Tbsp of salsa on the top of each.

Fold them up and enjoy. If your salsa is very wet (like mine was), this is a very messy, but delicious snack.

I finished off with an orange,  one litre of water (with chlorophyll in it), and went back out into the garden.

I might have eaten 2 or 3 little chocolate Easter eggs (the mini kind) that were sitting on the counter!


Day 4 – Curious about curries?

Posted April 2nd, 2011 in Meatless, Recipes by Rebecca Lane
Aloo Gobi

Aloo Gobi Curry

I grew up in the Middle East, and I’ve always loved the flavours, aromas and textures of curries. On a beautiful spring day like today when I’ve spent the day working in the garden, there’s nothing easier or more nutritious than a curry.

Curcumin is one of the main ingredients of a curry. You may know it more commonly as turmeric. This versatile spice is antiangiogenic (click on the angiogenesis category to find out more about this) and has benefits for inflammatory diseases like arthritis as well as for diabetes and cancer.

There are three different types of curries – depending on the area the recipe comes from. We’re making a yellow curry today, but there are also red and green curries.

Red Curries

The typical Thai curry is red, and has a good balance of hot, sweet, sour, salty and bitter tastes. The heat can be controlled by the type and number of chilies added to the paste, and can be cooled down by adding coconut milk (a must for curries in my family’s opinion). Palm sugar is usually used to give that little sweetness. The main ingredients are garlic, shallots, red chilies, galangal, shrimp paste, salt, kaffir lime peel, coriander root, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns and lemon grass. These ingredients form the base paste to which you can add the vegetables, fruit, meat or fish of your choice.

Yellow Curries

This curry is richer and creamier than the red curry, because of the addition of coconut cream as well as coconut milk. Because of the richness, it tends to not taste as spicy. The primary spices are cumin, coriander, turmeric, fenugreek, garlic, salt, bay leaf, lemon grass, cayenne pepper, ginger, mace and cinnamon.

Green Curries

Green curries tend to be as hot as red curries; however, despite their heat they have a sweetness that is not usually associated with red curries. The main ingredients for the sauce consist of coconut milk, green chilies, shallots, garlic, galangal, kaffir lime peel, roasted coriander and cumin seeds, white peppercorns and shrimp paste.

Aloo Gobi with saffron rice

This recipe was given to me during my cooking course at IHN by Kamsella Nadoo who has since left Toronto for Vancouver I believe. Anyway, its a family favourite and I hope that you enjoy it too.

Step 1

2 Tbsp coconut oil (or ghee)

3 tsp mustard seeds

Put the two together in a covered saucepan on medium heat and leave until the seeds start to pop. Then add

3 tsp urad dhal (like lentils but cook faster – you can replace with 1 can of chick peas which I do often)

Cook for 1-2 minutes.

Step 2


10 curry leaves (or you can use 2 Tbsp curry powder – Lala’s is my favourite brand)

3 dried whole chilies (I’ll be hones and say that I often use a combination of cayenne pepper – not much – and Asian chili sauce as I find whole chilies a little strong for me)

1 tsp turmeric

Cook 1 minute stirring to form a nice paste.

Step 3

Add 1 head cauliflower – chopped into bite-sized pieces

3 large potatoes – I leave the skins on but chop into bite-sized pieces

1 1/4 tsp salt.

Cook covered on low heat for 20 minutes. Garnish with shredded coconut and fresh coriander.

Saffron Rice

2 Tbsp coconut oil or ghee

1 tsp cumin seeds

3 large pinches saffron

Warm spices for 1-2 minutes until fragrant (medium heat)

Add rice (1 cup of basmati rice) and stir and cover for 2 minutes.

Add 2 cups of water (or a combo of half water, half vegetable stock) and boil for 5 minutes, then turn it down to a low simmer – cover and leave for 10  minutes until all of the liquid is absorbed. Once the liquid is absorbed, add 1 can of coconut milk and let simmer again.

At the last minutes, stir in 1/2 red pepper chopped very small, and green peas just until softened. I find that once I add the vegetables to the rice, I call the children to set the table and that’s lots of time.

Notes from last nights dinner:

I replaced the salt with kombu in the soup, and before I added it to the rice noodles it was perfect. But the rice noodles on their own were a little bland (instructions on the package said to pour boiling water over them and leave for 20 minutes). Next time I’ll add some kombu to that water too or a little sea salt for more depth of flavour to the whole meal.

Thanks to Longos “experience” magazine, Spring 2011 issue for the article on curries pp. 34 – 35

Day 3 – Valuing Yourself

Posted April 1st, 2011 in Psychology of Disease by Rebecca Lane

Does how you love yourself affect how others love you?

I Need Love

Yesterday was a day filled with challenges. And I didn’t react to them in a way that I’m totally proud of. But I learned some lessons as a result of my responses that I think are important to share.

I’m in the midst of many changes – developing Turning Point Nutrition into a business that offers real value for people with breast cancer, going through peri-menopause, and parenting two teenagers who are themselves in the stage of moving away from home or at least starting to think that way. Yesterday I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere with TPN and started to feel like everything I do has no value. Sometimes I get like that – one little thing becomes EVERYthing! Know what I mean?

To compound this, my son came home from school with a poor result on a test. And again, somehow this was my ‘failure’. Then my husband called to say that he wouldn’t be home for dinner, and my daughter had made other plans!

Alex doesn’t really like fish – and that was the last straw. I just couldn’t face making fish noodle soup bowl and then listening to him complain about “fish again!” So we went to Wendy’s for dinner. “Failed” again.

This morning, things are a little brighter – it’s amazing how much better the world is in the morning, outside, when the sun is shining. While walking the dog, I came to several realizations. How I feel about myself changes moment by moment – and I need to be gentle with myself as I navigate through these changes. Further, how I feel about myself affects how others treat me. When I treat myself with value and respect, in turn I feel valued and respected. When I treat myself as a failure, I feel like others treat me as if I’m not important, or valuable. Whether or not its true doesn’t matter, that’s how I FEEL.

I think one of the reasons why we went to Wendy’s last night is because I needed to be ‘refuelled’ – I needed to be reminded of how valuable I really am, I needed to be shown love, and I went looking for a ‘quick fix’. In an extended family community of old, I probably would have gone home to my mother for dinner – but it’s a long drive to Ottawa! But that’s what I needed.

It’s not what I got.

So, how can we develop ways to ‘refuel’ without filling ourselves with empty food (that’s what I call fast, packaged, or fried food) or going on ‘retail therapy’ trips with money that belongs to the bank?

I thought that just by having all of the ingredients at home, and a plan for what I would make, would be enough to keep me on track. But that wasn’t the case this time.

I was thinking that one thing that I can do is to put a couple of meals away in the freezer for days like last night. Not leftovers, but meals that I’ve actually prepared on days when I have extra love and energy to spare for a rainy day. Something that will freeze well and that the family will enjoy without complaint – like a vegetarian lasagne, or spaghetti sauce, or shepherd’s pie. I might even wrap it up with a card to remind myself that there will be good days again!

The other is to call a friend and tell her how very important she is to me, so on the days when I need it, she can remind me of how important I am to her! What goes around comes around. We just need to send it out there first, so that it can come back – like setting up a savings account for a rainy day!

So, needless to say, we’re having Fish Noodle Soup bowl for dinner tonight! Hopefully my family will be home to enjoy it with me.

Incoming search terms:

  • rebecca lane turning point