Monday, December 9, 2013

A new blog - MS Nomad

I decided to set up a new blog, and have forgotten to post it here. You can now follow me at MS Nomad. I also have a Facebook page for MS Nomad. Please check out my new pages, and you can follow my travels there. Thanks!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Saying Yes!

Back in the spring I discovered the Gluten Free Girl, Shauna Ahern. I follow her blog, and read her books. When she learned that she had celiac disease and needed to omit gluten from her diet, she decided to focus on what she could eat, saying "Yes!" to all of those things, rather than focusing on what she couldn't eat.

I've decided to do the same. Whenever I've had the opportunity, I've picked up new foods and brought them home to try them.

Kohlrabi is a great example. Kohlrabi? What is that? How do I cook it? Don't know, but in to the shopping cart it goes!

(Kohlrabi image from

So, what does one do with kohlrabi? I tried it boiled and mashed, like potatoes, and that was OK. Then I found a recipe for kohlrabi pickles. Yes! Those were great! And the other night, kohlrabi soup. It was great! Think of a cream of potato soup, but with a bit of a bite.

Here are the recipes I used:

Kohlrabi pickles
Kohlrabi soup
(This recipe calls for milk - I substituted coconut milk, and it was a bit rich. I'd change the broth/milk recipe next time from 1:1 to 2:1.)

Now that winter is here, I'm looking forward to trying any new winter veggies that might show up in the produce aisle, so that I can say yes!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Kale - my new superfood!

I'm not sure how I managed to get through these first 45 years without eating kale. I plan on eating a lot of kale and other greens in the next 45 years! I love kale, chard, spinach, and even collard greens, and I eat greens most every day. Kale and other greens have a lot of micronutrients. I heard recently that kale has the most nutrients of any plant food!

I'd like to share a few of my favorite recipes with you.

Here's a wonderful soup that I served at lunch with friends the other day: Garlic Kale Sweet Potato Soup. I found this soup on the blog "365 Days of Kale" and I was thrilled to find someone else eating kale and posting recipes. I omit the garlic, as I'm allergic to it, and it is great even without the garlic!

The easiest way to cook kale or other greens is to saute a bit of onion, add some veggie broth, and cook the greens until they are tender - to your liking. You can add a splash of balsamic vinegar just before serving. If you want to add something to the texture, you can throw in a few raisins and nuts as well. Pine nuts or walnuts work well.

To sauce it up a bit, I love this recipe: Creamy Peanut Kale. It's great over a bit of rice and a few pieces of tofu. I also add a bit of Thai chili sauce to this recipe, for just a tiny bit of heat and sweetness.

Another recipe I love is this Marinated Kale Salad (minus the cheese). The lemon juice softens the kale overnight, and it makes a great salad.

And now, news about t-shirts. The most recent blog post at 365 Days of Kale has prompted me to order one of the the "Eat More Kale" shirts from Chik-Fil-A has issued a cease and desist order because the "Eat More Kale" campaign might be confused with their slogan. Really, Chik-Fil-A? How could anyone confuse your product and kale? Sign the petition if you're interested and eat more kale!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Spicy Quinoa Pilaf

The following recipe is a favorite of mine, and is from the book The Gluten-Free Vegan by Susan O'Brien. I've added some notes at the end.

Spicy Quinoa Pilaf

1-2 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1-2 small zucchini, chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped jalapeno (optional)
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
3 cups vegetable stock
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of cayenne
1-1/2 cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
¼ cup toasted pine nuts

Heat the oil in a large skillet and saut̩ the onion for 3 Р4 minutes. Add the zucchini, jalapeno and ginger, and saut̩ for another 3 Р4 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and all the spices (except the cilantro) as well as the quinoa. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cover. Simmer until all liquid is absorbed, 10 Р12 minutes. Add the cilantro and pine nuts, and stir. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pam’s notes – I don’t like spicy, so I omit the jalapeno, and the cilantro is optional. The pine nuts are a great addition and they’re best added on top right before it is served… otherwise they get funky. I also usually add a splash of cider vinegar for a bit more flavor, as well as a tablespoon or two of soy mayonnaise to make it a bit creamy. Enjoy!

A Day in the Life of the (Modified) Wahls Diet

As I follow the diet from Minding My Mitochondria, I've made a few modifications. Here's a quote from Dr. Wahls from Facebook which gives a summary of the diet:

The Wahls Foundation
think of the wahls diet as a phased approach. phase 1 = 9 cups of vegetables and berries, phase 2= gluten free, dairy free; phase 3= paleo (no grain, no legumes) phase 4 = food allergy testing, elimination diet. If one feels like they have all the benefit they need -- they can stay at phase one. If you are looking for more benefits, keep advancing.

I've followed phases 1 and 2 quite closely, with just a few tweaks. Because I'm a vegetarian, the phase 3 paleo is where I've made some modifications (no meat, still eating grains now and then). I've also had food allergy testing (phase 4), so I know what to avoid there.

Here is a sample menu of what I might eat in a day:


A smoothie made in my Vitamix. I start with a base or orange juice, add a banana, 3 - 4 kale leaves, and a handful of baby spinach leaves. I add a bit more fruit depending on what I have on hand. Dr. Wahls promotes the use of berries, so this is my first choice. I've also been using up frozen fruit from our summer harvests, so sometimes add a few frozen pear slices, cherries, or frozen peaches. I also add other veggies based on what I have on hand. This is often a stalk of celery, a few baby carrots, and during the summer and fall also included fresh veggies from the garden: tomatoes, cucumber, etc.


If there is extra smoothie from breakfast (there usually is - that Vitamix container is huge!) I take that to work with me and drink it mid-morning. I also snack on dried fruit and nuts.


On a work day, I usually have vegetable soup (made much like my smoothies - a large variety of veggies and kale) or veggies, a rice/quinoa mix, and a few pieces of tofu (this is where I diverge from phase 3, the paelo part of her diet.) If I'm home, I might have a bowl of soup and a large salad.


This is my favorite meal, and I love to create a plate of food with lots of colors! I always try to have leftovers in the fridge, as it makes a quick dinner so much easier. I am really enjoying cooking, so I tend to cook several dishes at a time and then work through the leftovers. Dinner is usually about a third of a plate of salad (based on either baby spinach or a packaged spring mix), one other veggie dish, and a serving of greens (cooked kale or red chard.)

I also eat quinoa, and so my dinner plate might include a serving of that in place of one of the other things above.


This is the other area where I don't striclty follow the Wahls diet. She promotes giving up white sugar, and while I'm trying, I'm having a hard time with that. I still eat a bit of dark chocolate, I make tapioca pudding, and sometimes splurge on a vegan, gluten-free dessert I've found out and about.

I'll be sharing some favorite recipes as I continue to blog.

If you're interested in following the Wahls diet, I would encourage you to try to follow it as much as you can, and then to make modifications if you need to.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Major Change to My Diet

In July 2011 I started reading the book Minding My Mitochondria by Dr. Terry Wahls. At about the same time I had a visit with a new naturopath and we reviewed a food allergy test I had done the prior year. After that appointment I decided to make some major changes in my diet.

In mid-July I became a gluten-free vegan. I also cut out garlic as that was identified as a food allergy, as were eggs. I've added more veggies and greens to my diet.

I had tried to be gluten-free and dairy-free several times before, and while it wasn't really difficult, I didn't stick with it. This time has been different. There have been a handful of events I've attended where I've had bread, or cheese. However, for the most part, I'm following the eating plan from Minding My Mitochondria and the results have been amazing.

I've noticed the following:

* Increased energy and less fatigue
* Better digestion - less constipation
* Improved gait and balance
* Better mood
* Less confusion/cognitive "fog"
* Better memory

All this from food? Ok, in the interest of full disclosure, I started LDN (low-dose naltrexone) at about the same time as I changed my diet in July 2011. This makes it difficult to tell whether the improvements were from LDN or the new diet. I found that LDN isn't for me. I was having some side effects and stopped taking it in mid-October. What is interesting is that all of the improvements above have stayed with me! So, yes, I believe it is the food!

I don't follow the Wahls eating plan from Minding my Mitochondria 100%. Here is how I'm different:
As a vegetarian, and now vegan, I don't eat any animal products.
I add a bit of grain here and there. My new favorite blend is Bhutanese red rice and quinoa cooked in the rice cooker (thanks to the Seattle restaurant Thrive for that yummy discovery!)

Other than that, I eat a lot more veggies and greens. I make a smoothie each morning in my Vitamix, and always have kale and chard in the fridge.

This new way of eating is so easy for me, because I've noticed such distinct differences in my health, especially my energy level. If you've thought about changing your diet and are hesitant to do so, I encourage you to give it a try. Several weeks is enough time to see if you feel better by improving your diet. Give it a try!

(See the "Minding My Mitochondria" page for links to Dr. Wahls information)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

To the Kitchen!

This is a blog in transition. After a long break from blogging, I'm back with a new focus. I have decided to wait on getting treatment for CCSVI. I have also stopped the majority of my meds for MS.

In searching for ways to feel better and be healthy, I've discovered the book Minding My Mitochondria by Dr. Terry Wahls. I've adopted the healthy eating plan mentioned in the book, and have been pleasantly surprised at how much better I'm feeling.

I'm back in the kitchen cooking healthy meals, and am excited to share recipes, newly discovered foods (how have I lived 46 years without knowing about kale?) and the improvements I'm seeing in my health.