Thursday, December 20, 2012

'Tis The Season: Nutritarian Baked Apples!

Nom nom anyone?


Oh my goodness gracious how I have neglected this poor blog! Gah! Ok, this is going to be a quickie but I thought I should post this absolutely amazing treat we have been making this season with fresh local apples straight from the farm, using hand made (not by me haha) ceramic apple bakers from the same farm. This recipe is the epitome of easy. But it gets better! It is delicious, I think we have established that, but did I tell you it does double duty as the most amazing holiday air freshener in history? Ok, maybe I am making pretty big claims here, but it is incredible, and with that, here is the recipe. I could have sworn I already posted this! What on Earth happened? My blog got eaten!?

DS and I at the farm goofing off!

Exhibit A: Big Juicy Apples.


So, you take some big juicy apples. My favorite are Tango apples. They are so crisp! We're going to bake all that crisp right out of 'em, so I don't know why I still insist on using them when I could use something else and not feel like I am sacrificing their goodness but oh well! Sometimes we just make due with what we happen to have when the mood strikes! Onward. Take those apples, wash and core them, and put them in the apple baker, top side up. The apple baker has a ceramic rod that goes through the middle of the apple's core and bakes it from within as well as out, and a little moat to catch all the juices and reduce them into a delectable glaze. If you do it right, which means not getting impatient like I tend to, you will end up with an apple as smooth and velvety as butter! It's incredible! The skin transforms into something unbelievably beautiful and unappley, lol, and it just screams decadence! Don't tell your friends it's not! Or, perhaps just wait until they are done and begging for another. Nutritarian desserts can be delicious! I am finding the longer I am a Nutritarian the more I crave simple flavors. Clean. Classic. Unfussy.



So, take that apple. Stick it on the baker. Wait, I lied! Take it off *snickering* Add two tablespoons of water to the bottom moat, cinnamon to taste and 1/2 tsp or so of vanilla. Aww why not go for the hard stuff too and sprinkle on allspice, clove and nutmeg, too while you're at it! Spices make the nutritarian world go round!



Now put that apple back, and, hey why not add more cinnamon? I do! Spice it up baby!! Stuff some raisins in the little space at the top, and some chopped nuts if you so desire (I don't) and they are ready to go. Without covering, put onto a baking sheet, and into a 350F oven for about 1.5-2 hours or until the skin looks incredible, translucent and the apple is soft like butter. The house will smell divine (you're welcome!) and truly, I don't think there is a way to over cook these unless you don't add water, so just relax and get to it whenever you want. Sometimes, being a Mom gets in the way of my best laid plans and it sits another hour in there after I turn it off. Oh well! That's life, and it's still delicious! My Husband couldn't believe these were nutritarian. We each had one at dinner one night and trust me, plates were cleaned (and even licked).



If you don't want to serve it in a bowl or plated, they also look adorable sliced in neat wedges and drizzled with the glaze that ends up in the moat! Om Nom! PS I guess I didn't drizzle this pic with glaze. Ooops! Imagine it for me? Pretty please? Now I release you! Go and make baked apples tonight and delight that you too can have you cake and eat it too, truly, with the Nutritarian lifestyle.


Happy Holidays!

~Jemoiselle

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Brain and Appetite Control

The Brain and Appetite Control: Can Satiety and Weight Loss Coexist?

I posted this in a Facebook group this morning, and then thought to myself "That is Blissful Nutritarian material if I've ever seen it!" and here I am! I know most of us who consider ourselves "Nutritarian" already enjoy the fruits of this explanation, but for those wondering why we do what we do, listen up! I'm about to divulge the big secret! It's easy to get to your ideal weight if you just give your body what it needs to manage your weight itself, like a good little critter! :D Yes, I just used a smiley face. This is MY blog! Deal with it! Nope, not a professional blogger, but if there were a profession for losing weight, I'd have the Ph.D! Weight used to be such a mystery to me, and now, it's just a matter of simple cause and effect. As easy and logical as going to bed on time to feel rested in the morning (yeah, right. It's 11:31pm right now. We all know how that goes!) but seriously, weight is not a mystery. It isn't even about calories. It's about getting out of your own stinking way and letting your body do it's thing without "micromanager you" sabotaging it's efforts!



I want to share something I learned via Eat to Live and my subsequent classes at Cornell University's "Plant Based Nutrition" Series (based on Dr. Campbell's work in The China Study) about our hunger drive and satiety trigger. 

Have you ever noticed how sometimes we can eat a bag full of <insert evil but deceptively delicious food here> and even though we're stuffed, feel the drive to keep eating or searching for more snacks until we feel awful? Why is it, that sometimes, it feels like no matter how much we eat we are never satisfied? A common answer to this question is boredom, emotional eating habits etc, addictive food (I agree) but today I propose we search deeper, to the very root of it all. Ready? 

It simply boils down to how the stomach works in tandem with the brain, and how our modern world gets in the way of our own body's ability to independently manage our weight for us. The stomach has stretch receptors (sensors) for bulk to determine how much we have eaten, in addition to micronutrient/phytonutrient receptors to determine the nutrients we've consumed and if they are adequate for our needs. These sensors send signals to the brain, which then sends signals to us asking for more food (simply speaking) or if needs are met, sending a message of satiation, a chemical release, a reward if you will for a job well done. 

If we eat a bunch of junk, our nutrient sensors detect the bulk has not met our nutrient needs, and ask us to find more food to fill the nutrient deficit. It is a rather unnatural phenomenon for the body when you get right down to it, as in the natural world where we would be eating whole foods ideally, bulk (fiber) and nutrients are rarely found without the other. This explains why we eat beyond our capacity and feel out of control, unsatisfied and over-stuffed, swearing we won't do it again. Of course, there are always the other factors at play as mentioned earlier (boredom, emotional response etc) but in the end, it all boils down to the foundation of what our body needs (we eat to survive) and what we put into it merely pointing us towards one of two paths: natural functioning (subconscious weight management like we see in the animal kingdom, ex. ever seen an obese Zebra on the Sahara?) and unnatural dysfunction induced by eating what amounts to synthetic food.

When we make certain to provide our bodies with an adequate abundance of fresh whole foods, I don't care if you're a vegan or a meat eater alike, your body will be more capable of taking good care of itself. Further, eating primarily whole foods grants you the gift of living without having to worry about maintaining a certain weight (equivalent to your consumption of whole foods, mind you) or  having to suffer through dieting (calorie restriction, atkins, blood type, you name it) etc. Hey, we all need food, and we all need FRESH, real food. It's so easy. No matter what plan you fancy though, even if it is restriction or protein shakes (that's another talk, just keeping the peace, I do NOT advocate synthetic food!!) I think we can all agree, we could all use more fresh produce, fruits, nuts and seeds in our lives! As you can see, it will only further to help you achieve your ultimate goal of being healthy, happy, and free to worry about more exciting things like where to bike today, instead of which pants don't make you look fat :D Because let's face it, biking looks way hotter in spandex that fit! hehehehehe

FOOD FOR THOUGHT! Hope you've enjoyed, have a great day everyone! 

~Jemoiselle

REFERENCES: 
1. Eat to Live, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, pages 26-27 Nutrients and Caloric Drive. 
2. International Journal of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders 17 (7): 409-16; Blundell, J.E., and J.C. Halford 1994. Regulation of Nutrient Supply: The brain and appetite control. (one of Dr. Fuhrman's references from the above pages in Eat to Live)

Monday, April 30, 2012

Food For Thought: The Big Dilemma


Let's get real, shall we?

Quite often, one thing holds me back mentally as I enjoy this lifestyle (and great health) for my third year. That is, being a prior "foodie" who thought life was dull without the bounty of samplings from different cultures, cuisines, culinary artistry, etc being "experienced" throughout one's life, I always wonder if someday I will regret my decision. Not that I think I will now, but I am not so naive that I think I know what I will think about someday, as my life is coming to an end, and I reflect upon it and realize that special feeling that so many of their death beds do about what made life memorable, rich. In the past, I have had thoughts (more like nightmares) about awakening in Heaven, and finding myself asked by an angel engaged in conversation, what food I enjoyed the most, reminiscing about all the delicacies and experiences of life. I imagined myself stuttering, unable to spit it out, that I had shunned all the culinary pleasures life had to offer for fear of "getting fat" or (gasp) dying of cancer or otherwise, just dying. Clinging to life, forsaking life itself for the sake of being alive. You might say "But Jemoiselle, I don't equate life to food, life is about living, running, jumping, laughing!" To that I would say you haven't lived in the head of a foodie, my friend. Correct, in that yes, there are great joys to be had other than eating, but some of us really do have a passion for food, look at the greatest chefs and sugar artists in the world with a passion for what they do that makes them famous for all time? Julia Childs? People who dedicate their lives to enjoying fine wines, and trying to taste all of them! LOL Try telling them to give up their passion and learn to love the outdoors instead! It is in their blood! Much, much, MUCH easier said than done. So what do I do, but attempt to do exactly that. Not that I am any Julia, but I made beautiful cakes. I made chocolates, all kinds of breads, and I aspired to master them before my time was up. When I gave all that up, basically, my entire world of passion, I had to seriously analyze what I was doing and figure out what made my decision the right one for me, one I could live with should I get run over by a car tomorrow and die young anyways, having just skipped that donut that beckoned to me a few minutes earlier, because I was afraid of dying fat or diseased LOL. 

I really don't take anything lightly, do I? Nope. This morning, something came to me. It came out of nowhere, but stopped me dead in my tracks this morning and just made sense. It finally answered my question, once and for all. Of course, if you aren't a person of faith, this might mean very little to you. But for me, it was my much needed answer to that pesky knat of regret that every now and then buzzes around my psyche refusing to just go away already! Are you ready? Here it is:

Would God want me to enjoy a food or beverage that brings me temporary pleasure but slowly kills me? Would the temporary pleasure in experiencing it be enough for God to say "Do it! Gamble! Life is too short NOT to enjoy the finest life has to offer!" Does God condone gambling on anything, especially our own health and life? Would He say life is too short to NOT gamble on our health for the sake of drug induced pleasures, or would He encourage us to rather seek meaningful pleasure in life or yourself if you feel the need for more richness? Is our pursuit of gustatory pleasure for a gourmet life somehow subconsciously an attempt to make up for a lack of real substance in our daily interactions with each other? A symptom of something missing? Does the food, much like booze to an alcoholic, merely patch up our pain until our next fix? 

Now, I realize I cannot speak for God. I also realize not everyone feels they answer to Him, and thus, will not understand the significance of this and it will go right over their heads. That is fine! This was meant specifically for me, all I am doing is sharing it. If it doesn't pertain to you, no biggie. Each of us is different, what causes one to stumble might be perceived as healthy to another. I am not trying to convince anyone to change their belief systems nor sway those not interested in a whole food plant based lifestyle to change. I am hoping that someone else out there, someone like me, will find this, find it makes sense for them and finally have their answer to the pesky "quality of life" dilemma once and for all, too. In the beginning of the Nutritarian journey, most people are focused on weight loss. The thing is, this lifestyle is so effective for that, that soon your motivation for weight loss will vanish, as you will be at your ideal weight and will have the body you always dreamed of having. What then? Once you are that elusive size 2, healthy and just maintaining, your motivations WILL shift and have to evolve with you. Unless you can surround yourself in others like you, you will have to find a way to cement yourself into your position, and remind yourself of it constantly. That is me. I live in a foreign country, nobody eats like I do, not even my Husband, temptation and people who think I am insane and extreme are everywhere I look. I am not fooled though. I use these times to strengthen my resolve, a nutritarian metamorphosis of sorts, where I reaffirm and evolve. 

I am going to adapt a phrase commonly used by financial guru Dave Ramsey to suit the Nutritarian lifestyle:
"If you want to live like no one else later, you have to live like no one else today!" Where "nobody else" is the general overweight and addicted/diseased population, and where living like nobody else means not eating what they eat, making the sacrifices necessary to become free of addictive foods, substances and drugs! You have to experience the whole package to know what it means to be addiction free. If you don't think S.A.D food is addictive, you clearly have not given it up yet.

That's all for now,
Jemoiselle