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Archive for April 2014: Page 2

Pineapple salsa

This salsa is awesome. It combines tangy pineapple with flavorful herbs and spicy jalapenos to give it a really special kick. I’ve used it on tortillas for tacos, as a companion to chips, and even as a marinade for tempeh and veggies before grilling. This recipe makes a TON of salsa, so feel free to half it if you are more moderate in your condiment consumption.

pineapple salsa ingredients

Pineapple salsa
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Recipe type: Vegan, gluten free, paleo
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 10 roma tomatoes
  • ½ red onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 jalapeno
  • ¾ cup fresh mint
  • 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon pepper
  • 1 generous lime squeeze
  • ¾ cup cilantro
  • 4 cups fresh cut pineapple
Instructions
  1. Chop all ingredients roughly
  2. Pour all ingredients into a blender (I used a vitamix, which works well for pulverizing the pineapple, but probably any blender will be fine!)
  3. Blend to your liking (some may prefer to "pulse" their blender for a chunkier spread, but I pureed mine to keep it smooth. It is really up to you!)

pineapple salsa from superstrength health

Saturday Reading #4

Ahhhhh, the weekend.

This week was my first back to teaching after my spring break and OH DAMN is teaching a shot to the ass. My students have boundless energy and present me with endless ideas and challenges. It’s either thrilling or terrifying depending on how you choose to look at it. (I think I’ll go with thrilling) and let’s just say I am a litttttle tired. I have six more weeks in the school year left and then an entire summer to focus on Super Strength Health, but until then I’m going double duty as a teacher and a health coach. It is exhausting and fulfilling and keeps me on my toes.

What I’m trying to say here is, I am incredibly happy to have a bit of time and space to just peruse the Internet at my leisure and share what I find with you. This week we have an incredible soup recipe, a playlist, information about a beautiful new show opening in NYC, a comic, and last but not least, a wallop of an article that is beautifully written and full of unadulterated raw tough love.

The project of linking you, dear readers, to amazing women and queers of the web has been incredibly joyful for me, something that has opened my eyes to all sorts of wonderful things. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity, and happy reading!

1) Corn and cauliflower soup with avocados and tomatoes from Emily at This Rawsome Vegan Life.
soup

This week Emily of This Rawsome Vegan Life has been on a liquid cleanse with her partner, and she is doing us a solid by detailing her feasts in excellent detail. I am extremely weary of liquid cleanses (it seems to me that “detoxing” is often just code for “lose weight very quickly”) but this one seems good to me in terms of sustenance and calorie intake. (Emily is drinking juices, nut milks, green smoothies and pureed soups in an effort to give her digestion a break, which I can understand as a person who has suffered from gut problems. It appears that she is getting adequate calories while doing this, while some cleanses I see seem like not enough. I’m just a person on the internet with no idea about anyone’s DNA or activity level, so who am I too judge, but I dunno….my something’s-not-quite-right senses tingle a lot of the time when I see liquid cleanses) ANYWAY, off my soap box and back to the soup.

This post contains many recipes, but the corn and cauliflower soup with avocados and tomatoes really blew my mind. I made it to share with my partner, who has had an intense dental time this month and basically going on a non-voluntary liquid cleanse of his own. The recipe is extremely simple, and contains no oil or salt and literally bursts with flavor. I enjoyed mine with some grilled tempeh and olives for garnish it was filling, satisfying and delicious. I highly recommend you make it.

2) Cover Me playlist from Rookie Magazine

playlist

Each Friday Night Rookie Magazine releases a playlist for it’s readers and I LOVE THEM. This one is from a few months back and is exclusively new covers of old songs.

Rookie says: “The best cover songs tell you something you didn’t know. They surprise you, and make you see the original song in a new way. In some cases, like Fiona’s version of “Across the Universe,” they make it impossible to listen to the original ever again.” That’s quite a statement, eh? Give the playlist a listen and you be the judge.

3) Split and Growing- an art show opening at Bureau of General Services- Queer Division at 83A Hester St., New york, New York.

split

I have known Ketch for quite some time (6 years? 7 years?) and it has been amazing to watch him grow as an artist as we age. His latest show (Which opens TOMORROW, my dudes, and hangs until May 25th!) is a departure from his previous work that I have seen, in the way that it is significantly more personal and vulnerable.

Here is the gallery’s description: “Split + Growing is a new, highly personal exhibit of work from transfeminist painter and illustrator Ketch Wehr. Primarily illustrative gouache paintings, Wehr’s show explores his personal understanding of his gender and queerness from an early age through the lens of synesthesia. Synesthesia is a condition which, in his case, lends colors and flavors to all letters and words. Split + Growing is the visual display of an evolving queer selfhood through the colors Wehr knew to be part of his identity before he had the words to describe it.”

The first time I read the description I teared up. As my friends and I hang out in our thirties we are starting to positively KILL IT with our creativity, our output and our inspiring vulnerability. If you are in New York please go to the opening and enjoy it a little extra for me.

4) Fat is Not a Feeling by Corinne Mucha

fat is not a feeling

In the past I often found myself attributing exhaustion, anger, sadness, discomfort, and even intense excitement to feeling “fat”. This adorable comic calls out the incredibly obvious fact that fat is not a feeling, and furthermore, it asks you to give your mental real estate up to more important things.

Corinne writes: “fat”  is a sensation of monitoring how much space you take up, and then judging it. We equate judgment with virtue. As long as we are monitoring our bodies we are being “good”.

HOLY SHIT, DID THAT LITTLE CARTOON JUST DROP A BRAIN BOMB. It is not as if hating our bodies makes us better, stronger, faster, wiser, kinder, or more effective in the world. Hating our body mires us in fear, keeps us trapped, ties us to a beauty ideal that we did not choose and isn’t in our best interest.

And with that I bring you……

5) Empty Bellies Do Not Beget Genius by Gala Darling

ps-babes-545-1024x682

Gala Darling a fashion blogger who talks candidly about her eating disorder recovery, feminism and radical self love. What the whaaaaat? Fashion blogger AND radical!? I love this combination. This article is hard-hitting in it’s frankness, made me smile and laugh and cry a little and cheer.

A quote: “A hungry girl is an ineffectual girl. A hungry girl is a girl sapped of energy, strength, life-force. A hungry girl can’t achieve anything, fix anything, come up with a bold, brave solution. Choosing to go hungry is a way of subjugating your own strength, your own power. It is a way of making yourself small & useless. It is asking someone else to take care of you. It is about giving up, giving in.”

WOW. That encapsulates so much of my mission as a health coach in one paragraph. It is also said extremely eloquently, and Gala looked absolutely incredible as she typed it, I’m sure. Read this woman’s work! Watch her Ted Talk! Buy her programs on blogging, business and radical self love! I am so freaking inspired right now that I cant! Stop! Using! Exclamation points!

Sorry, enthusiasm overload. These link lists really do it for me, you guys. I just can’t help myself. See you next week!

How to heal your guts.

How to heal your guts from superstrength health

Hi everybody! I’m Dr. Davis!*

I was sick to my stomach for most of my life, and recently, through a series of methods, I have mostly healed myself. I want to tell you all about it.

First there was chronic illness. As a child, through puberty, before I went vegan, after I went vegan.  I had a brief reprieve from stomach pain when I gave up gluten, but then it returned. My stomach hurt before I struggled with eating disorder behaviors, had a moment of peace when I basically wasn’t eating at all and then got much, much worse in the process of my recovery.

When I say my stomach was sick I mean this: Sometimes it was so tender and bloated that I couldn’t leave the house. I struggled with intense gassiness and literally every single thing I ate seemed to make it worse. I would grow exhausted from dealing with chronic pain and simply want to sleep. I never felt like having sex because I felt like the least sexy person ever.  My belly was so distended that people constantly asked me if I was pregnant. Sometimes my poop would be liquid for months, sometimes I couldn’t go at all.

I went to the doctor. First a primary care physician, then a specialist. I had test after test after test and they all came back negative.

“IBS!” they said. “Just a little IBS!”

“How do I fix that?” I asked

They just shrugged in response and suggested regular use of Pepto Bismol.

I did not agree that that could possibly be a long term answer.

I beat myself up terribly for my stomach, cried, felt ashamed and embarrassed. I tried eliminating so many different foods to fix it that I lost count.

I went to acupuncture, they needled my abdomen and gave me herbs. Both were great for a spell of time, but then my pocketbook told me that wasn’t a good answer for the long term. Acupuncture is amazing and incredible and very expensive unless you want to be in a room full of multiple people getting work done at the same time, which is not for me. I needed my healing to be private.

When the Paleo diet first hit the scenes and claimed to fix “leaky gut” I was all over it, because the symptoms sounded exactly like what I had. I was not willing to eat meat for ethical reasons, but I did add pasture raised eggs to my meals and did my best approximation of a bean free/grain free lifestyle.

It did not help long term, and for me, it didn’t feel balanced.  I knew in my heart that I felt best mentally on a vegan diet and that the only sustainable cure for my gut health was going to have to be plant based.

I have experimented with every single suggestion under the sun for the past year, as long as the suggestion was vegan and inexpensive enough for me to afford on a teacher budget. I don’t always do every single one of these things, but when I remember to, the culture of my stomach drastically changes, which feels like a complete miracle. I write this for you as a working list (Please feel free to add suggestions!) in hopes that if you live with chronic stomach pain, we can work miracles for you too.

So, here we go.

Soak beans and grains, sprout them, and simmer them with kombu: After my Paleo vegetarian stint I cannot tell you how much I loved adding in both grains and beans to my diet.  It is IMPERATIVE for me to make these things at home (especially beans) because your run-of-the-mill restaurant prep of these foods makes me feel totally sick. I soak, rinse, sprout, rinse, simmer in a crockpot or rice cooker with a seaweed called Kombu, scoop off the white frothy stuff that comes up when they first start to cook (for beans), and wait to add salt until the end of cooking. My bean and grain prep is rigorous and it is extremely helpful in terms of digestion.

Probiotics: These little dudes can be expensive and sometimes aren’t vegan, which is a drag. But! I found out the ones at Trader Joe’s are very wallet friendly and don’t contain animal products. They are shelf stable (I don’t need to keep them in the fridge) and useful if I have an IBS attack.  I tend to pop ‘em whether or not I’m feeling sick for preventative measure too.

Digestive enzymes: I take one or two of these before meals in times when my stomach is not doing so hot, but these days I mostly don’t need them. I keep them in my arsenal for when I eat food that is spicy, beany, or rich. In general restaurant foods don’t sit that awesomely with me, and I don’t want to live a life without restaurants. Enzymes help.

If you can’t poop or you have diarrhea: One cup unsweetened almond milk, 1-2 tablespoon chia seeds, 2-3 tablespoons gluten free oats, ¼ cup blueberries. Shake up and let sit for 2 hours-overnight. Gobble up (it tastes awesome) and you will have the bowel movement of a lifetime within 12 hours. Works every time.

Blend your raw fruits and vegetables: Salads SOMETIMES work for me, on a really good day with no stomach pain, if I chew slowly, and take a digestive enzyme beforehand. Sometimes I don’t want to chew my greens sixty million times and I still want the nutritional benefits. The answer is my Vitamix. Raw soups and smoothies for the win.

Eat a varied diet: I tried eliminating many things in an effort to fix my guts. I was already vegan, then added eggs, then went vegan again.  I gave up gluten, processed soy, apples/pears with the skins on, beans, grains, peanuts, bananas, cauliflower and broccoli, nightshade vegetables, and who knows what else, all at different times. Every time I gave something up, I had a week or two of good digestion, and then something would mess it all up again.  It felt like I was getting new intolerances every day and like I would soon not be able to eat a damn thing.

I am a creature of habit. I go through long periods of eating the same foods every single day. As my diet got more and more particular the chances that I would have little variation only increased. Here’s the thing: my stomach gets irritated with too much of whatever. If I am not rotating my food, the gut gets all “what the hell is this shit, kale salad AGAIN?” and gets angry at me. Rotate your foods. I don’t know why it works, but for me, it really really does.

Lessen coffee consumption: When I started nutrition school and found an audio lecture about IBS, I gobbled it up. FINALLY! I thought. Someone gives enough of a shit about IBS to spend some time talking about it!  Within five minutes of that lecture my enthusiasm waned. The lecturer said the very first thing to do, the thing you should do if nothing else, is eliminate coffee and other forms of caffeine to reduce IBS suffering. At the time I heard this, I was drinking roughly 32 oz. of coffee per day (We all have our vices!) and couldn’t imagine my life without it.

Because I have been working on ditching all-or-nothing/black-or-white thinking I decided I would just lesson my caffeine. I am now having about 8 oz. of coffee in the morning and maybe a cup of green tea later in the afternoon if I need it. Let me tell you, you don’t need to quit coffee to feel the gut benefits of lowering caffeine. My switch has been a game changer.

Chew and eat slowly: I have always eaten my food quickly, and once I experienced an eating disorder, it got worse. It’s like my body got so used to famine that when food was in front of me I felt like I had to eat it as quickly as humanly possible. NOT COOL, especially when you eat a lot of fiber like I do. The solution is totally to chew, and I try to put my fork down between bites as a reminder. Some people say chew each bite 50 times, but I think a chill 15-25 is more my speed.

Manage stress: The first thing I do when I’m stressed out is fart. THERE, I SAID IT. In order to deal with my life of projects, jobs, interpersonal relationships, and productivity, I need to chill once in awhile. I’m talking meditation (which I prefer to do while taking walks, sue me!), deep breaths, setting daily goals and intentions so as not to get overwhelmed, exercise, stretching, and taking time to make gratitude lists.

For so long, I sorta knew about most of this stuff, but just simply didn’t want to put in the energy to do it, because it pissed me off that being vegan and gluten free wasn’t enough. Since I decided to become rigorous about the healing of my gut, the quality of my life has improved tenfold. I AM WORTH IT, PEOPLE and I’m sure as hell that you are too. If your guts have been the source of a lot of trauma in your life, I highly encourage you to do all of the above. Little changes have made a huge difference for me.

What do you other stomach sensitive people do to keep your guts in check?

*Disclaimer, I am in no way, shape, or form a Doctor. Also DUH, that image is from The Simpsons, and not drawn by me.