Healing My Broken Body After a Traumatic Injury

Traumatic Injury  You can never anticipate a traumatic injury.

Nevertheless, days before Christmas, on a -16°F day in Yellowstone Park, traumatic injury became my reality.

Suddenly, I’m on my back on the ice and snow-covered ground. The 700-pound snowmobile I’d ridden all day was now resting on top of my 125-pound frame. As it was pulled off me, I opened my eyes to find a circle of people peering down at me—all with a similar “Oh @#$!” expressions of on their faces.  Continue reading

The G & T Healer: Ginger Turmeric Medicinal Tea

Ginger Turmeric Medicinal Tea

Got inflammation, aches, and pains? A few weeks with this drink and you may understand why I fondly call this drink the Ginger Turmeric Healer. G & T for short. Not that kind. 

I’m not being coy calling this ginger turmeric drink a healer. In fact, after serving this up daily during a two-week stay with relatives, they both noticed relief from their daily arthritis-related aches and pains. To quote them “It doesn’t hurt anymore to walk the dogs” and “When I get up in the morning, the pain of putting my socks and shoes on is gone.” This drink also helped me dramatically following a recent traumatic injury, a story for another day. So, for anyone trying to avoid inflammation-related aches and pains, this drink is for you. Continue reading

No-Recipe Spaghetti Squash Dishes

The stringy flesh of spaghetti squash resembles traditional pasta in appearance. But, does it taste like spaghetti? Does it have that unique ‘toothiness’ of an al dente pasta? Of course not. But, with about one-fourth the calories and carbohydrates of traditional wheat pasta, it can be a very satisfying, grain-free alternative —and a novel, creative way to enjoy a carotenoid and antioxidant-rich meal.  And, like regular ‘noodles’ the spaghetti squash pulp is like a naked canvas for flavorings. Almost anything goes. Check out these 4 tips for making delicious spaghetti squash dishes and 5 ideas to get you started!

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

Just like preparing traditional pasta, the process can be as free-form and improvisational as you want. No recipes needed. In fact, think ‘Operation Fridge Clear Out’. Cooking spaghetti squash is as easy as making regular spaghetti noodles. But, you just need to allow for longer cooking time, about 40 minutes at 375° F, either whole or cut in two. (For step-by-step instructions, see above link.)

Spaghetti Squash with OilSpaghetti Squash Strands4 TIPS TO DELICIOUS SPAGHETTI SQUASH DISHES

  • Preparation: drain off excess water. For the best and most pasta-like  results, place the strands in a strainer and press out as much excess water as you can. This step is optional. But, it’s worth the effort, especially if you are cooking the squash ahead of time and/or are not using a fat-based sauce, such as a marinara.
  • Dressing: go fat! Due to the high water content of spaghetti squash, I prefer fat-based sauces. Healthy fats in moderation will help modulate the blood sugar response and increase satiety as will adding in some protein. Or, indulge with a little browned butter. Try these!
  • Seasoning: go bold! Like regular pasta noodles, spaghetti squash provides is a neutral vehicle for any variety of flavors. But, unlike regular pasta noodles, the spaghetti squash pulp won’t absorb the sauce and its flavors very well. And, these noodles don’t have much flavor of their own other than a slightly sweet earthiness. So, go a bit more bold with your seasoning than you might with regular pasta.
    Try these seasonings!

    • Basil, cilantro, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme
    • Black pepper, Cinnamon, chili flakes, nutmeg
    • Garlic, onions, scallions
    • Soy sauce or shoyu
    • Tomatoes (sun-dried or paste)
  • Add contrasting textures. Fold different textures into the strands and on top of the dish. These variations in texture gives makes the dish chewy similar to al dente pasta. Try these additions and toppings!
    • sautéed mushrooms
    • Toasted, chopped nuts, such as hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios, walnuts
    • Bread crumbs or panko (regular or gluten-free).
    • Beans, such as adzuki, black, garbanzo or kidney
    • Cheese, such as mozzarella, parmesan or Gruyère

Cacio Y Pepe Spaghetti SquashCacio y Pepe-Inspired Spaghetti Squash

Base: Olive oil and garlic
Seasonings: A generous amount of fresh ground black pepper and sea salt
Additions: sautéed onions and shiitake mushrooms, roasted and shopped walnuts
Garnish: Italian parsley and basil

Spaghetti squash with mushrooms

Spaghetti Squash with Cinnamon-Nutmeg Vegan Cream Sauce and Nuts

Base: Cashew cream sauce
Seasonings: Cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper and sea salt
Additions: sautéed onions and shiitake mushrooms, toasted and chopped walnuts.
Garnish: Italian parsley

Spaghetti Squash with Indian Sauce

Indian-Inspired Spaghetti Squash

Base: Store-bought Indian simmer sauce (Maya Kaimal brand)
Additions: Garbanzo beans
Garnish: Cilantro or Thai Basil

Spaghetti Squash with Sun Dried Tomatoes

Southern Italy-Inspired Spaghetti Squash

Base: Olive oil, garlic and tomato paste
Seasonings: Red chili pepper flakes, black pepper and sea salt
Additions: sautéed onions, chopped or pureed sun-dried tomatoes
Garnish: Italian parsley or Basil

Spaghetti Squash with Pesto

Spaghetti Squash Tossed with Avocado Pesto and Kale

Base: Vegan avocado pesto
Seasonings: Lemon, garlic, black pepper and sea salt
Additions: Wilted kale
Garnish: Basil and roasted, chopped pecans

REFERENCES:

  • USDA National Nutrient Database
  • Page, Karen. The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York: Little Brown and Company, 2014.

How do you like to prepare spaghetti squash? Share a tip! Leave a comment below.

 

Turmeric Tahini Anti-Inflammation Dressing

Turmeric Tahini Dressing

This versatile dressing makes it easy to bring turmeric into your daily cooking. Pour it over cooked fish, grain bowls, soba noodles and vegetables. And with anti-inflammatory ginger, probiotic-containing miso and alkalizing sesame in tahini, this dressing will boost the health quotient of almost any meal!

Continue reading

How to Make Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Cubes

Turmeric Anti-Inflammation Cubes

Why do I make turmeric cubes —and will probably never again put turmeric root through a juicer again? Well, let’s go back to Juicing Vs Blending. The Plot Thickens. In this post I remarked that plant fiber is a much more interesting character than we realized. More than simply roughage or a bulking agent, fiber is a carrier for the free radical-quenching polyphenols found in many fruits, vegetables and other plants.

However, most plant polyphenols are fused to the plant fiber and can not be extracted [1,2]. So, if consumed as a whole plant or blended, the polyphenols travel through the digestive tract, then into the colon, where they are digested by friendly flora, producing short chain fatty acids (acetate, propionate, and butyrate) [3,4]. These short chain fatty acids deliver many health benefits, from anticarcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties to inhibiting the growth of bad bacteria and increasing mineral absorption. Some also serve as a major fuel for the cells that line the colon [5,6,7]. But, juice those same fruits or vegetables and most of these valuable polyphenol compounds are removed with the fiber. Lose the fiber. Lose the polyphenols. Continue reading

3 Ways to Get the Most From Turmeric

Turmeric Anti-Inflammation DrinkUsed for centuries in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, the healing powers of turmeric have now gained mainstream awareness. Turmeric and curcumin, the most active constituent of the spice, have been the subject of thousands of studies, revealing the following: Continue reading