Saturday, June 28, 2014

Bulletproof Update

Today I skipped the blender but upgraded my coffee to a Columbian organic roast with a low mycotoxin profile. I used filtered water and simply whisked the butter and oil into the cup. It was better than yesterday's coffee, less time consuming and loud and the finished product was nice and hot. I've found my system.

I didn't think you'd want to see another photo of a cup of coffee, so I hope you enjoy this little Chinese longbean blossom.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Bulletproof Coffee

Have you heard of this trend? I don't know how I found it, but apparently this idea is pretty big in certain Paleo circles. The full story is here. Basically, a guy named Dave Asprey was hiking/climbing in Tibet and found himself completely depleted and dehydrated. A yak farmer took him in and gave him the traditional Tibetan drink of tea with yak butter. He was completely transformed. The hiker resolved to discover the science behind his rejuvenation. In short, he found that our bodies are starved for healthy fats -- medium chain triglycerides in particular. Absent a reputable source in this part of the world for yak butter, he advocates utilizing unsalted grass-fed butter along with MCT (medium chain triglyceride) oil, which is basically highly refined coconut oil. I'm not sure where the coffee idea came from, but I suspect it makes the most sense from a marketing standpoint in the United States. I may try it with tea at some point -- apparently the Tibetan hosts used our lowly Lipton teabags, so I can probably even elevate the quality of my faux yak butter tea from the original.

My morning routine is already time-consuming with sorting and swallowing supplements and administering my injections, so I wasn't crazy about the idea of adding more to it. Nevertheless, the notion of fixing my most vexing MS symptoms (cognitive fog and fatigue) with one frothy cup of joe was compelling. I was turned off a little bit by the weight-loss and fitness slant of Dave's website. I'm not interested in losing weight. The label on the MCT oil bottle is similarly off-putting, so I thought of using coconut oil, which my doctor already prescribes (a teaspoon twice a day) but I've found that raw coconut oil causes an allergic reaction for me -- an itchy, uncomfortable feeling in the throat, while cooked coconut oil is fine. The MCT oil, highly refined and delivering a higher dose of the beneficial triglycerides, didn't turn out to be allergenic. As a former vegan, consuming butter on purpose was a mental shift, but anything for health at this point.

Here are the ingredients in the blender. I may experiment with alternate blending ideas, maybe a shaker cup or even a whisk. This blending will not always go over very well with family members who'd rather sleep in. Also, soaping and scrubbing the Vitamix in the morning doesn't appeal. Finally, the cold butter and blending action create a less than piping hot drink. I popped it in the microwave after blending, which I'm sure negates some of the good I'm trying to do. But here's the final product:

It was lovely. I don't care for sweet coffee, so I enjoyed the bulletproof coffee just the way it was. I was surprised at the different coffee experience. Instead of a jolt followed by a crash, the coffee delivered a slow buzz which was gentler and longer lasting. The fats alter the delivery of the caffeine, apparently. While Dave's system is the result of much research and testing, it is out of my budget -- but there are less expensive ways to enjoy bulletproof coffee. Just do a little research.

The verdict so far: This may turn out to be a worthwhile addition to my healthcare regimen. Apparently results improve over a few weeks as we ramp up our healthy fats. The coffee is delicious and the immediate and lasting effects to the system are appealing. I'm going to have to tweak my routine with this. The whole blender in the morning may not be worth it. Maybe I won't mind drinking my coffee with a floating oil slick on top. Updates will follow.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Meatballs, Round Two + a Garden Update

This is an example of how I strive to stay within the Wahls Protocol guidelines but fall short (sometimes on purpose) nevertheless. I recently reprised my organic meatballs -- just meat and gobs of onion and Italian parsley formed into balls, cooked in a little coconut oil, drained and then bathed in an organic marinara. I added this last part for my husband's benefit, who'd rather have his meatballs with pasta and his burgers with buns. I gave him most of the sauce, but the bit that remained on my own meatballs was lovely. A simple, undressed salad of spinach and fresh dill and basil from my garden was a great accompaniment. The herbs took the place of dressing. So far so good with the Protocol.

But I decided I also wanted succotash. I had a couple of organic tomatoes, yellow squash and onions which I first sauteed in coconut oil, then lazily opened a couple of bags of frozen organics: corn and lima beans (non-Protocol). At the end, I stirred in more of the aforementioned garden herbs and drizzled a little olive oil. I'm sorry, I don't feel too guilty about craving succotash. What a delicious plateful!

My herbs are prolific, but we are well into 90+ degree weather in the deep south so they will surely go to seed any day now. I'll keep using them anyway, of course, but there is a noticeable change in flavor when this happens. My first priority now is to cut as much chard and kale as I can. Greens get much too bitter to serve the way I like them (barely cooked) after the hot temps. They will still be great in long-simmered dishes like soups, however.

A gardening note: last year I utilized companion planting to thwart would-be marauders, be they adorable and furry or slimy and creepy. I planted marigolds and onions around the perimeter and throughout my small plot. It worked like a charm. This year I tried to get by with the onions alone. Cute little inchworms (not as cute as the chipmunks, though) got to my kale. I understood this AFTER harvesting a big armful as they floated to the surface of the soaking bowl in the kitchen. I guess I've got to start wearing my glasses to the garden.  Ah, the adventures of aging.  The worms don't seem to like the chard -- maybe the oxalates in it are doing their job? Unfortunately I believe these little green squirmies will grow up to be the giant, juicy saber-tailed tomato worms that have decimated that crop in days of yore. See Ay Desnudos!  for the backstory. Maybe it's time to erect an arsenal of marigolds around the tomatoes.

Here are some garden shots including my munched-upon dino kale:

I planted four tiny cucumber plants and forgot what garden bullies they tend to be. I've gotten creative and have set up an additional trellis for them outside the garden fence. Every day I check to see where the cukes are going and correct their course if possible. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Good Morning, Sunshine

You've seen the likes of this before, but it was so fast, easy and delicious that I had to share. Also, I think the photo is compelling. This is simply two organic eggs fried in coconut oil with organic tomatoes and spinach, salt and pepper. It took no more time to throw together than a bowl of cereal would have. What a way to start the day!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Lamb Chops with Lemon

I have misty memories of the days of lamb and mint jelly, which I did enjoy as a child. It seemed back then that was the only way to serve lamb. I can't imagine using that much sugar now.

Still striving for only organic meats, I made use of these little organic gems last night. I marinated them in lemon juice and thyme from my garden for about an hour and then quickly fried them in coconut oil for 3 minutes per side. There were three of them and just one was the perfect amount for me. at 1.5" thick, this chop was smaller than my fist. Veggies made up the rest of my plateful: a melange of onion, celery and mushrooms and simply steamed asparagus. Everything was delicious.This was about as close to perfect for a Wahls Protocol meal as I will likely get. I felt well-fed and calm from this meal. I look forward to eating the remaining chop for lunch.