Austin Nutritional Therapy
Elaine DiRico, BA, NTP, FDN
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Lentil Soup


  Soup weather came early this year.  While I love a good cold soup, there is nothing as satisfying as a fine bean soup on a brisk day.   This one is a favorite in my family.  If you plan ahead a little, you can sprout the lentils, which makes them both more nutritious and gentler on the tummy. 
  Soak 1 cup of lentils (any kind, but I favor the green French lentils, aka le puy which are especially cheap at Asian and Indian markets) overnight.  I add a squirt of liquid minerals (Now Foods Colloidal Minerals is a good one at a good price and available through Amazon) to the soak water which boosts the nutrition even more.  The next morning, rinse them and drain well in a colander, and rinse/drain every few hours until a tiny white root appears.  Depending on the freshness of the lentils, this can be in a few hours, or as much as two days. 
  Heat some olive oil in your heaviest large pot.  Dice 4-5 carrots, a large red onion and 4 stalks of celery, and if you like, some squash, like butternut or pumpkin.  You want the winter varieties with a hard rind, not the soft summer yellow squash or zucchini.  Add to the oil over medium heat and stir once in a while- you want some browning but the sweet root vegetables burn easily.  When the onions start to turn golden, add several cloves of sliced garlic, and stir in.  When you can smell the garlic cooking, add your sprouted lentils and a quart of water or stock.  Cover and let simmer over low heat until the lentils are softened.  Add a half cup of dry vermouth if you are that kind of person, and I am.  Taste and add herbs of your choice.  I like thyme and a lot of freshly ground black pepper.  Salt to taste.  If you are a carnivore (guilty) a lovely grilled and sliced sausage is nice.  Fresh parmesan cheese and a good glug of olive oil are also lovely…

Empowerment - August 7, 2013
  Our modern food system presents a problem.  It is not just the food, but our emotional involvement with food that makes it so challenging.  But as the adage goes, recognizing the problem is half the battle.  Clearly seeing how we have been trained to choose our food can open the door to healing and reconnection with our bodies’ innate nutritional wisdom.
  Our first loving connection in life is food.  If we survive to adulthood, someone has loved us and fed us.  At a very young age, we are “hardwired” to equate food with love.  For millennia, we had a necessary connection to the earth and the seasonal triggers, and we were able to feel the earth loving us.  The food=love connection is profound and primordial..
 In the last fifty years, our food has been high jacked, but our deep intuition that food is love remains.  Our food is now supplied by corporations, and they do not care about us.  We are pawns for the Big Farms and the Big Pharms who are enriching themselves with our unhealthiness.   This is a marketing strategy.  Feeding people nutritionally-bereft food makes them feel bad and therefore willing to buy anything, take anything, to feel better.  The addictive attributes of tweaked food completes a dream of a sales plan. Here is the intersection of the drug industry with the food industry.
 So…  Can we say “dysfunctional”?  The love that we received as children and the original hardwiring of food-equals-love is transferred in the form of love/loyalty to corporations like Nabisco, KFC, and Smithfield Foods.  And they are not our friends.  In fact, they can be compared to parents in our dysfunctional family analogy.
  What do we do as adults, if we are healthy, to deal with an abusive parent?  We get away as quickly as we can, we nurture ourselves, and we remake our lives.  If we want to create food streams that nurture both ourselves and the earth, and a future for our kids, we need to hurry:  the hourglass is running.  If we don’t move quickly, on a personal and a national level, we will deserve the results.  We can act to make changes now, or we can wait, lose more of our health, take more medications and have that much more to change and reverse a month or a year from now.  We are in control of this, absolutely.
  Legislation won’t work.  I know beyond doubt that grassroots movements and boycotts are what can make a difference. The power of the food and drug companies is total.  The laws, like the Farm Bill, that our elected public servants are passing into law right now are not supporting the quality and nutritional value of our food, but rather are increasing profits for companies like Monsanto. Our power is to financially ruin these corporation  If they value us as consumers only, then let’s vote with our dollars.  Buying organic, nutritionally-dense food from people we trust instead of from corporations would shift our economy to locally based farms.  We can do this.  We can learn to take care of ourselves, love ourselves, and nourish ourselves with good food, empowering  ourselves to do good work.
  A side note:  There are a myriad of studies indicating that gratitude is a powerful support of health on every level.  Every culture says a grace over food.  It is a way to shift from mundane to sacred, but is also a way to slow down and prepare our bodies to receive the love and blessing of food; and by being slower, to digest and receive better.  Heartfelt. 

If this interests you, consider attending this on line seminar:

I Am Done - July12, 2013

   I am done.  I have had it up to there with managing every freaking bite that goes into my pie hole.  I want to punch the next huckster who promises me I can lose ten pounds in the next twenty minutes.  What I would like to see is a gallery show of found art pieces made from exercise equipment!

  Because the heartbreaking part is that it doesn’t work.  The Onion did a masterful job this week on the new designation of obesity as a disease.,32770/   Here is the truth:  Our bodies are wonderful at many things, but perhaps the most amazing is how we heal.  All the way back, a couple of million years ago, we have been tweaking and evolving and perhaps even some divine planning was involved to get us where we are today.  Then about 50 years ago, our environment morphed from familiar to hyper-toxic.  Plastics and chemicals in the water, the air, the food, and less and less of the nutrition we need available.  And our bodies, feeling stressed, and knowing that for the last several millennia, stress meant famine, started saving up fat stores.  A nice side benefit of this was more storage space for the increasing toxic load.

  As much as I would love to watch the miracle du jour remove wads of fat from my frame, as long as I am stressed, whether emotionally, or from the toxic tsunami or my addiction to news television- essentially all of the things that I interact with in the outside world- the best I can hope for is a temporary loss.  Because my body will still struggle to get enough nutrition, enough fuel and put a little in the bank, knowing that I am so stressed.

  Want to lose weight forever?  Get healthy.  Take responsibility and move your body.  Marathons are stressful, and if you are already carrying extra pounds, you are already stressed.  Walk.  Laugh (15 minutes of belly laughing can burn 50 calories- there is something to aspire to.) Enjoy your meals, your friends, your pets, and remind yourself how much love is in your life.  And get MORE love into your life. Gratitude is perhaps the best stress management there is.

 It isn’t overnight results, but once you focus on taking wonderful care of yourself, eating well, nutritionally dense food, avoiding chairs, being grateful, sleeping well, and being as relaxed and happy in as many aspects of your life as you can, you may be astounded by the results.