My mom was a great cook. Unfortunately, I didn’t learn from her. All I remember is, being Puerto Rican, everything was always well seasoned. On my own in my 20s and 30s, I ate out a lot. I worked in hotels so I got free meals. When I started gaining weight in my 40s, I jumped on the fad-diet bandwagon. Hence my constant weight loss struggle until now.
Once I learned that my osteoarthritis pain was caused by inflammation and that I could control the pain by what I eat, I learned how to cook. Another reason was that ALL the herbs and spices are anti-inflammatory agents that help reduce inflammation — some more than others.
Going gluten-free and dairy-free, I turned towards Asian cuisines. Using spices like curry, turmeric, cumin, cilantro and ginger, I didn’t just create delicious dishes, but I was helping reduce pain at the same time! (Watch for more recipes.)
My other favorite cuisine is Italian. Hey, I grew up in NYC with pizza as a one of the main food groups. However, pizza, has two big inflammatories: cheese and wheat. I can’t afford to buy the GF/DF frozen pizza all the time. So, I created an alternative:
The Pizza Omelet
2 large eggs
1 tbs of coconut milk
1/4 cup red onion chopped
kale leaf or 1/2 cup of spinach
bell pepper (optional)
1 roma tomato chopped
10 slices turkey pepperoni
Daiya/Vegan Gourmet/Go Veggie Mozzarella-style shreds or
Sheep’s milk or goat cheese for topping
Pinch of basil, oregano, parsley, garlic powder, sea salt and pepper to taste.
1 tbs olive oil
Serves 1, approx 500 calories depending on what you put in it.
Heat a small skillet for a minute then put the oil in to heat. Add onions and sauté until caramelized (translucent), Add tomatoes, mushrooms and sauté for a minute, add the kale or spinach last. Stir in the herbs (note that I didn’t put exact measurements for these. Since they are so good for you, I add them generously.) Cover and remove from heat while you prepare the eggs so as not to burn everything. The spinach or kale will wilt. Stir before adding eggs.
Blend/beat eggs and coconut milk with a pinch of sea salt till well mixed and pour in. Add turkey pepperoni, top with cheese and cover. Let sit on low heat till eggs are fully cooked. They’ll get fluffy.
A variation is the Mexican-style chili omelet. Instead of pepperoni, I pour on leftover chili and use the cheddar cheese substitute. Hold the basil and add cilantro and cumin and if you like it hot, some jalapeños or chili powder.
I learned about seasonings, herbs and spices from watching the Food Network. Chopped is one of my favorites. They take a basket of ingredients and make fabulous dishes (usually). You learn what to do and what not do. Also search on YouTube for cooking videos. There are lots.
If you do Holistic Health Solutions Whole Life 180 Weight Loss Program, you’ll get a very nice cookbook, “Cooking Wise”. It’s great for newbie chefs. Depending on the food plan that the nutritionist, Judy, puts you on, you can find all types of recipes. They even have gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian designations.
You can’t go wrong with this guided plan! I’ve lost over 30 lbs. on the Whole Life 180 program and haven’t gained it back!
What’s the difference between herbs and spices?
Herbs are obtained from the leaves of herbaceous (non-woody) plants. Spices are obtained from roots, flowers, fruits, seeds or bark.
Some herbs are: oregano, cilantro, parsley.
Some spices are: ginger (root), cinnamon (bark), turmeric (root).
What’s the difference between Vegetarian and Vegan?
Vegetarian is not meat or fish, but will eat dairy, but not eggs.
Vegan is no dairy, meat or fish at all. All protein is plant-based.
By Giselle Aguiar, from the patient’s point of view.