Have you ever had an experience in your life that caused you to redirect your goals, change your life style, or reassess your aspirations?
If so, I would like to”compare notes” with you.
Recently, I had just such an experience, and because of it, this blog is in the process of being revamped.
Most of my life I was called the “the sweet tooth one”. It was true then and it is still true today.
I love anything sweet that melt in my mouth, satisfy my cravings and creates that warm and fuzzy feeling with every bite (BTW it does not have to be pink).
Along with my “sweet tooth one” nickname, I am also known among friends as the “best baker.” I am the one whose refrigerator hides many “goodies,” or the one who can whip-up great desserts in minutes without a recipe. So if people had a craving for sweets they would say to each other: “let’s see how Georgette is doing?”
So if people would be craving for sweets they would say to each other: “lets see how Georgette is doing?”
Unfortunately that behavior will need to be altered. I am afraid, those days must change to weekend desserts only, and even then, the ingredients in those desserts will be selected very carefully and at times it may look a bit “strange” to some of us.
I guess by now I elicited your curiosity to an extent that you are ready to murder me if I do not reveal what is happening. So let me end the suspense and disclose the event that is responsible for changing the theme of this blog.
While traveling from the West to the East, somewhere along the challenging roads, I found myself being driven by an ambulance to the nearest emergency room (ER) with what it appeared to be, a heart attack. In addition to being scared about what was happening to me, I was also concerned about the place this event manifested itself.
It was a small town, where the ER is manned by a DO, the nurses had to complete five electrocardiograms (ECGs) in order to get at least one of them right, and the doctor was so elated when the nitroglycerin helped in alleviating my symptoms that he yelled across the hallway to his assistants: “80% percent better! Which, at the time, seemed to say it all.
The drive to the hospital was a whole other experience. The road to the hospital must have been some dirt road, because the stretcher that I was lying on was shaking really bad; I actually told the nurse that “I feel as if I will roll off this bed any minute.” She assured me that I was strapped in (as if that was supposed to make me feel better?)
While the ambulance was shaking, and I was thrown up and down on the stretcher (even with the limit of the belt) believe it or not, the nurse was trying to establish an open vein for the eventuality of the need for intravenous therapy upon our arrival to the ER.
Picture this: the car was shaking with me and the nurse’s hand is shaking with the car while she is trying to open a vein. OUCH!! I believe I screamed louder than the last push in giving birth.
I guess by now you would rather read about what is happening to he desserts you have come to like while visiting here and will there be recipes for re-creating?
So, because of the health related issue that landed me in the hospital that day, this is going to be the first day in the life of this blog. I will start to rebuild it by giving more selective thought to the ingredients.
Up to now, I just continued my childhood lifestyle; treating myself with “indulgences” and hoping that you like the same.
From this day on, however, we have become “grownups” hat understand that our health and life span, depends on two things: our genes and what we put into our body. As of today, we cannot change our genes, but we can certainly decide what goes into our mouth.
We will continue to make pies, tarts, pavlovas, and angel cakes, but may change the ice cream to ice milk or frozen yogurt, and our refrigerator will be filled with unsweetened fruit juices and Agave nectar.
I also love to make homemade applesauce, especially since my grandson is asking for it every time he sees me. In fact, I used to take apple-picking trips in the fall, just for that reason. So, applesauce will become our saving grace to substituting ingredients, like butter, in many of our recipes.
Please do not get me wrong; there is nothing wrong with treating yourself with foods/ingredients you love, but the key word is: periodically. We will use ingredients that are on the “restricted” list, based on their glycemic index, less frequently, and will consume smaller portions of them.
If it still sounds as if we are going to deprive ourselves from foods we like and force ourselves to eat “stuff” we do not care for – it cannot be further from the truth.
Our secret weapon in this is going to be using more “functional” foods. If you are unsure about what functional foods are, some of the foods that belong to this group are berries, bananas, cherries, pomegranate, citrus, dark chocolate, nuts, etc.
Almost everyone can appreciate a blueberry orcherry pie, and what is wrong with a banana split with frozen yogurt substituting the ice cream or raspberry muffins where applesauce is used in place of butter? These functional foods will be my desirable ingredients and I will strive to seek out new functional foods as they are identified and/or created.
These will be my desirable ingredients and I will strive to seek out new functional foods as they will be identified, created or elevated.
What is functional food?
Functional foods are foods that may create positive effects on our health, beyond being nutritional. Of course, you could make a statement that “all foods” are functional, since they all produce some kind of health benefit and energy for growth. However, functional foods offer additional benefits, such as reducing the development of diseases, or assisting in the cure of a disease.
I must add here that the reason(s) I do not need to change the name of this blog is because both chocolate (dark) and figs ar belonging to the functional foods group.
I will not need to give up my favorite desserts that use chocolate as the principal ingredient. Dark chocolate was reported in multiple studies to reduce the risk of the development cardiovascular disease and stroke. It is high in antioxidants therefore, you can consider it as a food that helps in the management of high blood pressure, cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases and even certain cancers.
What about figs? Figs contain one of the highest concentrations of polyphenols among the commonly consumed foods and beverages. Polyphenols are also antioxidants that protect us from various chronic diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, cancer and more. Figs are a great source of fiber and we will use them as “fat-and sugar substitutes in many of our dessert recipes.
Figs also contain high concentrations of phytosterols, which inhibit the absorption of dietary cholesterol, thus decreasing the total levels of cholesterol in our blood.
So both, chocolate and figs are here to stay.
There are a lot of talk and discussions in the media about sugar addiction. I am not sure if it has any relations to one’s genes, because this issue is still under debate, or is it an acquired phenomenon due to environment of our upbringing?
In any case, my situation could definitely support the effects of the environment, including my upbringing. Looking back at my life story, what I remember the most is how happy we were (my sister and I) when my father came home with a tray of the best small cakes from one of the top cafe houses in Budapest.
The best part of a meal in my home was the “finale”. My mother was a great baker and always managed to surprise us even if she created something that we ate 200 times because she would ad some new twist to it. So my sugar addiction comes from the food habits that I exhibited as a child that I just never really grew out of.
Does my story sound at all familiar to yours? I would love to hear about your relationship with sugar? Are you trying to get cured from it? Do you think we will be able to help each other overcome this addiction?
I will be working hard to continue to create desserts that we all love, (and the reason you kept coming back to us); but from time-to-time I will surprise you with the ingredients I will use to create them.
As always, I will make sure that you understand and learn everything about the ingredients that maybe unknown to you; or maybe the way we will use an “old standby” that may raise questions in your mind.
I am delighted to be back among old friends.