Thursday, November 15, 2012

Arthritis Health and Nutrition

Note: this post was written by Giz.  Your reader may say that it was written by Psychgrad because she took and uploaded the pictures.

We all know about arthritis.  I remember, as a teenager hearing people talk about their "arthritis" while they were rubbing their joints and saying alot of "oy" and giving a knowing nod to one another as brothers and sisters understanding each other's pain.  My thoughts then were: "what could be so bad and why so much drama about a little arthritis?"

I'm grown up now and have a whole new outlook on the whole arthritis thing.  Arthritis is really quite a general term for a family of approximately 100 different presentations and degrees of what is typically symptomized by joint paint.  The most common - osteoarthritis - is something I share my life with and frankly the relationship is not so satisfying.  When the opportunity presented itself for a complimentary copy of The Complete Arthritis Health, Diet Guide and Cookbook from Robert Rose Publishers , I jumped at it.  I'd always heard the expression that the worst thing you can do is "nothing" so I've made a point of swimming daily.  The pool seems to be the least painful way to exercise and after an hour of constant movement, you feel so much better.  Seriously.

The book, written by dietician Kim Arrey and Dr. Michael R. Starr, is a clear look at what arthritis is, how it affects you while giving you 125 easy to follow recipes to help you change your narrative through a common sense diet.  I've learned so much about the foods that both increase and decrease inflammation that the recipes, although wonderful, rank second to the learning of what works and what doesn't in terms of nutrition.  Although making even small changes can be somewhat intimidating, the book suggests the little steps such as replacing white potatoes with sweet potatoes, incorporating more vegetables and legumes in your diet and joining an aquafit class at least a couple of times a week.  I'll be using this book as a bible for feeling better, that's a for sure!  If someone in your family is challenged with any form of arthritis, I encourage you to gift them this year with this gift of good health.  Trust me, it'll be so appreciated.

This past weekend Psychgrad, R and Ms. E came for a visit and we invited the family over for dinner to celebrate the welcoming of our precious Ms. E to the family.  She's already wormed her way into the hearts of all of us and will go through her first year being the most photographed child in the history of our family.  She's already showing signs of strong interest in technology and loves to look at pictures of herself.  Is there such a thing as vanity at the age of 3 months?

We incorporated some of what I've learned in The Complete Arthritis Health, Diet Guide and Cookbook  in our menu planning.  I decided to go with some interesting looking dishes that Marie of Proud Italian Cook.  The first is a Vegetable Torta that's made up of any number of roasted vegetables that you may have on hand or chose specifically to use.   We cut up the following vegetables and roasted them in a 425 F oven tossed with olive oil and kosher salt.

1 Sicilian Eggplant
A whole head of Cauliflower
Medium Butternut Squash
8 oz mixed Mushrooms
1/2 Package of Frozen Spinach

Cut the vegetables (round veg in rounds)   After roasting the vegetables, let them cool.  We used a 9 inch springform pan and began with a thin layer of sweet potatoes.   

Shred 4 oz of Asiago Cheese and 6 oz of Mozarella Cheese.  The cheeses become the glue that holds it all together.

Continue to layer and push firmly into place after each layer adding a small amount of asiago and mozarella.  Top with sweet potatoes and finish with the cheeses.

Cover your torta with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes; uncover and bake for another 20 minutes or until nicely golden.

The second dish that is more of an adaptation is so simple and so delicious.  

1 head of leaf lettuce
3 small zucchinis (make into ribbons with your vegetable peeler applying strong pressure)
4 oz broken up feta cheese
slivered almonds to top
We made a simple Greek dressing with 3 parts olive oil, 1 part red wine vinegar, 1 clove crushed garlic, oregano, 1 Tbsp dijon mustard and a splash of fresh lemon juice.

Grill the zucchini until it begins to brown
Add to the lettuce with feta and dress.
Top with almonds and voila - deeeelicious.



That Girl said...

I always find it interesting when one ties diet in with conditions that don't have an obvious link to what we eat.
(Like diabetes makes sense, but with arthritis, cancer, fibromyalgia diet isn't the first thing you think of)

bellini said...

Everything looks delicious. This is a book that I could benefit from as we both know I also have osteoarthritis. Perhaps we should become spokespersons since we are both so knowledgeable or at least willing to learn all.