It may have taken a while, but I’ve finally come to embrace my inner nerd and display her proudly (rather than try to quash her idiosyncracies, as I did when younger). Maybe it’s related to the success of The Big Bang Theory, which makes nerdiness cool; maybe it’s the effects of menopause (after which you really, truly no longer give a hoot what other people think about you); or maybe it’s just that I’ve finally realized being a nerd is actually a good thing (I mean, who do you think invented cell phones? Or shoelaces? Or the Snuggie? Nerds, one and all.) Whatever the reason, it’s taken me five decades to come to that conclusion.
One of the benefits of being a first-class feeb in high school was that I never had to worry about the parental sanctions that were imposed on all my friends. In fact, during my teen years, my house operated as “Sleep Over Central” for all my friends, since I was the only one in our crowd without a curfew.
That’s right: my parents were fine with me strolling through the front door at 4:22 AM if that’s when I happened to wrap up my evening with friends. (My parents knew I was far too nerdy to be out taking drugs or swilling vodka).
The other reason my pals preferred Chez Heller as their weekend stopover was the perpetual abundance of fresh home-baked treats at our house. No matter how ravenous we were when we got back to the house after a night of dancing or movie-hopping or dumping laundry detergent in the school fountain (oh wait, did I just say that out loud?), we knew we could count on tins of homemade chocolate chip cookies, coffee cake, walnut biscuits, apple squares or even my mom’s “famous” chiffon cake to snack on until the sun came up. (In contrast, when I’d sleep over at my friend Sterlin’s place, raiding the fridge resulted in a box of frozen spinach or bag of frozen peas. Not that I didn’t like spinach or peas. . . just not at 3:34 AM on a Sunday morning).
These days, my snack foods often tend toward the Sterlin variety, with sauerkraut, kimchi, celery sticks or veggies and hummus figuring prominently. Of course, there are still some baked goods hanging around–but nowadays, they’re more likely to be made of psyllium husk and coconut flour than my mom’s sugar-, egg- and flour-infused treats.
One of the foods on which I love to snack also happens to be one of the “Anti-Candida Superstar” ingredients mentioned in Living Candida-Free: the humble cabbage. I know, cabbage doesn’t usually strike most of us as the sexiest vegetable out there. It’s anemic looking, it’s rotund, and, well, it’s sometimes full of hot air (so to speak).
But cabbage contains some fabulous anti-candida compounds that are healthful overall if consumed on a regular basis. Basic white cabbage, when juiced or eaten raw, can help heal leaky gut (one of the major problems for those of us with candida), and because it contains the compound ascorbigen, it has even been shown to heal ulcers.
To amp up these benefits, consider fermenting your cabbage (ie, making homemade sauerkraut), which increases the ascorbigen. Even more important on the ACD is the probiotic content of raw, lacto-fermented sauerkraut. As you kill off the yeast and restore equilibrium in the body, you’ll want to replace the probiotics that you may have lost or that were crowded out by candida. Sauerkraut (or other lacto-fermented foods, like kimchi) are a perfect way to accomplish that goal. As an added bonus, they make a great snack (seriously).
If you’re still not convinced about cabbage, this Easy Curried Cabbage is the perfect starter recipe to make a convert out of you. The reaction was overwhelmingly positive when I posted it on instagram, and I have to say, the HH was rather enamored of it, too. Super easy to make, it’s also incredibly flavorful with just the right amount of seasoning, and the Indian spices complement the caramelized cabbage perfectly.
Not bad for a nerdy little crucifer, right?
Quick and Easy Curried Cabbage (adapted from Sarah Elton, The Globe and Mail)
The ease and simplicity of this recipe belies its amazing flavor and texture. The mix of mild Indian spices and caramelized cabbage is simply stellar.
2 Tbsp (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
1 Tbsp (15 ml) black mustard seeds
4-6 cups (1-1.5 L) finely sliced cabbage (about one small cabbage)
1/4-1/2 cup (60-120 ml) vegetable broth or stock, as needed (use more if it scorches)
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) ground turmeric
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) chili powder
salt, to taste
In a large nonstick frypan or wok, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to pop.
Add the cabbage and broth and stir to coat the cabbage as much as possible with the oil. Lower heat to medium-low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage begins to brown in places. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to coat the cabbage evenly. Cover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage reaches your desired level of doneness (I like mine really brown, so cook for up to 40 minutes). Serve. Makes 4-6 servings. May be frozen.
Suitable for: ACD All stages, sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, nut free, yeast-free, vegan, low glycemic.
“Mum, we like cabbage, too! So how about we raid the fridge for a cabbage snack tonight? (Spinach and peas would be fine, too!)”.
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