Happy Monday, everyone! It’s also the beginning of the final month of the year–a perfect time for some announcements and updates (plus a request for your help–see last item in this post!). With so much going on here at DDD these days, I thought I’d take the opportunity to collate some items in a single post. But I warn you, this is a long’un–so grab a Carob Chai Latte (or, if you prefer, a glass of Holiday Nog), put your feet up, and read on!
I. Announcement Number One:
Hooray! One of You Wins 150 Best Tagine Recipes!
Yes, that’s right: it’s been so chaotically busy over here that I completely neglected to post the winner of last week’s giveaway! As I mentioned last week, the book is great for anyone who eats gluten-free, and also contains a good number of vegan recipes. And I loved the Beet Tagine! A random selection from all entries resulted in a winner:
Number 8: Rick–the Health Sleuth! Rick’s comment: “I have never had tagine, omg i would love this cookbook! please add me to the contest!”
Congratulations, Rick! Please email me at dietdessertdogsATgmailDOTcom with your full name and address, and I’ll be sure the book gets out to you asap!
II. Announcement Number Two:
Hooray! I’m Presenting at the Upcoming Nourished Food Bloggers’ Conference!
I’m giddy with excitement that I’ll be among the presenters at the brand new Nourished food bloggers’ conference, coming to Chicago in April 2012! The conference is the brainchild of Amy Green from Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, plus Jen Cafferty, the woman behind the Gluten and Allergen-Free Expos and the blog Gluten-Free Life. The conference is the first of its kind, “tailored exclusively to the needs of those on special diets, writing about special diets, and niche bloggers.” These days, that includes more and more of us!
Some of the confirmed speakers who will guide you toward more fun, effective and popular food blogging include Susan Voisin of Fatfree Vegan Kitchen (one of my vegan blogging idols!), Silvana Nardone of Silvana’s Kitchen, Dianne Jacob of Will Write for Food and Cybele Pascal, renowned allergen-free cookbook author. I’m thrilled that I’ll finally get to meet so many of my blogging colleagues at the conference as well–and I do hope I get to meet some of you, too!
Free Ticket Giveaway! I’d love if you can make it out to Chicago next April and join in the event. The conference founders want you to be there, too, so they’re holding a giveaway for a free ticket to the conference, until Decmeber 8th! There’s still time to enter to win a free ticket. Hop over to the Nourished blog and leave a comment to enter.
III. Osteopenia Update:
Holistic Approach, -1.3; Conventional Approach, -2.2 (or, a Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Bone Density Test)
Some of you may remember my outrage a couple of years ago when my doctor unceremoniously informed me that I had osteopenia (a decrease in bone density that can be a precursor to osteoporosis). As a person who studied holistic nutrition and takes pains to eat a balanced diet of whole, natural foods, I was appalled that I could even fall within that category (or anywhere else, in fact, since I’d probably fracture a hip or something if I did fall). Last year’s results were even more dire: my T Score clocked in at -2.2, just a hair’s breadth away from full-on osteoporosis!!
As a perpetual student who’s been accustomed to doing well on tests, I was really ticked off at that abysmal score. Since I was in the midst of battling candida with my amazing naturopath at the time (I’ve subsequently continued the battle on my own), the first thing I did at our next appointment was ask how I could reverse the diagnosis. (I had asked the same question of my family doctor as well, of course, but her response was: “There is no way to reverse it. The best you can hope for is that it doesn’t get worse. And if it does get worse, we’ll have to put you on Fosamax.”).
Well, um, no thank you. Instead, my naturopath explained that “It’s not always what you’re eating that matters so much as how much you absorb from what you’re eating.” In other words, women who take 2000 mg of supplemental calcium a day could still end up with osteoporosis if their bodies aren’t able to absorb and actually use that calcium.
As a result, my naturopath designed a specific nutritional plan which I’ve been following for the the past year. The plan aims to (a) clear out as much of the candida as possible (I’m about 90% there); (b) improve my digestion; (c) increase my intake of the minerals essential for a healthy bone matrix through supplements; and (d) increase my intake of specific foods that help to build bones as well. I also committed to exercising 6 days a week, walking and lifting weights every day.
So, how did I do? I’m happy to report that I’ve been totally consistent taking my supplements; I endeavor to drink wheat grass juice daily (I actually like the taste of the fresh stuff); and I consume dark leafys at least once a day. I’ve managed to keep up with the exercise routine about 80% of the time as well (I will occasionally slip to 4 or 5 days a week).
I had my latest bone density test a couple of months ago. I found it odd that I didn’t hear back from the doctor’s office, so I decided to take the initiative and call them. The secretary (who read out my numbers to me over the phone) was clearly astounded when she compared them to last year’s digits: my score had risen from -2.2 to -1.3, moving me to the low-risk group (less than 10% risk for fracture)! Whoo hoo! The Mighty Kale triumphs again!*
I must admit, I’m not sure which was more satisfying about the results: the fact that my bones are now stronger (which means I needn’t worry as much about falling while walking the dogs over ice and snow in winter); or (once again) proving to my doctor that natural, nutrient-based “medicine” can work as well as, or better than, the conventional kind.
For once in my life, I don’t mind being called “dense.” To celebrate my healthier status, I whipped up this calcium-rich smoothie the other day. Combined with cranberries and pears, it’s both festive and nourishing. Hooray for holistic medicine! (See recipe at end of post).
IV. A Question–for All of You.
This last section is directed at all of you–all of the wonderful and much-appreciated readers who visit DDD on a regular basis. More than anything, I write this blog for all of you. Without your presence here, without you showing up regularly and reading; without your insightful, witty, supportive and empathic comments; without your feedback and input, this blog would really have very little reason for existing at all.
With the new year just beyond the horizon, I’ve been feeling a little restless with the blog and thinking about implementing some changes. In some ways, it seems I’ve lost sight of the original cornerstones of DDD and the types of posts that served to build the blog from the beginning. Too often, the focus has shifted toward events and giveaways–and, while I really do enjoy the latter, I don’t want to overlook the former.
So, I’ve decided to ask you what YOU would like to see on the blog. I’m posting three questions below, and I’d love to know your answers to one, two or all three, as you like. Instead of a survey, I’m asking that you simply leave your ideas in the comments section, and feel free to write about anything I may have forgotten to mention as well. Here goes:
Question One: If I revamped the blog, which sections or aspects of the blog are essential to keep? (Wellness Weekend? Stories? Recipes? Giveaways? The Girls’ input?) Let me know what you’d like to see remain as fundamental elements on the blog, or what you’d want to see more of!
Question Two: Is there anything on the blog you feel could be eliminated? (Wellness Weekend? Stories? Giveaways? Tabs at the top of the page? –etc.) If there’s something you feel isn’t necessary, is merely taking up space or simply bugs you, take note of it in the comments as well!
Question Three: Is there anything not already here that you’d like to see added to the blog? Is there a particular feature or specific content that you wish I’d add? If so, let me know!
I plan to introduce some updates and changes to the blog in the new year. Look forward to improvements and a sharper look as well!
Thanks, everyone, for your help! I can’t wait to hear what you think and read through your ideas.
And if you’ve made it this far, I think you deserve a reward! How about a big, frosty Cranberry Smoothie? Enjoy!
“Mum, a new look for the blog is a great idea. But you’re not seriously thinking of getting rid of US, are you?! Besides, ‘Diet, Dessert and HH’ just doesn’t have the same ring to it. . . . Mum?”
Calcium-Rich Cranberry Smoothie
A snap to whip up, this smoothie makes a refreshing breakfast (or any time) drink, with just the right amount of sweetness. Sesame seeds are high in calcium, as are almonds, and both will add creaminess to this drink as well.
1 cup (240 ml) unsweetened soy, almond, rice or hemp milk
1/2 cup (120 ml) cranberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 pear, cored (you can keep the skin on)
2 Tbsp (30 ml) sesame seeds
2 Tbsp (30 ml) raw natural almonds
1 scoop plain or vanilla rice-based protein powder (I use BioNature)
1 1-inch (2.5 cm) piece of fresh ginger, peeled
15-25 drops plain or vanilla liquid stevia, to taste
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Drink immediately. Makes one serving.
* When my friend Eternal Optimist, who has also been diagnosed with osteopenia, heard about this reversal of fortune, she decided immediately to go on the same regimen. I can’t wait to see how her results turn out next year.
Two Years Ago: Anti-Candida Update: Holiday Edition (coping with the holidays on a restricted diet)
Four Years Ago: Dog Day: How Elsie Got Named
© Ricki Heller, Diet, Dessert and Dogs