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Before And After October 17, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, Vegetarian Recipes.

Before I began the wheat-free experiment mid-September, we ate delicious meals of this and that:


Thai Noodles with Peanut Sauce * Steamed Broccoli & Carrots * Black Bean Salsa * Sliced Apple * 1/2 a Bagel

Since going wheat-free, we still eat this and that . . . I just don’t eat that other thing.

Here’s an example of an impromptu mix & match wheat-free lunch thrown together from “fixings” in the fridge and pantry:


Carrot & Celery Sticks * Pepperocini * Hummus * Fritos * Black Bean Salsa * Broccoli Florets with Italian Vinaigrette

I do a bit more planning for dinners, but not much.  Here’s an example of a fresh from the oven wheat-free dinner:


Twice Baked Potato * Roasted Asparagus * Roasted Cauliflower * Roasted Carrots * Mashed Sweet Potato * Pushcart Onions  & Peppers

Update: I’m still enjoying numerous benefits from eating wheat-free (better sleep, less neck pain, better digestion, less inflammation, better mood, less mental fog, better energy, less hunger) so I haven’t been tempted to add wheat back into my diet.  Yet.

Aah . . . that’s better!

You Can’t Beat Beets! October 13, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, Vegetarian Recipes.

Mr-RossiThe Farmer’s Market started up again on Saturday, October 1st, after a summer hiatus.  The Market, which runs from October to May (instead of May to October), includes artisans, musicians, bakers, butchers, fishmongers, and farmers.

I love seeing how far our veggie dollars go at the Market. Last visit, we spent a grand total of $18 and came home with this:


kale * cucumbers * iceberg lettuce * broccoli * romaine * green peppers * zucchini * baking potatoes * sweet potatoes * beets * beet greens

What bounty!

Once home, I process the produce so that it’s ready to use at a moment’s notice:

* Wash and spin the lettuce
* Chop and sauté the beet greens and kale
* Steam or blanch the broccoli (or just cut it into florets for roasting)
* Store the potatoes and sweet potatoes in our “root cellar”
* Stash most of the cukes, peppers, and zucchini in the fridge

Last week, before leaving the kitchen, I made a pot of wheat-free Minestrone soup, using millet instead of macaroni.

By the time I finished chopping and dropping, the robust and hearty harvest soup included onions, peppers, zucchini, beets, beet greens, broccoli, carrots, celery, and tomato sauce.

Aah . . . that’s yummy!

Do you frequent Farmer’s Markets in season?

Just Breathe October 3, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Health & Wellness, Life Balance, Mindfulness.

Green-Yin-YangThe Yin and Yang of our nervous system are the sympathetic and parasympathetic.

When we are stressed, the sympathetic nervous system activates the fight-or-flight response.

In contrast, the parasympathetic nervous system governs the rest-and-relaxation response.

To recover from excess stress, we need only remember to press the “pause button” . . . by taking a deep breath.

Donald-DirectorBreathing triggers the relaxation response by signaling the vagus nerve to initiate a healing waterfall of hormones.

Once activated, those hormones calm us.  They also reduce cortisol levels, boost brain function, reduce inflammation, and lower heart rate and blood pressure.

So breathe.  Just breathe.

Aah . . . that’s better! 

A Wheat-Free Experiment September 29, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Happiness, Health & Wellness, Less IS More.

Donald-DuckaPerhaps more than any other food, wheat permeates our diet.

We find wheat in breads, bagels, baguettes, rolls, muffins, biscuits, cereals, granola bars, cakes, cookies, brownies, pies, puddings, pizza, pasta, tabbouli, crackers, pretzels, beer, chips, veggie burgers, etc.

As a vegetarian, my diet centers around fruits, veggies, beans, nuts, seeds, grains . . . and chocolate.

Giving up wheat was the furthest thing from my mind.

Woodstock-&-Snoopy3Or it was until I heard Dr. William Davis during a PBS Fundraising Special ~ Wheat Belly, Total Health.

At first, what he was saying flew in the face of “truths” I had assumed to be true about “heart-healthy whole grains.”

I laughed at his concerns while munching on a bagel.

But his comments stayed with me.

I requested a copy of his first book, Wheat Belly ~ Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, from the local library.

I read with resistance.

I.  Did.  Not.  Want.  To.  Give.  Up.  Pizza.


What would life be like without wheat?

No Bagels for lunch. No Grapenuts cereal for breakfast. No Triscuit Crackers with peanut butter as a snack. No Macaroni & Cheese.  No Lo Mein.  No Thai Noodles with Peanut Sauce.  No Minestrone Soup.  No Spaghetti.  No Lasagna.  No Grilled Vermont Cheddar on Toscano Pano.

No Pizza.

Donald-Duck-BaseballIn spite of my resistance to his message, I kept reading, wondering if there was even a wheat berry of truth to his claims.

He provided a number of anecdotes about people barely able to walk into his office due to excess weight, joint pain, and lack of energy, who (after giving up wheat) bounded into the office at their next visit.

Hmmm . . .

I decided to conduct a Wheat-Free Experiment to see what changes, if any, I noticed in the Health and Wellness department.

Donald-Duck-MadI assumed the first thing I would notice was anger and annoyance at being deprived of some of my favorite foods.

Nope.  My mood got better, not worse.

I assumed that without the adjunct of bread with lunch and dinner that I would be ravenous between meals and go to bed hungry.

Nope.  My appetite dropped without the appetite-stimulating effect  wheat has on the brain.

Mickey-In-HammockI assumed I would toss and turn in bed at night, with visions of sugar plum pudding dancing in my head.

Nope.  Instead of sleeping in 2-3 hours stints, I began sleeping for 3, 4, and 5 hour stretches.  I stopped waking every 2 hours for a pee break.  Once a night is now enough.  (I’ve also noticed fewer “pee prompts” from my bladder during the day.)

For the past week, I’ve woken feeling rested, awake, aware, and ready to face another Wheat-Free day.

The number on the bathroom scale has dropped a couple of pounds ~ this morning I weighed less than at any time in the last 10 years.

Mickey-OKLong-standing neck pain has improved ~> after just one wheat-free week, my neck is pain-free for the first time in at least two decades!

Afternoon headaches spiraling up from my neck have also disappeared.

The “mental fog” is lifting.  When I sit down to a task, I do so with greater cognitive clarity.

My youthful “can do” and “do it now” attitude has returned after an extended hiatus, allowing me to get things done today (e.g., writing this post) rather than putting them off until tomorrow . . . or the day after tomorrow.

Mickey-SurferIn a nutshell, I feel more like the “old me” ~> younger, more enthusiastic, more motivated, more alive.

That said, it’s still “early innings.”  I’m not ready to swear off pizza for the rest of my life.  Yet.

But, if these changes become the new norm . . . giving up pizza would be a small price to pay.

Aah . . . that’s better! 

EASY Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies September 19, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Health & Wellness, Less IS More, Vegetarian Recipes.

Mickey-Ta-DaaaHere’s a quick and easy recipe for a healthy and portable breakfast treat.

Mash 2 ripe bananas.  Stir in one cup of Quick Oats.  Add a pinch of spice ~ cinnamon, ginger, allspice, apple pie spice, or your fave.

Add other items of interest (e.g., coconut, raisins, chocolate chips, dried cherries, nuts, sunflower seeds, etc.).

I didn’t have coconut or chocolate chips . . . so I chopped up a couple of miniature Almond Joy chocolate bars.   Yum!  

Spoon onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.


Aah . . . that’s easy!

Got Saw Dust? September 13, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, Humor.

Donald-DuckaOn the search for a better burrito, we scanned the 137+ varieties of tortillas available at Publix to find one with a healthy mix of ingredients.

Most flour tortillas had a gram of fiber.

The whole wheat tortillas had 2 grams of fiber.

Then we picked up a package of high fiber tortillas which boasted a whopping 11 grams of fiber.

Per tortilla, not per package.

Curious, we read through the ingredient list looking for the source of that fiber.

Donald-Duck-BaseballWas it from oats?  No.

Was it from bran?  No.

How about wheat germ?  Again, no.

Then we spied the fiber source . . . cellulose fiber.  Also known as wood pulp.

Well, you don’t have to hit me over the head with a baseball bat before I can figure out what’s going on . . .

Food manufacturers are obviously as concerned as consumers about getting more fiber into our food.

Wanting to avoid genetically modified FrankenFood, they turned to the forest and saw the trees!

Trees, standing tall and overflowing with pulpy goodness.

Real trees, not GMO trees loaded with FrankenFiber.

They called lumber yards and floor liquidators, ordering up 10,000 cubic tons of surplus saw dust to bulk up our food and our bellies.

Donald-Duck-LazyThey boiled it down and added it to cereals, granola bars, loaves of bread, ice cream, and tortillas.

And that, in a nutshell, is why processed food tastes like saw dust!

Aah . . . that’s better!

The Stunning Health Benefits of Meditation September 7, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Health & Wellness, Meditation, Mindfulness.

Mickey-Ta-DaaaA friend sent me this e-mail about an upcoming on-line meditation workshop which might interest some of you:

Hi Friend,

Millions of people are taking a step back from the hectic stresses of life and finding a new peace and poise through the practice of mindfulness.

And now scientific studies are discovering that meditation can have profound health benefits. It’s been found to ease chronic pain, anxiety, and stress, and to improve heart health, boost mood and immunity, and even to help resolve infertility problems.

It seems that any condition that’s caused or worsened by stress can be helped through meditation.

There’s scientific evidence showing how meditation works, too. In people who are meditating, brain scans (brain MRIs) have shown an increase in activity in areas that control metabolism and heart rate. Other studies on Buddhist monks have shown that meditation produces long-lasting positive changes in brain activity in those areas involved in attention, working memory, learning, and conscious perception.

As if that wasn’t enough, studies have found that meditation can help to decrease metabolism, lower blood pressure, and improve heart rate, breathing, and brain waves.

If you’re interested in putting the healing power of meditation to work in your life, you might want to check out a free workshop from my friend and colleague, Craig Hamilton.

Craig has taught medication practices to tens of thousands of people around the world. In this complimentary workshop, he’ll share breakthroughs in meditation research – and how you can apply them for maximal benefit in your life.

Find out more and sign up here.

Yours for peace and wellness,

Ocean Robbins

Mickey-DancingThis FREE 75-minute Global Online Event with Craig Hamilton is scheduled for Tuesday, September 13th, at 6:00 PM US Pacific, 9:00 Eastern.

There is no charge to attend this event. Simply enter your first name and email address to register.

Find out more and sign up here.

A Quiet Mind Is All You Need August 31, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Health & Wellness, Meditation.

InfinityIn Journey Into Healing: Awakening the Wisdom Within You, Deepak Chopra encourages us to seek that place inside ourselves that is at one with the infinite intelligence of the universe, the source of life.

There, in the silent space between thoughts, beyond sound and beyond breath, we tap into our inner wisdom and find our Self surrounded by unbounded peace, gratitude, love, and enchantment.

A few thoughts to ponder:

When the mind is peaceful, inner energies wake up and work miracles for us ~ without any conscious effort on our part. (77)

Hand-dipping-in-waterA shift in awareness is the first change. (95)

Quietly, in your own heart, say that you do not want to be afraid. (116)

Intentions automatically seek their fulfillment if left alone. (118)

Complete healing depends upon your ability to stop struggling. (121)

The higher self is that place where . . . [a] mere desire becomes the trigger for transformation. (123)

All transformations eventually lead back to the same source ~ our own pure awareness. (137)

A quiet mind is all you need. (79)


Aah . . . that’s better!

Attack Of The Killer Garage Door August 15, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Health & Wellness, Home & Garden, Humor, Life Balance.

Goofy-Under-An-UmbrellaLast week, just before I needed to head to the dentist to get two front composite restorations and a crown, the skies opened up.

Torrential rain beat down at the brisk rate of 2.5 inches an hour.

A real gully-washer!

When the rain let up for a minute, I made a beeline for the garage.

I pressed the garage door opener on the wall.  The garage door swung up on command.

Open Sesame.

Donald-Duck-DrivingWhen I shifted the car into reverse to back out, I noticed the garage seemed rather dark.

That’s odd.

The door, exhibiting a streak of independence, had decided that it had waited in the up position more than long enough for me to exit the garage.

With silent stealth, it had come down while I was busy fastening my seatbelt and adjusting the radio and A/C.  In its defense, maybe it was trying to keep the pouring rain, still coming down at record speed, out of the garage.

Determined not to give up, I pressed the garage door remote over the visor and watched the door’s ascent.

Going up.

Excellent.  Great.  Good.  All clear.

Eeyore-under-a-raincloudI put the car in reverse, began backing out of the garage, and heard a strange sound ~ that of the garage door coming down on the roof of my Honda and holding it fast.


I was stuck half in and half out of the garage.

Not good.

I pushed the remote, hoping to convince the door to ascend for the third time in as many minutes.

Go up!

It ignored my request and continued its downward descent.

Not good.  

Feeling like a sardine in a tin can, I tried again.

This time, the garage door ascended long enough for me to zip out of the garage and make my escape.  (If you can call going to the dentist an “escape.”)

As rain continued to pour down, I called BFF to catch him up on the garage door’s escapade.

Tiara-CatFour hours later, I returned home with a new crown and a significantly lighter wallet.

In my absence, BFF had checked out the garage door and concluded the door, not his wife, was at fault for the mix up.  It had messed up.

Apparently the springs are lacking in tension.  We’ll need to get someone out here to tighten them up.

In the meantime, when we want the door to stay up . . . we need to apply heavy-duty industrial clamps to keep it from coming down!

Mickey-OKNow for the upside of that up and down day ~> my new crown is permanent!

Our dentist fixed me up in a single visit instead of installing a temporary crown and having me return down the road for a permanent install.

Aah . . . that’s better!

So, what’s up with you?

Outwitting Insomnia July 16, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Health & Wellness, Humor, Joke.

Donald-Duck-LazyI developed a trick to outwit my erstwhile bedtime companion, Insomnia:

Me:  “C’mon . . . just try.”
Insomnia:  “No.”

“C’mon.  Just close your eyes and go to sleep.”

“It will feel good.  I promise.”


“C’mon.  Just do it for me.”

“No.  I’m not tired.”

“Please. Just. Close. Your. Eyes.”

“Yes!  I’m tired!  I want to go to sleep.”
“No.  I’m busy.”

“Hmm . . . okay, Insomnia.  I’ve got an idea.”

Donald-Duck-BaseballDubious, skeptical, yet intrigued, Insomnia raises an eyebrow in my direction.

“What do you have in mind?”



Donald-Director“That’s right.  Since you don’t want to go to sleep, let’s meditate instead.  Let’s let go of thought and focus on the magic power of Ohm . . . . . .”


Works like a charm!

Aah . . . that’s better!