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I have spent the last 2 hours reading your newsletter and wonderful recipes. I have already printed a whole bunch I want to try. I love them because they are using ingredients one has on hand. I love that and just wanted you to know how much we appreciate all your hard work in putting together this newsletter. Thank you very much.


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       Volume I - July 10, 2009

The 4 "S" Way to SANE Eating
by Alice Osborne & Patty Liston

If you’re looking for a moderate and sane way to manage eating and diet in a world overloaded with confusing expert opinions, you might want to look at Alice’s approach. She calls it the 4-S Way, and this is what it involves:

Sugar-free. If you’ve followed her writing at all, you know she’s a sugar junkie with NO tolerance for moderation here. Like an alcoholic, one little taste and it’s a “lost weekend.” And not surprisingly, she’s read everything she can find on the devastation sugar inflicts on the body (to bolster her commitment, mostly), so while she falls off the wagon once in awhile, she resolutely climbs back on and keeps trying. We won’t go into horrid detail about the evils of sugar — you’re probably well acquainted. Instead, here’s one of Alice’s favorite sugar-free snacks you might try if you’re wanting less sugar in your diet:

Peanut-Butter-Fudge Crunchies
Serves 10

1/4 cup honey or agave
2 teaspoons sugar-free fudge sauce
1/4 cup old fashioned peanut butter
2-1/2 cups Cheerios (Wheat or Rice Chex are nice as well)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup pretzels

Boil and stir the honey and fudge sauce. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter. Pour slowly over cereal, raisins and pretzels. Toss until evenly coated. Spread in pan. (13x9x2)

  Download this recipe.

Slowly, savoring. When we wolf down our meals in a hurry, we're actually shortchanging ourselves in many ways.

It turns out there's a reason food tastes so good. We're supposed to enjoy it--slow down and savor it, not just get it to our stomach as quickly as possible. Chewing food thoroughly is actually the first step in the complex process of digestion, and if we glaze over it, just chewing the minimum amount of times necessary to get the food down the esophagus, we're actually compromising this process.

Besides breaking food up into manageable chunks, there’s another good reason to slowly and thoroughly chew. The saliva that coats our food as we chew actually contains digestive enzymes that begin to digest food before it’s even swallowed. The enzymes alpha-amylase and lingual lipase begin digesting carbohydrates and fats, reducing the amount of work for which the stomach will be responsible. If food fragments are swallowed un-chewed, not only do nutrients remain locked in the fragments, but these fragments create an environment in the colon that is conducive to digestive distress—bacterial overgrowth, gas, and bloating.

For food particles to even leave the stomach though, the “gates” of the stomach, the pyloric sphincter, must open. Conveniently, chewing also aids in this process, signaling this event. And speaking of signals, just seeing our food causes our brain to send signals to the pancreas and stomach to secrete digestive acids and enzymes that are essential to digestion. And the longer food has contact with taste and smell receptors—the longer we chew each bite—the stronger these signals become. Strong signals mean more digestive molecules, less indigestion, less acid reflux, and superior nutrient absorption.

Chewing food thoroughly and eating meals more slowly has another benefit. It can shrink the waistline—and not just because there’ll be less bloating and indigestion. Eating more slowly gives the body a chance to tell the mind that it’s full, so that we can stop eating before we go overboard. Here’s another recipe you’ll want to savor—which just happens to be sugar free!

Fruit Crisp with Agave
Serve 10

4 cups peeled and sliced fruit of choice (apples and peaches are good)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup oats
1/2 cup agave
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup butter

Spray pie pan with vegetable spray. Put apples in the pan. Sprinkle juice over apples. Mix all other ingredients together. Pour over apples. Bake at 375°, 30 min. or until golden brown.

  Download this recipe.

Selectively. Know which foods you should avoid, then avoid them. This sounds simple and obvious, but Alice confesses there have been too many times during a week when she’s eaten things she knows good and well aren’t good for her. There are lots of reasons for this: functioning on “auto-pilot”—a lack of consciousness so to speak—just going with the flow, is the biggest for her. She’s found that when she slows down, and THINKS about nourishing rather than just filling herself up, her choices are the right ones. Here’s a recipe that is always on her SELECT list:

Red Grape & Pineapple Green Smoothie
(Makes about a quart)

2 cups seedless red grapes (rinsed well)
½ pineapple (cored and peeled, cut in chunks)
1 large leaf kale (rinsed well, stem removed)
2 ½ cups water

Blend well until all ingredients are thoroughly pureed. Savor this drink!

  Download this recipe.

Small—portions, that is. We’re eating more calories than ever, and a leading reason is how often we eat prepared foods away from home. Whether they come from a restaurant, takeout or vending machine, the portions we’re being served are becoming larger and larger. Many of us have lost touch with what proper portions look like. Alice has learned how to shrink the portions she eats, without feeling deprived. She measures with her eyes, using this guide:

1 teaspoon: About the size of a fingertip (top to middle joint); fits into the screwcap of a water bottle

1 tablespoon: About the size of a thumb tip (tip to middle joint)

1/2 cup: A fruit or vegetable that fits into the palm of your hand—about the size of a tennis ball

1/4 cup: The size of a golf ball

1 ounce nuts: Fits into the cupped palm of a child's hand

1 cup cereal: About the size of a woman's fist or a baseball

1 medium bagel: A hockey puck

1 ounce cheese: About the size of 2 dominoes or 4 dice

3 ounces meat: About the size of a deck of cards or a cassette audiotape

1 medium potato: About the size of a computer mouse

Here’s a favorite recipe that’s perfect for the 4 S Way to Sane Eating:

Stuffed Fresh Tomatoes
(Serves 6)

6 medium salad tomatoes (freshly picked from your garden is best of course!)
1 can water-packed tuna (drained well)
1 stalk celery (washed, finely diced)
2 green onions (freshly picked from your garden is best of course! Rinse and chop well)
1 Tbsp dill (freshly picked from your garden is best of course! Chop well if fresh)
3 Tbsp mayonnaise or Ranch dressing

Carefully top and core tomatoes, removing pulp without splitting sides of tomatoes. Save a little pulp to chop and fold into the mixture. In bowl, thoroughly mix all ingredients. Carefully stuff into cored tomatoes. Can make mixture night before and refrigerate. This goes well with 3 Bean Salad, Potato Salad, Macaroni Salad, etc.

  Download this recipe.

So to quickly recap: the 4 S Way to Sane Eating is to eat...

  • Sugar free

  • Slowly

  • Selectively

  • Small

    (If YOU have a smart idea, won't you share it? Life is so much easier and we accomplish so much more when we pool our resources. And after all, we're all in this together. So email or with YOUR Smart Ideas!)

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