Of all the wonderful plant-based doctors we can learn from on the internet and in books, I confess that Dr. Fuhrman’s work is the one I am least familiar with. An incurable bookworm, for some mysterious reason I have yet to even read Eat to Live. However, I do believe that sometimes such lapses are filled by the simple grace of stumbling onto a distllation of what ends up being most relevant. So even though I haven’t read a lot of Dr. Fuhrman’s words, this simple paragraph on his site, which can be read by members and non-members alike, has made a significant difference in managing my fibromyalgia. On his site, Dr. Fuhrman How to live, for life, he writes about fibromyalgia that:
“I have been utilizing a high antioxidant, acrlyamide-free diet for many years with marked success. Acrylamides are toxic substances produced by baking and frying carbohydrates. The diet-style I recommend for fibromylagia patients is rich in natural plant foods especially organic berries and green vegetables and restricted in animal products and baked grains. Vegetable soups and steamed vegetables are encouraged. Fibromyalgia patients routinely get well, and they get well quickly.”
Perhaps the most controversial part of these recommendations is the caution about acrlymides. But his caution about their health effects made sense to me because I had begun to notice a sensitivity to toasted grains like rice cakes and breakfast cereals, and anything that was grilled to the point of having deep dark blackish creases on it. So I decided to do one of my “science experiments” and see if I felt better by avoiding puffed and toasted grains, even gluten free ones. I did.
Whether this is an issue or not for you personally, there is plenty of elegantly simple and sound advice in the rest of the paragraph. The injunction to eat berries and dark leafy greens, to mix color metaphors, is “gold.” And then there’s this sentence: “Vegetable soups and steam vegetables are encouraged.” I love the passive voice so classicly characteristic of “doctor talk.” At first read it sounds pretty darn bland and boring. But then I tried it. There is a world, a WORLD of brightly colored vegetables and starches that get even brighter when you steam them or warm them in broth. They beckon like a green lawn or a rose in spring after rain. The steaming saturates colors and heightens essential flavors. And another plus is the after effects are pain free, in terms of both connective tissue sensitivity and digestive tenderness. In fact, I even feel stronger when these kinds of dishes are the mainstay of meals.
I have to admit my Spring Soupalad was born from a spur of the moment decision. It was one of those days when the sun felt warm enough for me to throw off my sweater and kick off my shoes. Then it would duck behind a cloud, and I’d shiver and put everything back on again. Just as suddenly, warm lunch-in-one-bowl seemed like the way to go. Instead of heating the salad in the skillet, I dressed it, heated a small amount of leftover Everything But The Kitchen Sink Broth until it was really hot, and added a big scoop of brown rice to the broth. Then I dumped the rice and broth mixture on top of my salad. The result was a warm, tart, slightly sweet dish of starch and veggies made bright and a bit soft by the hot broth. I was plesantly astonished at how good it was. Good enough to make it again and tell you about it.
Of course you can use any combination of greens and veggies that sounds good to you, and change up seasonings or even the dressing for a different taste experience. Mine has a Mediterranean flair.
chopped purple cabbage
a stalk or two of broccolini chopped small
a bit of zucchini cut into half moons
1 or two sliced mushrooms
1/3 to 1/2 cup of white cannellini beans
1-2 tbs of Lemony Pear Dressing
1 cup of hot Everything But the Kitchen Sink Broth
1 cup of cooked brown rice
optional: chopped green onion or chives, a few spinach leaves and/or dandelion greens, garlic granules
Make a salad with the veggies and beans while the broth heats in a small sauce pan. When the broth is nice and hot, add the rice. Add some grated garlic or garlic granules or poultry seasoning if desired. When it’s all hot, pour it onto the salad. Top with green onions or chives, or extra poultry seasoning if desired. If weather permits, eat it outside in the sunshine. Savor every brightly colored, flavorful, and easy to digest spoonful.