Saturday morning farmers market

Ready made herb gardens

St. Petersburg FL has, in addition to its natural beauty and tourist attractions, one of the best farmer’s markets in the southeast. The array of fresh organic vegetables and fruits are a feast for the eyes. Worden Farms from Punta Gorda had the most gorgeous red kale and fat bunches of red and green leaf lettuce. I picked up a few heirloom tomatoes on my way to our friend John’s booth, Florida Fresh Live Herbs, in search of a spearmint plant. When I said that I was looking to replace one that had died, he told me that spearmint is native to the Northeast, and it’s too hot for it to thrive here. He recommended the Yerba Buena from Cuba, known for the distinctive flavor in a Mojito.

John holding my new Yerba Buena

He also has very nice herb gardens housed in handmade pine boxes. Perfect for your window or patio.

Don’t miss the fabulous food vendors. My favorite is the Twisted Indian. This morning I had a mango lassi with a chicken tikka masala in a buttermilk naan wrap with added avocado, heaven in your hand.

Bitter with the sweet

Chard is in season! You don’t want to miss this beautiful vegetable, it’s almost too pretty to eat. I sauté it in olive oil with garlic, salt and pepper the same way I make my collards, Brazilian style. It was the star of tonight’s delicious dinner featuring pork chops glazed with mustard and maple syrup, roasted sweet potatoes and cauliflower piccata. See the recipe page for full details.Recipes

The view from the tower

Riviera Bay

If you walk the trails at Weedon Island in St. Petersburg FL, be sure to climb the lookout tower. You’ll see islands of mangrove on oyster shell foundations in Riviera Bay with the St. Pete skyline in the background.

Baby osprey

St. Pete natives can hear the plaintive call of the osprey from the beaches to the bay. If you pay attention you can catch one flying off with a fish or a snake in their talons. We saw a mother feeding her young in this nest on the way to Weedon Island.

On Weedon Island

Be good scouts, leave it like you found it.

Jamie Oliver’s beet salad

My foodie cousin Bill sent me a picture today of a gorgeous beet salad from Jamie Oliver’s book, 5 ingredients. We took his five ingredients and raised it by a few items we had on hand.

Jamie Oliver’s beet salad

We roasted the baby beets with a sweet potato. The salad foundation became romaine, arugula, dandelion and radish micro greens. Walnuts probably work better with the feta and beet taste, but we opted for pecans. A few radishes added color and zest. The clementines and a balsamic vinaigrette brought it all together.

Our version

How can you go wrong with purple, red, orange and green?

Burger and Fries

My mom loves a good hamburger with French fries. In search of same, we landed in front of Siri’s Gourmet Burgers on Beach Blvd in Gulfport. It was lunch hour and most of the outdoor tables were full. As we hesitated on the sidewalk, we were greeted by a charming woman who said to us, “come, sit down, you will like it, we have good food at good prices.” I spotted a table for two on the deck and we complied with her insistence that we sit down. She encouraged us to order the special of cheeseburger, French fries and a drink for $8.99. She explained that she grinds the meat herself from three types of steak and hand cuts the potatoes with the skin on. Also the buns are baked fresh each day. It takes some time for them to cook each meal to order, but it’s worth the wait. Our burgers were cooked perfectly, my medium was just how I like it, cooked enough for safety but still juicy.

The charming Ting

Our host turned out to be Siri’s mother, Ting, and treated us like guests in her home.

Freshly baked !

Check out Siri’s Gourmet Burgers next time you’re in Gulfport. I’m going back to try the grouper sandwich.

What’s for dinner-Purple, Orange, Red and Green

Lycopene, Carotene, Anthocyanins, Goosefeet, oh my!

What did we do with those piles of colorful vegetables from the Farmer’s and Asian markets?

Dinner is easy when your kitchen is full of garden fresh vegetables. Slice some beets, eggplant, carrot, onion, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, coat with olive oil and salt and roast until just tender. Sauté some chard in olive oil with leek and garlic (can’t eat too much olive oil). Steam some fresh green beans until al dente. If you have good tomatoes, just slice and eat raw. If you have too many, you can create a treat by inserting mozzarella cheese in slits and bake with a few Panko crumbs.

You’ll have a beautiful vegetable plate and a number of important health benefits.

Purple vegetables like beets, purple cauliflower, red onion and eggplant are rich in anthocyanins. These phytonutrients are anti-inflammatory, lower blood pressure and reduce artery stiffness. They also enhance memory and inhibit cancer.

Orange vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes are full of the antioxidant carotenoids, including lutein and zeaxanthin for eye health. Carotenes also increase the integrity of epithelial lining of the respiratory tract.

Chard is a member of the goosefoot family along with beets and spinach and has important vitamins and minerals like magnesium and potassium. It has several flavonoid antioxidants including quercetin, kaempferol, rutin, and vitexin. Kaempferol is a powerful anti-inflammatory compound with anti-cancer properties.

Green beans reduce the levels of lectin in your body. See the Plant Parodox by Dr. Gundry for chapter and verse on the adverse effects of lectins.

Red vegetables typically contain lycopene, an antioxidant that protects the cell from free radical damage and reduces the risk of cancer, especially with hormone-positive breast cancer. It also helps to undo damage to collagen in the skin.

Are you already running to the fresh market? Nature provides us with such variety in every season. Try to buy organic produce from the local farmers if you can. Let us know what you find and how you prepared it.

The other 20%

We strive to keep our food intake at least 80% qualified for optimum health. Sometimes we crave a comfort food like the egg tarts below.

French and Hong Kong styles of egg tarts

I like the Hong Kong style, which are eggier and not too sweet. The French style has a thicker crust and lots more cream.

This was our adventure after lunch at Tasty Pho on 49th and Park Blvd. Their vegetable pho is my favorite.

Summer rolls at Tasty Pho

This shopping center has an enormous Oriental market, which has everything you could think of to want, fresh produce, frozen dumplings and buns, meat, fish, canned and jarred goods, dishes and cooking implements, and the reason for our foray into this exotic realm, a fantastic bakery.

Of course the kids in the candy shop couldn’t get to the register without an armful of goodies.

Kid in a candy shop

The jicama balanced precariously will be delicious in a slaw with mango, cilantro, lime juice and whatever slivered vegetables we want to add, probably carrot and red bell pepper.

Irresistible objects

We’ll find some use for the flowering chives, too pretty to resist. Don’t you love the cute little Indian eggplants?

Portal to New Life

I was scheduled to walk a portion of the El Camino de Santiago, the summer of 2019 with a close friend. During the overseas trip, we were going to visit additional European cities and I would also visit a dear friend and her family in Germany. In May 2019, I had an exam that revealed breast cancer. My summer vacation plans were discarded as I scrambled to find the best surgeon for me and determine next steps. In September 2019, as one birthday present, I bought tickets for Deidre and myself to attend a nutritional event composed of a panel of doctors (heart, general, radiologist, etc.). The program was about the benefits of eating plant vs animal protein, not eating refined grains (bread), nor sugar. The theme was to eat as many raw vegetables as one can.

As May knocked at my door saying I had breast cancer, I started scurrying about to figure out what I needed to do.  By mid-July, I had seen 4 surgeons, 2 radiologists, 3 oncologists, had a lumpectomy and had a prognostic gene signature assay to determine my likelihood of reoccurrence. The assay said I had a score of 62.  I was in the high risk category.  Additionally, the two lymph nodes that were removed indicated I had micro-metastatic carcinoma in both. I was faced with a decision of next steps: have radiation or a combination of radiation and chemotherapy or….

Study, discussion, paying attention to my intuition, realizing how chemotherapy wrecks the immune system, knowing radiation works well- but only for the area radiated, I needed to decide what treatment I would pursue. At my age, I questioned whether radiating the beast would offer much benefit. Also radiation would do little to reduce any stray cancer cell that might have already migrated from my lymph nodes. Fortunately only micro-metastatic, not macro-metastatic, cells were found. Again age was to my advantage. If I could find a way to reduce growth/maturity of cancerous cells, then I should be able to make it to my normal life span, before I had major problems. Hard to decide what to do — correct? Regardless it is evident that I needed to build my immune system and inhibit abnormal cell growth.

After the September nutritional plant based conference, I scheduled a radiologist doctor’s appointment with one of the speakers. During the discovery process of why me for no logical reason of which I could think, I found that fat and adrenals produce estrogen in women over a certain age. Being a solid 30-40 pounds overweight, I figured mine was due to fat.   

End result, I decided I needed to do things to support a healthy body that would inhibit abnormal cell growth, rather than use treatment that would add stress to my system. I decided no radiation, no chemotherapy and no pill to block estrogen. Instead of the anti-blocking pharmaceutical pill to block estrogen, I use rosemary.  Rosemary is associated with being a powerful antioxidant with anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory benefits with anti-microbial and direct benefits for breast and prostate health. It works by helping break down estrogen into the safer anti-cancer metabolites. My local oncologist was not happy with my choice of not following “normal” medical treatment.  Instead of normal medical treatment, I changed my diet and take vitamins and nutritional supplements.  After 14 months, I gradually dropped 35 pounds. Thus hopefully, no more estrogen due to fat cells. 

Because it is difficult to change one’s life style habits, I developed a support partnership with Deidre. The reason you see food pictures on the “Kindred Spirit blog” is to benefit whoever is interested in a healthy diet. The script and pictures provide examples of my diet plan, documenting visually food that helps reduce/control weight and that provide antioxidants to support immunity and healthy cell growth. I eat no refined sugars, avoid processed meats, eat as many raw vegetables and fruit as I can, try to restrict bread or use gluten free product, restrict the volume and control the quality of the meat I do eat. OK, I am not saying I am 100% diligent, but I achieve at least 80% on a regular basis.

Deidre is a Shaklee representative, so as part of my plan I ask her assistance in determining the vitamins and supplements (polyphenols and antioxidants) that I need to take to protect against oxidative stress with its associated pathologies of cancer, coronary heart disease and inflammation.  It is difficult to get all the vitamins and minerals we need from food alone, so the vitamins and supplements I take are adjusted for my particular case.

Each person has to decide for themselves what their approach should be when faced with major decisions that affect their spark of being- whether physical and mental. All choices have associated risks. Each choice leads down its own path. I believe for me, I made the best health choice particularly since COVID-19 followed with its implication of targeting weak immune systems. If you want to know more about products that can be useful to help strengthen your immune system or balance vitamins to support what you are hoping to achieve (e.g. more energy, reduced inflammation, bone health…) or even more info on my diet plan, contact Deidre at dtaylorlines@outlook.com.

My desire is that my story will provide hope and an additional source of information as needed.  As a photography acquaintance of mine says “Make it a great day, tomorrow isn’t promised.”

With “no promise for tomorrow,”  thrive and find pleasure in your daily interactions with people and our beautiful earth. Be grateful for all your precious moments. We are each given one life in this earthly time line; treat it as a precious jewel to be shared. Use it wisely.

NN