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Monday, June 22, 2015

Fit and Feeling Fine After Fifty

Well I feel better than “fine,” but I couldn’t resist the alliteration of the title.

I have had an all-consuming job for years, and it has prevented me from attending to this blog in the manner I would like and as was my original intent when I started this blog years ago. I have taken a major step to simplify my life by leaving the job I loved (and hated for its demands on me). Now one of my goals for this new phase of my life is to do better with my lifestyle blog (have another on grammar, but this one is my passion). 

Other than leaving my job - a decision I made in the interest of maintaining my health - not much has changed in terms of the way I eat and stay physically fit. I still focus on eating foods that are health-enhancing. With the reduction in caloric needs as we age, I even try to avoid neutral foods - those that don't necessarily harm my health, but don't improve it, either. I am still working on my husband's choices where these types of foods are concerned. As long as something is organic and tasty, he'll buy it and bring it into my line of site - something that makes me crazy when it is key lime pie or another delectible treat that tempts in ways that are sometimes too difficult to resist. It is not enough to be non-GMO and organic in my book. A corn chip fried in organic canola oil and made from organic corn is still a corn chip. Yesterday was Father's Day, so I made him a completely non-GMO taco salad and ate it with him, but it's not something we need to be on more nutritious foods. 

I love finding ways to enjoy the types of dishes I love made out of only health-enhancing foods. If you buy tortillas at your local grocery store, you are probably eating trash food (check the ingredients and compare the list to any recipe you find for DIY tortillas; you’ll be shocked). So I started making my own tortillas that are made only from REAL FOOD. I found great recipes that I love for whole wheat and white tortillas, but I hadn’t been able to find the corn flour I needed (at a price the average person like me could really afford) for the one recipe that looked similar to my favorite Trader Joe’s corn and wheat tortillas. So I kept buying TJ’s knowing that the company claims to use no GMOs for foods carrying their labels. Their unwillingness to be transparent about their suppliers and the lack of a “non-GMO” claim on the tortilla package, however, always makes me nervous. I finally found a recipe that calls for cornmeal, something I can easily find, and they meet my “Could Grandma Buy This?” criteria. These tortillas are fabulous in my mom’s authentic taco recipe and as a “meatier” base (compared to the organic corn tortillas I can buy in the frozen section at Whole Foods) for many of my favorite quick meals. They are even easier to make than wheat tortillas because you don’t knead them. It is pretty much like making pancakes. 

Note: I carefully measured the batter (1/4 C) and diameter (6”) of my tortillas as I made them, and I only got 16 tortillas from the recipe. So my nutritional information is based on a count of 16, not the purported 24. Please also note the specific ingredients I used, as this is what makes them non-GMO. And just FYI - I buy free-range eggs from a farmer, not organic eggs. I am always suspicious about “organic” and “vegetarian” claims on free-range eggs because chickens aren’t vegetarians, and if they truly are roaming around eating whatever they can find as is their nature, how can they be “organic”? That measure of control over their diet pretty much guarantees to me that the animals are confined. 

Corn and Wheat Tortillas




Start with this recipe, use the non-GMO version of each ingredient (see table below), then follow the procedures outlined in the recipe. 



Storage: Since these are not chemical-laden with preservatives, I freeze what I am not going to use this week. After I cool them on a rack, I place a small piece of unbleached wax paper on top of each tortilla to keep them from sticking together. 


Meal Ideas Using Corn and Wheat Tortillas



  • Toast them in a toaster oven until slightly rigid, then layer them with avocado slices, gorgonzola cheese (or feta, if you prefer), and roasted red peppers (I use jarred organic red peppers from Whole Foods)
  • Cut them into triangles, toast them in a toaster oven (then I leave them in the hot toaster oven to harden without becoming too brown), then serve them with hummus. You'll need to start these "chips" earlier in the day if making them for a family. 
  • Lightly fry them on both sides using a cast iron griddle with a small amount of olive or avocado oil, fill them with a mixture of one pound cooked 100% grass-fed ground beef and a can of organic pinto beans (I process them in a food processor) with two teaspoons of minced garlic. Then brown them on both sides for INCREDIBLE tacos. Make them really healthy by using spinach instead of lettuce, raw milk cheddar cheese, avocado slices, organic roasted red pepper strips, organic salsa and plain whole milk yogurt (instead of sour cream). I get all of these ingredients at Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. 
  • Sauté baby portobello mushrooms in Kerrygold grass-fed butter. Brown both sides of the tortilla in the hot griddle with remnant butter, then fill them with the mushrooms and cheese (while they are still hot enough to melt the shredded cheese) and fold them in half like a taco. 


Until Next Time . . . 

Please plan to follow my blog as I share ideas, tips, and recipes that help me stay healthy and fit as I age. I don’t pretend to be an expert at anything, but I know that anyone who is dissatisfied with the way he or she feels upon waking each day can make small changes that will undoubtedly improve the person’s general feeling of well-being and stamina. It is definitely more difficult after the age of fifty when youth is no longer on one’s side, but it can be done. I have done it. I got sick and tired of feeling sick and tired and did something about it. I lost 60 pounds in 2008 and have never looked back. To read that story, see my "Then and Nowblog from April 2013.







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