What are you up to this weekend?
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We're going to be laying low .. sleeping in .. and listening to college football on the radio
This past week The Chef was traveling for work .. while I held down the fort. It's always nice to be together again.
I've been taking a photography class on Tuesday nights .. so while he was away .. mission one was to work on my homework.
Take a picture of something in motion (think water coming from a hose) .. with fast and then slow shutter speeds. How about something in motion (think moving car or a puppy running) .. where the object is clear in the picture and the background is blurry. Make a line of little objects (think pawns from the game of Sorry!) .. turn the table so you're taking the picture of them at an angle .. and focus on the 5th one in.
My goodness, it's all so much harder than it looks (!)
This weekend too .. my Mom and I are going to take a small road trip to Minneapolis to celebrate my Grandma's birthday. I can't wait to ask her about the vintage photo of her when she was young .. looking absolutely radiant and chic.
The conclusion today .. of a short series about calcium.
Part I covered the many wonderful things calcium does for our bodies. It also touched on two important nutrients it partners with .. magnesium and vitamin D
Part II discussed how much our bodies need .. what are some of the factors affecting absorption .. and the best sources of calcium in the foods we eat.
The kidneys are a big player when it comes to removing excess calcium. When our bones are full .. and we still have more calcium than we need .. all of the heavy lifting falls on our kidneys. Certainly .. if it's a once in a while occurrence .. they're able to play their part in the removal process without worry.
On the other hand .. if excess calcium is an ongoing problem .. our kidneys are bound to get very tired. When our kidneys grow weary .. instead of being eliminated .. the calcium will instead .. get stashed somewhere else in the body
Often it'll be deposited into soft tissue, where it will form crystals, causing tissue calcification around our joints. This is not only painful .. but a contributor to osteoporosis. For example .. in cases of spine calcification .. people might hear some cracking or snapping when they try to move a joint or flex a muscle one way or another.
Another common place for these deposits to be found is in the kidneys themselves .. aka: kidney stones. Before our body tries to pass a kidney stone .. we don't think anything about them. But that all changes when they're excreted via urine .. yikes .. they're
Excess calcium can also contribute to constipation (it's contracting mineral).
Once calcium builds up in our bodies .. it can interfere with the absorption of other minerals. In particular .. manganese .. iron .. magnesium .. and zinc. (It's considered to be toxic at levels higher than 2,000 mg/day)
Signs and symptoms are certain to arise when there's a deficiency of calcium.
One of the most common is insomnia .. because we're not able to relax. Another is irritability. In this case, it's almost a “which came first .. chicken or the egg” kind of question. As all of us can attest .. if we're not sleeping we're likely to be irritable. If we're irritable .. it can be hard to relax enough to fall asleep.
Other signs and symptoms include extreme sensitivity to both sound and pain .. or increased heart palpitations. There could also be numbing or tingling .. and muscle cramps (especially in our feet or legs).
Over time .. after prolonged calcium deficiencies .. a classic symptom can be Rickets (which is also a deficiency in Vitamin D). Then there is osteomalacia .. and osteoporosis.
Osteomalacia is a softening of the bones. It's a consequence of too many withdrawals from our bones to provide the blood with the calcium it needs. If there isn't enough calcium in our bones .. they'll actually become soft and weak .. and will bend
In Osteoporosis .. the bones are much more fragile and porous .. which makes them susceptible to fractures and breaks
Remember that not everyone needs to supplemental calcium and that it's always best to talk with your health care professional before starting to take anything new.
A few things to keep in mind
I'd encourage you to get an accounting of how much calcium you're actually getting from your diet. (especially if you're eating a lot of fortified foods). Between supplements and designer foods .. it's easy to be above an acceptable limit .. and really beyond what's even considered save.
It's really hard to get too much calcium from a diet of primarily whole foods
From there .. check your symptoms to see if you have any that are associated with getting too much or too little calcium. Also, think about some of the common depletors .. the most notable being soda .. caffeine .. nicotine .. and alcohol
Other depletors include antacids .. because they alkalinize the stomach. Without acidity, in our stomachs, we're not going to be able to use the calcium. Excess fiber is also a problem (there are a lot of people supplementing with extra fiber). Calcium will bind to the fiber .. making it unavailable to our cells.
Standing in the supplement aisle at your local health food store .. there will be many to choose from
You'll want to look for the forms that are most absorbable. Calcium citrate is probably the best. It's a chelated mineral .. which means it's bound to a protein .. and therefore will cross the cell membrane and be more fully used.
Also .. calcium lactate and calcium glycinate are other good forms. Calcium hydroxyapatite is most like our bones .. and will be very well absorbed.
Forms to avoid? Calcium oxide .. calcium sulfate .. calcium carbonate .. and dolomite. Research suggests they have the lowest absorption rates.
A fun cheesecake recipe for the weekend. The recipe one of many I experimented with when looking for something perfect to take to a baby shower
If you've been suspicious of cashew based vegan desserts .. I'd encourage you to give them a try. This semi-raw .. vegan .. and gluten-free cake is a wonderful one to start with. It's creamy .. perfectly sweet .. slightly tart .. luscious .. smooth .. and satisfying.
The bottom layer of toasted coconut .. along with dates .. is a nice replacement for the crust of a more traditional cheesecake. The filling made of coconut cream and cashews .. doesn't have a cashew taste that many raw cheesecakes tend to have.
Topped with a blend of mango and strawberries .. for a tropical flair
Note: The cake stores really well in the freezer .. so it's one you can make days in advance. Simply take it out and refrigerate at least two hours prior to serving.
~ Adapted from Earthsprout
Vegan Cheesecake with Tropical Topping
- Caramel Base
- 3 cups shredded coconut
- 1 cup heaping dates, pitted
- 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
- Vanilla Filling
- 2 cups cashew soaked for at least 5 hours
- 2 cans full-fat coconut milk yields ~ 2 cups coconut cream
- 1 tsp vanilla ** note: the original called for ground vanilla powder
- 3 Tbsp raw honey
- a pinch fine grain salt
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/2 cup water
- Tropical Topping
- 1 ripe mango peeled
- 1/2 cup strawberries chopped
- Caramel Base
- Toast the shredded coconut until golden in a frying pan over low to medium heat.
- To your food processor, add the toasted coconut, dates and sea salt and mix until a dough has formed.
- Press evenly into an 8 or 9-inch springform pan (If you don’t have a spring-form pan use a pie plate lined with saran wrap).
- Vanilla Filling
- Refrigerate the coconut milk for at least 1 hour.
- Open the cans of coconut milk and scoop the top layer of solid white cream into a blender
- Rinse the soaked cashews and add them + all other ingredients to the blender.
- Blend until really smooth. (This might take a while and require you pausing and scraping down the filling from the sides of the blender)
- Pour the vanilla filling over the bottom layer in your <g class="gr_ gr_189 gr-alert gr_spell gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim ContextualSpelling ins-del" id="189" data-gr-id="189">spring form</g>.
- Freeze for 3-4 hours
- Tropical Topping
- Prepare the topping while the cheesecake is chilling in the freezer
- In your food processor or blender, add the mango and strawberries. Blend until smooth
- Top the cheesecake just before serving.