Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Poor Poet's Healthy Beans, Rice, Salsa Diet

Most of the world, in contrast to the U.S., consumes a very simple diet that usually includes some form of carbohydrate such as rice or noodles and some form of bean, be it pintos or lentils. Even the bible recommends simple foods in contrast to the lush feasts of the wealthy.

Fast food, processed flours and sugars, and artifically colored or flavored foods, since their arrival in our culture, has resulted in elevated cholesterol, heart disease and cancers, and pun intended, widespread obesity.

As a poor poet, one of the best investments you can make is in a 25-pound sack of organic short-grain rice and another equal size sack of organic, dried pinto beans. Add some chunky, fresh salsa and you can make complete meals for weeks.

Easy cooking tips:
RICE -- Match two-and-a-quarter cups water with one cup of brown rice, bring to a boil, immediately reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 45 minutes.
BEANS -- Soak beans overnight in water to cover. When ready to cook, drain water to get rid of a lot of the gas and replace with fresh water in cooking pot, just enough to cover beans. Add chopped garlic and onions if you wish as well as a little salt. Bring to boil then immediately reduce heat to low, cover and cook for an hour. Keep checking to see if beans are soft enough. When they are, remove cover, mash beans, raise heat a little and continue to cook and mash until water is absorbed and beans look like "refried beans." No oil was used in the process -- mucho low-cal!
SALSA -- Chop tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, avocados, cilantro, maybe a little garlic and add lime juice, salt and whatever seasonings you prefer. A healthy pico de gallo with kick!

Like a poor poet's wealth in words, here's food that's good, healthy and cheap! ◦

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Be a Poet, Not a Hoarse

While this is a journal writing blog, it is poetry, poetry writing and reading poetry aloud that are my original, closest and dearest disciplines.

Have you ever tried reading at an open mic or a featured 20-minute reading with a whopping case of laryngitis?

Jitters can occasionally tighten my vocal cords, too, and make it harder to deliver without sounding hoarse or more faint. There are a few natural measures you can take to alleviate hoarseness before a reading. One of the best throat coaters and soothers is room-temperature pineapple juice. Drink it throughout the afternoon and bring a couple of cans to your reading.

Another tried-and-true voice reliever is slippery elm. There are several teas available. The smell (and taste) remind me of country straw, but it is an acquired taste that grows more pleasant the more often you drink the stuff. Unfortunately, the slippery elm lozenges available are fairly awful tasting, but work well.

Of course, drinking pure room temperature water keeps your throat hydrated. You might think a glass of wine, or maybe two, might lubricate your throat while also loosening your delivery. But, actually, liquor just might dry you out even more and you might end up slurring the words of your poems. Believe me, I know from experience. ◦