acorn squash cut in half

Day 43: Squashed!

I’m hopeful today. In addition to the facts that I can actually see across the Puget Sound to the Olympic Mountains, the Orcas have been romping around the southern islands lately, and I actually saw a patch of something blue in the sky above my head yesterday, I’m trying out squash. Squash! Come on, I know you are on the edge of your seat. Since squash is more likely to be part of my reality than clear skies for the next six months, I’ll talk about that.

I love squash. I said “love” with a sugary sweet, suth-un belle accent. “Luuuuuv” and a Dr. Evil pout after it, too. I never had squash growing up. I have forgiven my mom, and anyhow, I probably would have rejected it due to its texture. Or its color. Or because it wasn’t green beans or carrots. Baked squash is like nature’s candy, if you do it right. Don’t quote me if you expect that out of spaghetti squash, but the others – acorn, butternut, delicata, red kuri, pumpkin, blue, and more, deliver a natural sweetness packed with excellent nutritional value such as …

[brain fart. is this thyroid brain fog or pms or perimenopause? i have so many medical, dietary, technical, scientific words wandering around my brain these days, the word i need has eluded me and all i can dredge up is … words like anaerobic, salicylates, antigen, antibodies… ]

… antioxidants! *brain back online* … excellent nutritional value such as antioxidants and vitamins, and fun colors to add to a dish.

acorn squash cut in half

i’m a really ripe acorn squash… i used to be green!

I’m “testing” squash today – in other words, reintroducing it to my diet, per the autoimmune elimination/provocation diet guidelines. With a new or reintroduced food, you eat it three times in one day, and then wait 72 hours without adding anything else new, to see if any reactions happen. Many people have delayed reactions, so the waiting time is important.

I eliminated it because it is too high sugar for some people with Hashimoto’s, and, since I had some weird itching going on with my feet two weeks ago, I decided to eliminate it and play it safe. No, the itching was not something growing on my feet. Turns out it’s a reaction I’ve been having to high-salicylate foods like avocado. Though I did notice last week that there is actually moss growing on my street. No, I mean ON the pavement. It’s just wrong. My feet were a hot mess last night. Literally; hot, angry, itchy, swollen. Fine by morning. It’s been like this every night for almost two weeks; I finally found out about salicylates, which are a substance in many fruits and veges, that some people react to with similar symptoms. Turns out avocado and coconut are high in salicylates, and guess what I’ve been eating a LOT of… The good news is many reactive people can consume them just fine if they figure out their threshold – so I’m decreasing my coconut intake dramatically, and we’ll see. I’ve cut out avocado completely.

Today I baked a very ripe acorn squash (see pic, it’s orange, not green any more!), and with breakfast, had it with salt and olive oil. Check out my simple recipe for baked squash, you won’t be disappointed. Muy delicioso. For lunch I discovered what may become my newest secret delicacy… I steamed part of it, upside down, in a bit of home-made coconut milk. Sprinkle with salt. Slurp.

I’ve taken to steaming/poaching a lot lately. I don’t even keep a microwave in my house. No, don’t start a conversation about it with me, you’ll get the hand. I grew up with an old one that I’m convinced was leaky, and every time I see a micro now, I expect small green men to come climbing out, carrying the food. I like my food’s molecules to stay where they started, not rearranged into new and sinister substances (do your reading, it’s out there). Back to steaming – I like to steam my veggies instead of sautéing. And when I reheat my yummy turkey sausages, I put them in a stainless steel pan and add about a 1/8 cup of water to steam them, lid on. It makes them soft and moist again, instead of leathery like they get when reheated in a frying pan. I am trying to stay away from heated oils as much as possible, to reduce my exposure to rancidity and the ensuing free radicals that are so harmful. Some foods must be sautéed, but when I can, I avoid heating oils. Maybe I’ll write a post about that sometime soon.

Going to finish my coconut-steamed acorn squash now…