Island Epicure


For a long time I spurned canola oil because, though it claim to be a source of Omega-3 fats, it doesn’t really have very much. It is a pretty good source of alpha linolenic acid (ALA}, needed by victims of gout and other forms of arthritis. Numbness in fingers and toes is also relieved by a diet high in ALA.

Sour cherries in any form–fresh, dried, or canned reduce arthritic pain and numbness of fingers and toes. Other sources of ALA are:  lettuce, broccoli, spinach, kale, beans–especially lima beans, navy, and pinto beans.

But its my back that’s killing me, you say? Then you need more of two minerals that work together to mitigate your pain: Calcium and Magnesium. Almonds have both. Spinach gives you lots of each. One cup, boiled, yields 245 milligrams of calcium and 157 milligrams of magnesium.

Children whose backs hurt need to be seen promptly by a doctor. Anyone with back pain may have blocked arteries leading to their spine. I credit the pomegranate juice I drink every day with keeping my arteries “as clear as a two-year olds,” as one cardiollogist put it.

“Whatever you do,” says Dr. Neal Barnard, “don’t stay in bed.  Keep active and flexible.” He says to stay out of bed between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.

I recommend the mild movements of Chinese exercises of tai chi or qi gong.  I’m always in an optimistic mood after doing qi gong, and feeling less of whatever pains I had.

Foodwise:  salads featuring lettuce, de-stemmed raw spinach, raw peas, and well-cooked lima beans  with a dressing of canola oil and your choice of vinegars will supply a goodly amount of ALA. We like to use spinach leaves, uncooked, as a base for either vegetable salad or fruit salad.

Remember that cane sugar makes all pains feel worse. Avoid it. I use coconut sugar or honey in small amounts when sweetening is necessary.

White Bean Salad
4 servings

2 cups canned white beans, drained, rinsed under cold running water and drained again
¼ cup olive oil or canola oil
¼ cup lemon juice, seeds strained out
2 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint
1 tablespoon finely chopped dill
1 Tomato cut into eight wedges
2 hard boiled eggs, quartered
8 black olives
Salt and white pepper
Dark green lettuce leaves or spinach leaves

In a salad bowl beat together the oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Blend well with a fork or whisk.

Add the drained beans. Mix gently but well. Refrigerate until serving time. Sprinkle the scallions, dill, parsley and mint over all. Garnish with tomato wedges, eggs, and olives. Serve on salad plates lined with lettuce leaves