Saturday, January 21, 2017

Bacon Seitan with Mushroom Cauliflower - Vegan

I'm officially obsessed with Mushroom broth!

You can find it at Whole Foods and it's a great starter to replace oil if you want to saute mushrooms, onions, or any other veggies, and it adds a ton of flavor to your recipes.

For lunch today I wanted to whip up something fast, but healthy and filling, so I came up with this recipe. Let me know what you think. It earned two thumbs up from my family.

Serving size - 2 heaping portions
(Double the ingredients for a family of 4)


3 to 4 cups of mushroom broth (or you can use vegetable)
4 mushrooms rinsed and sliced
4 cups of cauliflower, chopped small
2 whole green onions, diced
1/2 package of bacon seitan
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 cup almond slices (for topping)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Wash and chop the green onions into small pieces
2. Heat large skillet over low heat and add about 1/2 cup of the mushroom broth, just enough to saute the onions. Throw in the onions and stir occasionally to keep them from burning.
3. Rinse and slice mushrooms and add them to the pan. Splash in more of the broth as you go. I added a splash about every 3 minutes. Keep stirring occasionally and cook about 5 minutes. The onions should be sauteed by the time you chop and add the cauliflower.
4. Rinse and chop the cauliflower and add to the pan.
5. Chop the seitan into small pieces and add to the mixture and top with the remaining mushroom broth. Kick up the heat just enough to saute the vegetables.
6. Add smoked paprika and salt and pepper.
7. Cook until the cauliflower is to your desired tenderness, about 5 more minutes, adding more mushroom broth as necessary to keep it from drying out.
 8. Plate it when ready and top with almond pieces or slices for crunch. I added a slice of whole wheat toast (no butter) on the side.

Jody Ortiz, Author, "8 Simple Steps to Internet Success"

(All material on this blog copyrighted and ISBN filed. Permission to share only when including link or proper citation.)

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

CRPS Natural Healing Plan, Day 1

Last March my daughter, Chelsi, was a healthy, normal full-time college student. 

On March 6th, the doctor ordered routine yearly blood work and the results were troublesome with several of her numbers in the high range.

On March 19th, while walking her dogs, Chelsi tripped in a hole, sprained her right ankle and landed in the gravel on her left knee. She's always been clumsy and spends a lot of time on crutches, so her injury was sadly nothing new. 


Within a few weeks of what we thought was her recovery process, redness, swelling, and heat started in her right knee, the one she didn't hurt. The symptoms started as a rash and moved down to her feet over a period of weeks. She couldn't stand anything to touch it other than ice and she had to use her boot in bed because the blankets or pillows touching her foot bothered her. At this time, we used the RICE method on her. Rest Ice Compression (with Ace bandages and the boot) and Elevation. I ran back and forth to the freezer every hour for fresh ice and she iced her knee and ankle for 15 minutes, every hour. We kept an ice chest beside her bed at night so she could continue to ice at night. The doctor gave her mild pain pills, but nothing helped with the pain. The only relief she got was from ice so she quit taking the pills.

Chelsi went to physical therapy for five weeks, had multiple MRI's, visited two orthopedic doctors and two general doctors. Nobody knew what was going on. One orthopedic doctor said that she was 80% healed and that she was fine. The other orthopedic doctor identified her symptoms as some sort of rash, and said it must be Lupus. All of those tests came back negative.

The physical therapist suggested that she try pool therapy since she couldn't walk without her crutches and we still didn't have a diagnosis. After one visit to the pool, a rash developed on the top of her feet. We thought it was pool rash. Since the physical therapist didn't know what else to do with her, she released Chelsi after five weeks of therapy. She was still unable to walk or bear any weight at all. The rash, redness, and heat continued to spread down her right leg and started to develop on her left leg as well. Within a few days of starting on her left leg it went down both legs and to the bottom of her feet. 

 Without any help or diagnosis, we decided to continue with the pool therapy and we joined a gym that had handicap facilities in the shower and a handicap lift for the pool. She worked with a trainer for a few weeks and expanded upon what the physical therapist had done, but each time she put any strain on her body, she would only get worse.


I was concerned about DVT because she had not walked in several months so I tortured her daily with compression hose. She cried as I put them on and took them off, but I wasn't sure what else we could do.

In July, a friend of mine said she had a family member with a rare syndrome called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome or CRPS. It had formerly been known as RSD, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome. After a quick Internet search, I found that the symptoms described with the syndrome matched Chelsi's - the hot patches, severe pain, swelling, need for constant cold, and the aversion to the slightest touch on her legs and feet. I spoke with her doctor and he agreed, but wanted a rheumatologist to make the final diagnosis. Both doctors agreed, she had CRPS, an incurable syndrome that came with a truckload of bad news and gloomy outcomes.

To make matters worse, we discovered that icing her legs was detrimental to people who have CRPS. The ice freezes the protection around the nerves and actually causes the issue to spread. So the only thing that was helping her at the time was no longer an option. That's when we switched to peppermint oil, castor oil, and cool wet cloths. I rub the oils on her legs at least once a day and sometimes add rosemary or lavender and she keeps a bowl of water near her bed to dip the cloths and wet them.

The doctors prescribed Gabapenten and anti-inflammatory medicine, which didn't help with the pain. Instead it made her sick. She threw up continuously one night and we thought we'd have to take her to the emergency room, but the vomiting finally stopped and she slowly weaned herself from the medication.

After a couple of months at the gym, the manager decided to move the shower chair, but it wasn't properly installed. Chelsi sat down and the chair shifted slightly. I thought she was fine. I turned my back to get her shampoo that fell from the bench and it collapsed, throwing her onto the hard tile floor where she injured her tailbone and bruised her backside. Now it hurts for her to walk, lie down, and sit up straight. She takes all of her meals in bed on a tray, but she can't sit up to eat them properly because her tailbone constantly hurts. CRPS spreads with injury and it quickly spread up to her tailbone.

With nothing but gloom and doom is Chelsi's future, I reached out to the local CRPS group and spoke to the leader, a very nice, very informed woman who told me that Chelsi would need treatments such as ketamine infusions, spinal injections, and powerful pain medications. As someone who is essentially adverse to the thought of taking long term medications or doing harsh procedures, I believe I was in shock. Before we hung up the phone, she told me that CRPS is also known as the suicide disease. Let's just say that I became a mom on a mission. I was going to prove everyone wrong, heal my daughter, and life would go back to normal.

I started my mission by searching for cutting edge treatments in the healing of CRPS. I found a program which consisted of a dedicated team of scientists and a manual ligament therapist and they were doing a one week clinic in Tennessee and had one open slot. This was late August. I signed Chelsi up and within a couple of days we were loaded up and headed to Tennessee. There, we found hope. We found the answers for which we had been searching and learned natural ways to deal with Chelsi's pain, both of our fears, and the manual ligament therapy helped to relieve her pain enough for her to walk without her crutches, but it didn't relieve the symptoms. The colors in her legs started to change from red to blue and they looked more uniform.

 After we returned home, Chelsi continued to take a few steps, walking from her bedroom to her bathroom a few times per day and she remained dedicated to the stretches and other exercises that she learned in the program. We finally had hope that she could beat CRPS.

A few weeks later in October, after a campaign to get the program to come to our home state, the program director called and someone anonymously paid for Chelsi to have a second week of treatment in Tennessee. It was such a blessing, but we no longer had use of the wheelchair with a lift that raised her to the height of the truck. At home we use her small truck with a wheelchair carrier on the back, but it wouldn't make the trip to Tennessee. She had to climb up and down a ladder to get in and out of my truck, and the 10 hour drive took a lot out of her, but we went for a second week. After the second day of treatment, Chelsi developed a twitch in her face and head, which eventually went throughout her body. We left Tennessee with much more education than we had before, but Chelsi plummeted once we returned home and she lost her ability to walk even a few steps. For days she couldn't move, except for the shaking and twitching. Now, when we ask her a question, we have to wait for a verbal response because her head often shakes like she's saying "no." This video was taken the day we returned from the trip.


 It took several weeks for her to recover, and it's been a slow process. She takes everything day by day, struggling to get in and out of her wheelchair, doing everything in bed, but we haven't lost hope. I'm not sure why the second week of treatment didn't work as well as the first. It could have something to do with the havoc done to her body during traveling or it could be whatever else is going on in her system that's still a mystery.


Either way, the program in Tennessee saved us, showing us that there is a future for those who suffer from CRPS and there is another way to deal with the issues. When she's up to it, Chelsi stretches her legs on a massage table. For pain, we use oils, wet cloths, and she meditates, listens to music, and works on relaxation. Anyone who has CRPS will tell you that pain medications don't work and they have to go through multiple treatments to get any relief. If you have CRPS or know someone who does, please research stories of healing. There are several available and many of them include rest, relaxation, and natural methods. Under doctor supervision, that is our plan for Chelsi.


In the past few days, the blood work numbers that were so worrisome last year before all of this started were rechecked. They're even higher. I posed a question in the local CRPS group and nobody responded as having the same outcome of their blood work. I haven't found anything linking her test results to CRPS. So there may be something else going on. We have 4 weeks to get her numbers down before the doctor looks at other alternatives.

Chelsi is currently not taking any medication, and we plan to use what we learned at the program along with plant based nutrition to heal her body. I just completed the certificate program with eCornell to learn how to heal her through nutrition and Chelsi is enrolled in the health coach program at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Between the two programs, we have full confidence that she will one day be well.

I'm starting this online diary to hopefully help others in Chelsi's condition to have hope for a cure. We've seen it. Every person is different. Every case of CRPS is different. You just have to figure out what works for you. Anything is possible. Hopefully this information will help in finding a cure or it will reach someone who just needs to know they're not alone.

This is Chelsi today.


For day 1, Chelsi started her day with a carrot juice, consisting of carrot tops, 5 whole carrots, juice from 1/2 a lemon, and ginger. She drinks some kind of green juice for breakfast daily.

For lunch she ate leftover brussels sprouts salad (I'll post the recipe later) over romaine lettuce with a slice of whole grain bread covered with pico de gallo.

For dinner she will have leftover vegan lasagna. You can find the recipe on this blog. Vegan Lasagna

To promote cell health within her body, we're focusing on a whole food plant based diet, avoiding oils, meat, dairy, sugar, and processed foods, and heavy on grains, legumes, and vegetables.

Please keep her in your prayers. If #Obamacare is cancelled, Chelsi will be without medical insurance. Please share her story with lawmakers who can make a difference and ensure that people like Chelsi aren't left without much needed medical care. Thank you!

Jody Ortiz, Author, "8 Simple Steps to Internet Success"

(All material on this blog copyrighted and ISBN filed. Permission to share only when including link or proper citation.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Vegan Lasagna with Cashew Cheese

 One of my signature dishes has always been lasagna. It was the meal I made when I wanted to impress someone, and it's still a family favorite to this day.

There is one huge difference in the cheesy, meat filled lasagnas I made in the past - now I make it vegan. It's still delicious with the red sauce and noodles, but so much more nutritious and you won't feel guilty after eating a hefty serving.

This recipe is for a 9 x 13 pan.


1/4 cup mushroom stock (or vegetable stock)
1/2 onion, diced
8 large mushrooms of your choice (I used baby portabella)
1 can tomato paste
1 can tomato sauce
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp dried Italian mixed seasoning (or your own mixture)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cashews
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup water for cashew cheese
1 box of lasagna noodles (I use rice noodles)
4 yellow or zucchini squash, peeled and cut into thin slices  (I used 2 of each)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast for cashew cheese plus extra for topping
Your favorite vegan cheese for topping or to add to layers
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Peel and slice squash and wash and slice mushrooms.

2. Start a large pot of boiling water and a pinch of salt to use for noodles.
3. Bring enough water to a boil to cover the cashews and pour over the cashews in a glass bowl. Cover with foil and set aside to soften the cashews.
4. Add half of the mushroom stock to a hot pan and throw in the squash. Turn the heat to low, stirring often, and saute until the squash soften. About five minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
6. Add the other half of the mushroom stock to a medium sized sauce pan and toss in mushrooms and onions. Saute over low heat until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
7. Pour in the wine and cook until the wine reduces, about 4 minutes.
8. Add the tomato paste, tomato sauce, one clove of garlic, cilantro, and seasonings to the mushrooms and turn the heat down to the lowest setting, stir occasionally.
9. Add your noodles to the boiling water and follow package directions.
10. Drain the cashews and put them into a food processor or blender with the other clove of garlic. Squeeze the lemon juice into the cashews along with 1/4 cup nutritional yeast and add 1/4 cup water. Blend and add water as necessary until the mixture begins to stick together. Set aside.
11. By this time your sauce should be ready. When your noodles are finished, drain them and set up an assembly station with your 9x13 pan in the center of your sauce, cashew mixture, noodles, squash, nutritional yeast for topping and whatever vegan cheese you want to add.
12. Assemble the lasagna with mushroom sauce on bottom, just enough to cover the pan. Then a layer of squash, lined up side by side, topped with noodles, cashew cheese, vegan cheese, and nutritional yeast. Repeat this pattern for 3 layers, leaving enough sauce to cover the top.
13. Cook lasagna in your 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until the top of the lasagna is cooked to your preference.

I topped mine with Go Veggie vegan cheese topping. It has a soy base, so it's not for people with a soy allergy.


Jody Ortiz Author, "8 Simple Steps to Internet Success" (All material on this blog copyrighted and ISBN filed. Permission to share only when including link or proper citation.)

Plant Based Nutrition for Health

I'm so excited to have finished the Plant Based Nutrition course at the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies at eCornell.

I will be adding vegan recipes, couponing tricks for healthy shopping, and general health information to this blog. Though I've been mostly vegan for almost 4 years, my daughter has become very ill in this last year, giving me a stronger drive to research what causes disease within the body and how to heal it naturally. Through the T. Colin Campbell program, I learned about using nutrition to repair cells and to activate the body's own natural healing process. I'm excited to be able to share this information and my journey with all of you.

Thank you for your support.

Jody Ortiz Author, "8 Simple Steps to Internet Success" (All material on this blog copyrighted and ISBN filed. Permission to share only when including link or proper citation.)

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Vegan Grilled Black Bean Burritos

It seems like most days are spent half cooking and the other half cleaning up the kitchen, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm a foodie and I enjoy giving my family the best of what nature has to offer on their plates.

I've purchased so many vegan and vegetarian recipe books and there are very few recipes that fit my family's taste buds. It could be because we're in the south and I was raised on garden fresh veggies, pinto beans, cornbread and fried catfish or that I'm married to a Mexican man with Mexican food as my all time favorite. Either way, I usually change every recipe to make it taste good for us.

So I thought I'd share some of my favorite veggie recipes, instead of just teasing all of my Facebook friends with food pics. Haha!

This recipe is very simple and you don't have to measure anything. I just use a can of black beans. I like Eden Organic, and add onion, red and yellow bell peppers, minced garlic, cilantro, and optional taco seasoning and 6 whole wheat tortillas. You can add cheese or vegan cheese for extra binding.

1. Heat panini grill to high or a non-stick pan to medium heat.
2. Open and drain can of black beans and pour into medium sized mixing bowl.
3. Chop onion, bell pepper, and cilantro and add to beans.
4. Mince garlic and add to mixture.
5. Add taco seasoning (optional). Salt and pepper to taste.
6. Fill tortillas with bean mixture and top with vegan cheese (optional) and fold tightly.
7. Grill on each side for approximately 2 minutes or until the tortilla is golden brown.
8. Top with salsa and vegan sour cream (optional) and serve.


Jody Ortiz,  Author, "8 Simple Steps to Internet Success"

 (All material on this blog copyrighted and ISBN filed. Permission to share only when including link or proper citation.)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Vegan Banana Nut Bread

A friend wanted my banana nut bread recipe. So here it is. Please comment and let me know if you make it and what you think. 

This recipe can be made vegan as listed, or you can replace the vegan butter with butter of your choice and instead of egg replacer, use 2 large eggs. Changes in the ingredients will change the nutritional information. We eat mostly vegan in my home and I say mostly because we use honey for allergies. We live in Oklahoma where the wind whips through the plains. ha!

Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Yield: 1 loaf or 3 small loaves

Serving size: 8
Calories per serving: 406
1 1/4 cups Flour Gold Medal Unbleached All Purpose Flour 
1/2 teaspoon Salt La Baleine Sea Salt Fine Crystals 
1 teaspoon Baking powder Clabber Girl Baking Powder 
1 teaspoon Vanilla Tones Pure Vanilla 
1 teaspoon Almond extract Schilling Almond Extract 
3/4 cup Sugar Naturally Bond Sugar in the Raw 
1/2 cup Crushed Walnuts Diamond Chopped Walnuts 
Bananas Bananas 
1/2 cup Egg replacer egg replacer 2 teaspoons egg replacer mixed with 1/4 cup water or 2 large eggs if not making vegan 
1/2 cup Honey Clover Maid Pure Natural Honey If not making it vegan, you can add 1/2 cup honey to egg replacer. 
3/4 cup Vegan Butter I Can't Beleave It's Not Butter Spread Vegan or dairy. 
1/4 cup Cacao nibs cacao nibs optional 
1/4 cup Flaxseed Seeds, flaxseed optional 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Using a paper towel to hold 1/4 cup butter, rub butter onto the entire inside of pan(s) making sure to coat bottom and sides. Recipe makes 1 loaf of bread or 3 small loaves.
3. Sift baking soda and salt into flour in medium mixing bowl.
4. Mix egg replacer and water (or eggs) with vanilla and almond extract. If using honey, don't add water to egg replacer. Use honey instead and mix it with vanilla and almond extract at this point.
5. Mix butter with sugar until creamy.
6. Slowly pour egg replacer or egg mixture into butter and sugar mix, stirring or mixing if using stand mixer after each addition.
7. Add the mashed bananas.
8. Fold in flour mixture using spoon or spatula.
9. Fold in nuts, and if desired, 1/4 cup flaxseed and 1/4 cup cacao nibs.
10. Pour mixture into pan(s) until halfway filled if using more than one pan. The bread will rise.
11. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes if using 1 pan or 35 to 45 minutes if using multiple pans. Check with toothpick or small knife to see if cooked. A toothpick should come out clean when inserted into middle and the sides of the bread should pull away from the pan.
12. Place pan(s) on cooling rack for 5 minutes.
13. Carefully remove loaves from pans and leave on cooling rack until room temperature before wrapping in foil or cling wrap. Bread can be left wrapped on counter for 2 days or frozen with a paper towel in the wrapping to soak up moisture. Thaw in original wrapping at room temperature and eat within 2 days. 

As you can see from the ingredients, a lot of the calories, fat, and sodium are from the butter. I use Earth Balance soy free buttery sticks. It wasn't an option in my Cook'n software so I couldn't add it to the nutritional information. It is a healthier version if you can find it at Whole Foods or an organic market. 

Have a super blessed day!!!

Jody Ortiz
  (All material on this blog copyrighted and ISBN filed. Permission to share only when including link or proper citation.)