Black Beans are Good for You

Black beans are classified as legumes. They are in fact, the edible seeds of the plant. Like others, such as peanuts, peas, and lentils, black beans are prized for their high protein and fiber content. They also contain several other key vitamins and minerals that are known to benefit human health. Among other benefits, black beans may help strengthen bones. Black beans contain quercetin and saponins which can protect the heart. The iron, phosphorus, calciummagnesium, manganese, copper, and zinc in black beans all contribute to building and maintaining bone structure and strength. Black beans are high in protein and fiber.

Calcium and phosphorus are important in bone structure, while iron and zinc play crucial roles in maintaining the strength and elasticity of bones and joints. Roughly 99 percent of the body’s calcium supply, 60 percent of its magnesium, and 80 percent of its phosphorus stores are contained in bone. This means it is extremely important to get enough of these nutrients from the diet. Maintaining a low sodium intake is essential for keeping blood pressure at a normal level. Black beans are naturally low in sodium and contain potassium, calcium, and magnesium, all of which have been found to decrease blood pressure naturally.

Studies have shown that individuals with type 1 diabetes who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels. Additionally, people with type 2 diabetes may have improved blood sugar, lipids, and insulin levels. One cup, or 172 grams (g), of cooked black beans contributes 15 g of fiber. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends 25 g of fiber per day based on a 2,000-calorie diet. This may vary depending on overall intake of calories.

The fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin B6, and phytonutrient content of black beans, coupled with its lack of cholesterol, all support heart health. This fiber helps lower the total amount of cholesterol in the blood and decrease the risk of heart disease. Vitamin B6 and folate prevent the buildup of homocysteine. When excessive amounts of homocysteine accumulate in the body, it can damage blood vessels and lead to heart problems. The quercetin and saponins found in black beans also aid in cardioprotection. Quercetin is a natural anti-inflammatory that appears to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and protect against the damage caused by low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Research also indicates that saponins help lower blood lipid and blood cholesterol levels, which prevents damage to the heart and blood vessels.
Selenium is a mineral that is not present in most fruits and vegetables but can be found in black beans. It plays a role in liver enzyme function and helps detoxify some cancer-causing compounds in the body. Additionally, selenium may prevent inflammation and decreases tumor growth rates. Saponins prevent cancer cells from multiplying and spreading throughout the body. Fiber intakes from fruits and vegetables like black beans are associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer. Black beans are high in folate, which plays a role in DNA synthesis and repair, thus preventing the formation of cancer cells from mutations in the DNA.
Because of their fiber content, black beans help to prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract. They provide fuel for the healthy bacteria in the colon. Dietary fiber is recognized as an important factor in weight loss and management. High fiber foods increase the sense of fullness after eating and reduce appetite, making an individual feel fuller for longer, thereby lowering overall calorie intake. Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like black beans decreases the risk of obesitydiabetes, heart disease, and overall mortality while promoting a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, and overall lower weight.

Black Bean Soup

1 pound black beans 1/3 bay leaf 1 Large onion, sliced Salt to taste A few cloves chopped garlic 1 tsp. dry mustard powder.

Wash beans well & soak for 8 hrs. Place beans and liquid in large saucepan with bay leaf, bring to a boil over high heat. Skim off foam, lower heat and simmer partially covered till beans are tender, about 1 hour.

Add onion & cook 1 hour. Add salt and garlic. Cook, adding boiling water if necessary until beans are very soft and start to melt into liquid 1-2 hrs. more.

Remove bay leaf, turn off heat. Ladle beans into batches and puree in blender. Add dry mustard powder and dry sherry. Correct seasonings. Reheat and serve, adding ant garnishes you wish – slices of lemon, freshly chopped herbs, etc. AND ENJOY

Random Thoughts I wrote Long Ago

  1. The Temple of Isis is a temple of gold where we heal with sound and light. We pray to God for one and all in the hope we make things right.

2. I cook, clean and sweat all day. I’m only fourteen but there’s no time to play. I have no rights, I must obey or I will be beaten and sent away. Who am I and why am I here. What is it I am to do? Why can’t I speak up, why can’t I be heard, I am a person, too.

3. On the Versailles balcony looking over the formal gardens I sit and play I line up my toy soldiers, then knock them down as my nurse watches a blue jay. As part of the royal court I have many restrictions and must watch what I do. I can’t run or jump or yell, or sing as loud as the bell from the church across the way. But I’ve been told I will be running the country one day.

4. Father Guido prays in his own way to help right some of the wrongs as Isis’s vibrations fill the air with color and light and songs. People come here wanting to be healed, they bring their cares and woes. They beat on their chests just like the animals do and tell me of all their foes. I’m a man of God but still just a man and they ask so much of me. Who am I? Not what they see. I can only be who I can be.

Star, the best dog ever!

Eggplant Good or Bad

Eggplant is a high-fiber, low- calorie food that is rich in nutrients and comes with many potential health benefits. From reducing the risk of heart disease to helping with blood sugar control and weight loss, eggplants are a simple and delicious addition to any healthy diet.

Eggplants are part of the nightshade family. Nightshades contain alkaloids, including solanine, which can be toxic. Solanine protects these plants while they are still developing. Eating the leaves or tubers of these plants can lead to symptoms such as burning in the throat, nausea and vomiting, and heart arrhythmias.

But if you are able…. Here is a great recipe.

18 oz. Roma tomatoes or artichokes 8 oz. eggplant 1 onion garlic

2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil Salt and Pepper 1 cup short grain brown rice 1 cup unsweetened Almond Milk 1/4 cup slivered almonds Fresh Basil

Heat the oven to 425. Rinse, trim, and thinly slice tomatoes and eggplant Chop the onion Trim and peel 4 garlic cloves. Put vegetables in a small baking dish with 2 tbsp. oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper; toss to coat and spread into a single layer. Roast, stirring once or twice until the veggies are tender and browned in places, 30 to 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the rice in a medium saucepan with the almond milk, 1 cup water, a pinch of salt and bring to boil. Reduce heat until it bubbles steadily; cover and cook undisturbed until the rice is tender and liquid almost absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork, cover the pan and remove it from the heat.

When the veggies are done, remove the pan from the oven and turn on the broiler. Add the rice to the veggies and mash a little with a fork to make the mixture creamy; taste and adjust seasonings. Top the gratin with the almonds and broil , watching like a hawk until they begin to brown, 1 to 3 minutes.


Gluten is a sticky, storage protein challenging for the digestive tract. It binds to the small intestinal wall where it can cause digestive and immune system problems. Gluten sensitivity is a major contributing factor with inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, but it is only bad for that people have a health condition such as celiac disease.

If that’s not you, giving up foods with gluten could cause you to fall short on nutrients like fiber and B vitamins.

Gluten-Free Buckwheat and Millet Bread  

Prep time 15 m     Cook 1 hr.     Ready in 1 hr. 15 min.


1 cup buckwheat groats

½ cup millet

2 tbsp. sunflower seeds

2 tbsp. chia seeds

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

2 cups buttermilk

12 pitted prunes, chopped (optional)


Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Generously grease a loaf pan with butter. Grind buckwheat and millet in food processor until very fine. Add sunflower seeds, chia seeds, baking soda, and salt; pulse in the processor until incorporated. With the processor on, slowly pour buttermilk into mixture until a thick dough forms. Stir prunes into dough, then transfer to loaf pan, and cover with parchment paper.

Bake in pre-heated oven for 15 min. Reduce heat to 390 degrees, remove parchment paper and continue baking until bread is crusty but still soft on the inside, about 45 minutes more.


SEARCHING CHILDHOOD TO UNDERSTAND TODAY A puzzle always starts with ‘begin here.’ For a Jigsaw it’s the corners. But when it’s your heart where do I begin? Deep in my body, in my gut and my abdomen. All broken, needing to be fixed. Child inside, if you are truly there then speak to me. Tell me of your sorrows, your disappointments, and hurts. I know there are many. I want to know your anger, your bitterness at having to fight for anything you needed. I want to know what it felt like to bring yourself up, to have no direction or help from our parents. I want to know your loneliness, your disappointments, your struggles, your fears. I know you are still in me and afraid. There is no more need for fear. They are gone and we are here. We survived. Not only did we survive, but we’ve made a good life, a great life. What is missing now is an understanding of what we went through during those early years. Remembering will make us whole, will take away the fears and the depression, will allow us to move on to an even better life, free and clear and clean. What will it be like to clean out all that garbage, to put it to rest, to not carry the emotional baggage anymore? To have energy, to be able to eat normally, to feel freedom from all the issues we have carried around for these eighty-five years. I am sorry to have taken so long to get here. We have both suffered but not for lack of trying to figure it all out. We just needed to get to this place with the willingness to face it all. I cannot undo all those years. But we are here now and I am ready. Ready to hear it all, know it all. It is up to you. You are the one who endured it. I will not put pressure on you, you have had enough of that in your young life. I will wait until you are ready. Let me know when we can begin to write our memoir.

s your heart

What Happened to Serenity

First let me say I am sorry for not posting as I usually do. I am fine but am having severe headaches having Nothing to do with Any Virus.

I cry easily –  I know that. Always have. But now I cry for those I see on TV who have the virus and died, for those who have the virus and are in the hospital, for those who are separated from their loved ones who are hospitalized.

All our lives have changed. Every one of us. Some in different ways. Ways we never imagined before. Ways that bring anxiety. Can I shop? Can I go to the Post Office? All the news is about the virus . About not having jobs or money. How do we learn to live this way? Will this be forever?  

How many of us choose to move through this experience with serenity? Not many that I spoke to. The opposite of serenity is anxiety, not a state that is healthy to be in for a long time. There is help! A Simple Way to quiet the turmoil inside

Choose to make an Altar. Yes, an altar. Here is mine.

It does not have to be complicated or difficult, or based on a religion or a set of ideas that don’t relate to you. It can be a simple altar, a personal expression of what you want to focus on right now. You don’t have to build anything or take up a lot of space. You don’t have to buy anything or follow a complex set of instructions. All you need is to have a general understanding of what an altar is and the willingness to allow yourself to access this ancient tool.

It simply serves as a resting place for meaningful objects. It focuses the eye and provides a place for contemplation and, if so desired, ritual. All of which can be quite simple. One idea is a pot with a bulb planted in it and set on a box. Living things can act as a reminder that things bloom in their own time. You might choose to write things on scraps of paper and place them in or under the box, or in an envelope next to it. A candle, flowers, most anything that catches your eye – any household objects – which comes from intuition or intention works well.

It is not necessarily the objects you place at you altar – it is the time you spend with them daily, taking this time as sacred to you to gain the quiet inside necessary to get through this time.

To All My Faithful Elisha Followers

I want to thank you all for staying with me and following Elisha’s Story. I also want to let you know that Elisha is the main character in my book, Mountain of Full Moons and if you would like, you can read her whole story and find out what happens to her as she is banished and travels through Palestine. Her adventures are many, both good and bad and eventually she does return home, her heart in her mouth, not knowing if she will ever be acceptable there.
The book is now on Amazon for pre-ordering and will launch on April 14.

Thanks again. I hope you had as much fun as I did following Elisha’s problems and antics.

Why eat Butternut Squash

One serving of butternut squash has: 

  • More than 100% of your daily requirement of vitamin A
  • Nearly 40% of your daily requirement of vitamin C
  • About 15% of your daily requirement of magnesium
  • About 18% of your daily requirement of potassium
  • About 5% of your daily requirement of calcium

One serving of butternut squash is roughly 87% water, which helps keep you hydrated.

Like other orange-colored fruits and vegetables, butternut squash is full of beta-carotene and alpha-carotene. Your body converts them to vitamin A, which is important for your immune system.

Butternut squash has lutein and zeaxanthin, often found in yellow fruits and vegetables as well as eggs. Along with beta-carotene and vitamin A, these protect your eyes from ultraviolet rays.

Your body needs a bit of healthy fat to best absorb these eye-benefitting nutrients, so consider eating butternut squash with a drizzle of olive oil.

Foods high in dietary fiber can help keep your weight in balance and lower your cancer risk. Research shows that butternut squash can help reduce your risk of colorectal cancer, in particular.

Classic Butternut Squash Soup

2 Tbsp. Extra-virgin olive oil

1 carrot, diced

I celery stalk, diced

1 onion, diced

4 cups cubed butternut squash, fresh or frozen

½ tsp. chopped fresh thyme

4 cups broth

½ tsp. sea salt

½ tsp. ground black pepper

Heat in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add carrot, celery, and onion. Cook until vegetables begin to soften and onions turn translucent 3-4 minutes. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until squash is fork-tender, about 30 minutes. Puree the soup and ENJOY.

What Do I Want to be When I Grow Up

I was pacing, jumpy, unable to settle down. I wanted to do something and didn’t know what. I’d like to write but my head’s empty. The guy’s coming to fix my bathroom but that’s not for another 45 minutes. What to do in the meantime? This was how my days went. Little or no direction unless I made one up.  

Today feels different and I’m not sure why. I force myself to sit down at the computer hoping words will come. “Just write,” I tell myself, “it doesn’t matter what.” Two words go through my head, nothing and enough. It isn’t like I did nothing with my life, it just feels that way, like it’s never enough. I had a modest career as an opera singer and got to sing in major opera houses and with almost all of the prestigious names in the business. I was fortunate to sing major roles with all most of the smaller opera companies in every part of New York State. I loved singing; I didn’t always love doing smaller roles. No, it wasn’t ego. It was the need to express emotions inside I couldn’t get out of me any other way.  

I established an office as an agent for opera singers and relevant personnel, a business I gave up because it wasn’t satisfying. I gave it to a woman who was interested and moved on to my next career – singing and acting as a ship’s hostess on cruise ships. That lasted for a few years. I loved the glamor, the gowns every night, the caviar and turtle soup, free use of the beauty shop, and free drinks. Who could ask for more? Me. Life there was so much like a fantasy that I finally walked away, realizing that I missed my family and needed to have my feet on the ground.  

After settling in at home I go through a major existential crisis followed by an awakening that sends me back to school to finish my bachelor’s degree and go on to get my Masters while studying a different kind of psychology called Psychosynthesis. I work in the field of addictions and think I found my place. I do my Ph.D. in psychology and holistic healing when I come across another kind of therapy that integrates voice, movement, and breathwork. Voice Movement Therapy combined interests I had throughout my life. The two-year course is stimulating and provocative until the last module. The founder and trainer shows the class his true colors. He methodically attacks and demolishes everyone in the room. Since this horrendous experience, I am not able to use the material I learned.  

The big question that constantly rears its head is, “What do I want to do with the rest of my life?” I say out loud, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” That’s the one I can’t answer. I’ve asked that question for years. My family laughs it off and moves on to the next topic. It’s not that I have nothing to look forward to. I fill up my time with things I love to do – singing in musicals, acting in plays, doing commercials, and see my psychology clients three days a week.  

I cut back after having a full-time practice when my father dies. I need to grieve my own way. I start writing and although it helps, it’s not enough. All of it together is not enough. Is this how I’m supposed to finish out my days? Tears well up, so I knew there is something else. A major change? A grand move? I consider going to Afghanistan or Costa Rica to volunteer and work to help empower the women of those countries. My deep desire is to help women who have no voice. Perhaps I identify with them and want to show them the possibilities of a different existence. My dissertation was about helping women find their voices through movement and sound work. I didn’t think this was the kind of work the women of third world countries need. I didn’t presume to know what they needed but whatever it was, I wanted to learn and help. 

Am I being a drama queen? Am I immersed in my own grandiosity to think I could do this? Can I survive in the conditions in which they live? What will I learn and how will it change me? Will I go and be disappointed? Will I be able to help at all? A million questions go through my head with no answers. And the fear of making such a change, such a commitment holds me back from deciding. 

When will there be enough? Enough applause, enough awards, enough recognition to satisfy that attention-starved little girl who still lives inside me and needs to know she exists. Not just exists physically, but as a person with feelings, thoughts, ideas, hopes, and dreams that are valid.