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In This Issue:

Peppers, Peppers, and More Peppers . . .
Commonly Available Peppers
Low Carb Recipes of the Month

Diets May Do More Damage Than Good


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1. If you have a problem with ulcers or stomach acid, I recommend that you don't mix your peppers with liquor, caffeine, nicotine, aspirin, or emotion, and; or eat fat beforehand, cheese or cream in particular.

2. If you have a problem with ulcers or stomach acid and refuse to give up your cigarettes and margaritas or refuse to stop worrying about your kids/mate/lover, eat LOTS or cheese, drink a lot of cream, and hope for the best.

3. If your mouth is on fire? I was hopeful when I started the research that I'd find a panacea. Didn't. But some things help. Lipoproteins such as the casein in milk and yoghurt give relief (NOT cheese or butter, since it's casein and not fat that helps). In one tangle with a habanero (it won) I was okay as long as I held yoghurt to the nuclear bomb site on my lips, but the pain plus was bacj the minute I swallowed. Another remedy is to swish and gargle with vodka, since capsaicin is soluble in alcohol. Be careful not to swallow, though, cause you'll end up burning holes in your stomach lining.

4. If you're too stubborn to wear rubber gloves when you're cutting chiles, then you are justified to worry that you might rub your eyes. And this goes double for people who wear contact lenses and have to take them out at some point. WELL, there really IS a bonafide solution here, and I do mean solution. Just get yourself a little bowl of clorox (bleach), diluted 5 parts water to 1 part bleach. Just dip your fingers in the solution from time to time and you've got the problem licked. Why? Capsaicin compound is not soluble in water, but chlorine or ammonia turns it into a salt, which IS soluble in water. Please be advised, though, you should never soak your hands in this solution, that will compound the problem and cause burns. Just dip the fingers quickly. Alternatively, one reader advises that you can also protect your hands by coating them lightly with vegetable oil as a barrier—not as good as rubber gloves, but the same principle.

Peppers, Peppers, and More Peppers . . .

Remember how Columbus stepped onto American soil and confidently called Native Americans "Indians"? He was THAT sure he was in India.

Well, that's what he did with peppers, too. Capsicum peppers, those fleshy hot/sweet fruits have absolutely nothing to do with the woody Indian vine Piper nigrum and its black peppercorn seeds.

Capsicums are actually in the Solanaceae family, along with deadly nightshade, potatoes, and tobacco. They are native to the Americas, originally from the area around Bolivia or Brazil. By the time the Europeans arrived with their passion for recording history, capsicums seeds had long ago been scattered by birds and rain rivulets all over MesoAmerica and the Caribbean.

Friedrich von Humboldt, in his Political Essay on the Kingdom of New Spain (1814) noted, "The fruit [of the chile] is as indispensable to the native Peruvians as salt to the whites." The Peruvians, by contrast, came to described the heat of their chiles as gringo huanuchi, or "hot enough to kill a caucasian."

In fact, by the time Europeans arrived in the New World, the 4 or 5 species that are cultivated today (out of a total of some 25 different species) were already then cultivated back then. The ají were cultivated in Peru as early as 2500 bc, Thisplant was so important to the descendants of the Incas that the Indian artist who painted the Last Supper for the Cathedral of Cuzco painted a dish of ajiís on the table for Christ and his disciples.

Not one wild species has since been domesticated, though many are harvested. ALL wild capsicums are pungent. All mild and sweet capsicums are that way only because they've been domesticated. But give them one wild summer—or even a boring but hot and dry summer in a city garden—and you've got the pungency back in a New York minute.


What are the Five Species?

Capsicum frutescens (tabasco chiles)
Capsicum chinense (originating in Amazonia, the habanero, datil, and scotch bonnet.)
Capsicum baccatum vas. pendulum (from Peru or Bolivia, ají amarillo)
Capsicum pubescens (from the Andes regions, rocoto)
Capiscum annuum car. annuum (domesticated in Mexico, these constitute the whopping majority—cayenne, bell, poblano, serrano, jalapeno, New Mexican/Anaheim, etc.)
Why are they pungent? It's their amide-type alkaloids (capsaicinoids) with small vanilloid structual components (3 of them) that meet your lips, your tongue, your throat, and plant one hell of a kiss on their pain receptors.
In 1722, Dominican priest Francisco Ximenez commented on a particularly hot habenero. "This chili is so strong that a single pod would make a bull unable to eat."

If you have the presence of mind to "feel their pain," you'll realize it's a fast, hard bite in the back of your mouth, then a low burn that builds to an eyeblinking, hair-raising throb.

Different cultivars are rated here for pungency according to Jean Andrews informal "0 to 10+" scale—but beware the occasional "sweet" throwbacks that, for one reason or another, break out of their domesticated genes and go positively feral on your lips. And while I'm on the subject, let me give great thanks and praise and appreciation to Jean Andrews and her book, Red Hot Peppers, both for her fastidious research and for her infectious exuberance for a humdinger of a food.
Commonly Available Peppers
There are many pepper types that can grow wild and thrive wild in different parts of the world. Here's an assortment of the most commonly available in American markets:

Anaheim: see New Mexican chile.

Ancho: see Poblano.

Banana pepper (0 to 5): Pale yellow-green to yellow (maturing to bright red); it's about 6 inches long, a fat finger, that tapers to a point. Aka, Hungarian wax, when it's hot.

Bell pepper (0): A big chambered sweet "box" that comes in green (unripe), yellow, red, orange, brown, and purple. Green bell peppers are the ones most commonly found in the stores.

Cascabel (hot — 4): A cherry- or mushroom-looking thing, 1 x 1 inch, that's mostly used in dried, ground form. When it's dry, the seeds rattle around, making it "cascabel" or jingle bell.

Cayenne (plenty hot — 7-8): A dark green or red, a bony, skinny finger looking thing with a pointed end. Usually about 5 inches long, 1/2 inch in diameter.

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Low Carb Recipes of the Month

LowCarb Cheezy Beef Stuffed Peppers

    6 green peppers
    1 lb ground beef
    1 cup chopped onions
    1/2 medium fresh turnip, peeled and diced 1/4 ", then boiled about 20 minutes, drained
    16 oz can tomatoes
    2 Tbls parsley
    8 oz grated mozzarella cheese
    1 cup spaghetti sauce
    1/2 cup water
    1/2 tsp salt

1. Cut the top off each pepper and remove insides.
2. Boil peppers in boiling water for 5 minutes, then place in a greased shallow baking dish.
3. Brown beef with onions.
4. Add tomatoes, rice, water, salt, and parsley.
Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
5. Add the mozzarella cheese, mixing well until blended. Put the mixture into peppers and top with spaghetti sauce

Cover with foil and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Low Carb Appleton Gazpacho

It's summer, and nothing is more satisfying as fresh chilled Italian vegetable soup. Here is a southern Italian, full flavor version of gazpacho soup. It's an excellent make ahead dish for summer parties. People on a low-carb diet such as the South Beach Diet can serve this soup with grilled chicken or fish for a satisfying, healthy lunch or dinner.

    3 cups tomatoes, red ripe, seeded and diced
    2 cups red bell pepper, diced medium
    2 cups red onions, diced medium
    1/2 cup celery, diced medium
    2 cups cucumber, diced medium
    1 teaspoon garlic, minced
    1/4 cup red wine vinegar
    2 cups vegetable juice
    1-2 pinch cayenne
    1 teaspoon cumin

1. Mix diced tomato, peppers, red onions, celery and cucumber together in a medium bowl. Divide the mixture in half and separate in two bowls.
2. Add garlic to one of the bowls and empty into blender. Add vinegar to the blender and puree until smooth.
3. Add the vegetable juice, cayenne and cumin to the blender. Blend.
4. Add the puree to the bowl of diced vegetables.

It is best served when refrigerate overnight.
Garnish with lemon and cilantro.
Serving Size: 8

Did you know?
Did you know that sodas can cause kidney stones? The acidity of sodas tends to create calcium deposits, since calcium is a base, the body uses calcium to neutralize the acid, and the calcium used builds up in the kidneys. It's all sodas, but it's worse the more phosphoric acid they have.
Diets May Do More Damage Than Good
For the vast majority of people in this country, traditional weight loss remedies have only added to the crisis of overweight. The utter failure of most dieting schemes has only exacerbated the problem and furthered the decline of the physical, and emotional well being of the suffering majority.

After a lifetime as a Master Chef and nutritionist, I have concluded that most diets can assist in taking weight off. For the vast majority of overweight folks, however, the benefits are only temporary at best, and a cruel hoax at the core.

Am I saying that diets don't work? Not on your life. What I am saying and what I have witnessed and tried, is that almost every diet that has captured attention of the mainstream in the commercial and medical fields are sadly deficient in their long term solution to the most alarming and damaging national health care crises to endanger our citizenry, most especially to our children, since polio.

Over the past 40 years, (incidentally these are the same years that the chronic obesity problem has manifested itself), we've witnessed a financial bonanza in the weight control and diet industries. An endless array of books, pills, food supplements, strange recipe concoctions, exercise devices and grotesque medical procedures of all descriptions have been touted as the panacea.

It is also true that during this same time period, we as a people have become entirely too inactive. We need to change our patterns of living, but much of the new exercise regiments suggest a commitment akin to military basic training that will not fit into our hectic lifestyles. Still our TV's scream with the most outrageous weight loss claims that the mind can conceive.

We have finally discovered that all that counting, starving, weighing, gorging, and concocting, has done little more than disappoint and frustrate. The see-saw battle of the waist has had it's effect though, we are quickly becoming a nation of neurotics.

The results are all but tragic.

That began what was, as many of my readers know, my quest to find a better way to conquer this plague. I had what can best be described as an epiphany. I wanted to find a better way to control weight and change the way we approach the overweight problem. I experimented with every known diet with a renewed zeal, and started to ask the questions that few if any were asking. What are the underlying issues that makes us want, or need, to overeat. I searched for the early root causes of weight gain.

Much to my surprise it wasn't just nerves that increased our food intake, or even chronic idleness (although both were major contributors to the ultimate problem). I found that the common denominator in the background of most overweight people was an early bout of severe discouragement, disappointment and sadness, not in their bodies but in their personal lives.

I discovered the habit of overeating was hiding behind deep seeded and well concealed emotions.

We have underlining issues of eating which are in response to those emotions. Ergo, unrelenting and unwanted weight gain makes us unhappy, causing more overeating... a viscous and often deadly circle. We have tried to mask our feelings behind food in dealing with a host of problems and discovered that it has not worked. At the very least, eating may have distracted us from our problems, but when the troubling emotions returned, the weight gain didn't disappear. The deadly cycle began again.

Several years ago I encountered a procedure that changed my life in the most dramatic way. Having spent 35 years as a chain smoker, a habit that is all too common in the hotel restaurant industry, it finally began to seriously affect my health. I was experiencing all of the vile manifestations that a typical smoker encounters: hacking cough, wheezing, periodontal disease, etc. After dozens of unsuccessful attempts at quitting, pills, patches, counting clickers, acupuncture, and cold turkey, I resolved that I was probably never going to rid myself of this curse.

One day while on tour taping a TV cooking show, we came to a dinner break. It was in a downtown Baltimore hotel, and while everyone else searched for another unique dining experience, I wandered down the hall to find a quite place to relax and came upon a STOP SMOKING CLINIC. It was being presented by a local hypnotist, and dozens of people were arriving.

They must have assumed that I was there to attend because I was dying out a cigarette, and ushered me into the hall. I laughed and told them I didn't think I could be put into any kind of a beneficial hypnotic trance in a banquet room with a hundred coughing lunatics. However I decided to watch what I thought would be at least interesting, if not a fiasco. Forty minutes later I emerged from the auditorium as a nonsmoker, and never looked back, not even once..

I found the answer in hypnosis.

I can't tell you why I didn't immediately associate my miraculous cure of the smoking habit to weight loss, but it did come later.

Further, I discovered (as many have come to the realization) that there is no food, candy, drink, or pill for that matter, that could ever truly satisfy any unpleasant emotions or experiences that we have encountered. You can try it again and again, with the same sad results until you realize that the solution is in solving the really deep seeded problems, and in too many cases the solution is in just coping with the real world.

Sometime during the most recent past, we began to teach our children and ourselves that we should never have to suffer any discomfort, either through sadness or experience. Nor should we endure any type of disappointment, or be confronted with any unpleasantness, without the aid of buffers. Bad feelings were to be avoided at all costs, and no one should have to face these situations without first taking a pill, or a drink, or in some cases, a candy bar.

Well, contrary to this popular myth we need to face our feelings with sound, reasonable and measured responses. Your feelings, are an early warning system. When this system is left unheeded, avoided, or simply traded for a dangerous distraction, the result can be the beginnings of lifelong habitual behaviors. Some of these distractions are manifested in smoking, alcoholism or even sex. Feelings are natural, and are a part of our lives, for a natural protection.

All of your feelings are good. All of your feelings are there for a reason. There is no difference between the five outer senses, which are touch, taste, sight, smell and hearing, and all of your inner senses that we call feelings. They are there to help you and guide you, so that you can take care of yourself in a way that is most beneficial to you.
Your feelings are like the gadgets, gauges and warning lights as can be found on the dashboard of a car. These lights and gauges on the car are there for a reason. They help you to monitor the car and it's vital parts. They tell you what you need to know in order to keep it running efficiently and reliably for a very long time. This allows you to keep you car in tip top condition and experience it's best performance. The same holds true for you and your body.

Feelings, (warning lights) help alert you to impending danger, and tell you when and how to take the very best care of yourself. If you treated your car the way you have been treating your body, your car would soon be in serious trouble, much the same way that you may be in trouble with your life today.

Now, think about this. When the RED temperature light suddenly flashes on your dashboard, do you pull into a gas station and put more fuel into the gas tank, especially if the tank is already full? NONSENSE you say! Well, this is precisely what you may be doing to your body.

Many folks I have discovered, are in a serious overweight dilemma because in the past, when they felt a feeling such as anxiety, frustration, boredom, depression, or fill in the blank, they tried to cover those emotions with pacifiers. Habits, such as eating, smoking etc. You know that this is true, because you have been carrying some of the undeniable proof around your waist or puffing yourself into poorer health for much too long.

When your feelings trigger a warning, just as the temperature light that warns a driver of impending disaster, you are being told to handle a potential condition. These warnings are healthy and good. They need to be attended too. Putting more food into you mouth will not accomplish anything more than adding fuel to a fire.

When you are feeling anxious, you know it's a signal. It's a signal to look around, something in your life needs fixing.

When you feel depressed, it too is a signal, to become more effective. It's a call to action.

When you feel frustrated, it's a warning, whatever you are doing is not working, and it may be a good time to try something else.

When you feel stressed out, it means that you are trying to do too much, or to do it all, when you may be temporarily out of gas.

However, when you feel loneliness, it means that you have a healthy desire for human contact. You need, what that commercial spoke of, “to reach out and touch someone” , or have someone touch you, or call someone, perhaps write a letter, log-on and check your e-mail, join a club, or become a volunteer, and do something nice for someone else.

Eating more and getting fat won't solve any of your problems, nor will cigarettes or drinking. It will only make things worse, as you already know.

What is really behind the habit of eating when you know it is clearly unhealthy, unneeded, destructive and wrong? In other words, WHAT'S REALLY BUGGING YOU? . For example, “depression”, usually means that you are feeling ineffective, helpless, or hopeless. The right action is to look at your life and identify the area or areas, where you may feel this way. Then begin to develop a plan of action to start to make things different. Finally, begin working the plan. Then watch as your depression begins to fade away.

As you can now see, all of your feelings are good. Just as good as the five senses. They are there to guide you, because somewhere you got some wires crossed.

The reason your wires may have gotten crossed is because some time ago, probably when you were very young, you encountered a situation that you could not act upon, or sufficiently respond to. You had the feeling, but try as you might, because of your circumstances, could do little or nothing about the underlining causes. It may have been family problems, school or social pressures, physical trauma, or just coping with your newly emerging hormones.

So even if you did understand what the feeling was trying to tell you, there was little you could do about it. You wound up forgetting what the feelings were, and even what they meant. Somehow, you then mistakenly found temporary comfort in the distraction of food, or whatever. It didn't really help. But there was always more food, and more feelings, and you fell into that rut. Now you can climb out of that rut.

Whatever the reasons that you started down this destructive road were, they are no longer important. What is vitally important is that you work to solve those problems with a renewed vigor, without negative reactions. Get ready to begin a life that is much more satisfying than the one you have been living. Now you can become capable of satisfying yourself like never before.

You can now take the steps to correcting those feelings that so disrupt your otherwise happy life.
I discovered the answers with the assistance of Hypnosis, and began an in-depth study and even emersed myself in formal training, with wildly successful results. I have recently joined an associate and opened an office as a Behavioral Hypnotist. I am now helping others cope with their problems. I am using my years of experiences in all areas of my life, to teach others to help themselves.

Just as loneliness can not be satisfied with food, neither can stress, frustration, anxiety, depression, boredom, or any other feeling. You are now free from the frustrating cycle that has caused you so much distress and weight gain.

A calm mind with a clean clear outlook can help you deal with every day situations. So when you get an urge to eat, it may not really be hunger. You should simply say "STOP, this is important", and take an mental inventory. Your feelings are trying to tell you something. Listen to the feelings, and begin to act on them.

Soon you will find it easier to know what each of your feelings are trying to indicate, so you are able to help yourself. I recommend that you spend some time reviewing your life. Take a 10,000 mile feelings check-up, and take your emotional temperature, and make a mental note or better yet, write down your issues that you already know have a bearing on your current state of mind.

Hypnosis could assist you, as it has for me, in handling these concerns, but you need to make a conscious decision to accept the responsibility to do what has to be done. You need to want to improve. You must be willing to do something about it, NOW.

This is the first and foremost positive step to a much happier future.

Stressed out? Serious about losing weight? Want to quit smoking? Fort Bend Star

Chef Carlo took to the high seas. He was the featured chef aboard Rhapsody, the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line ship, and it was a roaring success. Planning a 2004 cruise? Don't miss Let's Cruise: Food, Fun and Relaxation in the May 2003 issue of the Cooking with Carlo newsletter.
You can contact Chef Carlo J. Morelli at carlo@cookingwithcarlo.com.
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