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Why Encompass HealthCare uses Mechanical Venous Ablation

Posts Tagged ‘Dr. Bruce Ruben’

Why Encompass HealthCare uses Mechanical Venous Ablation

Posted on: March 19th, 2021 by Encompass Healthcare No Comments

Biological ablation is defined as the removal of a biological structure or functionality. Venous ablation, in particular, is a procedure used by physicians to shut down poorly performing veins that leak blood and fluids into the soft tissues of legs. Such leaking is the primary cause of chronic swelling, redness, heaviness, and sores that won’t heal. Thus, ablation of just a few identified, culprit veins will reverse all of these symptoms and heal the long-standing sore.

The methods that are available today for providing ablation of these veins are all minimally invasive and are performed in the physician’s office; however, patients should be aware that the level of pain associated with the procedure varies. For example, the most painful ablation techniques use laser and radiofrequency, which “burns” the vein on the interior of the leg. In order to complete this specific technique, the introduction of multiple, separate injections of lidocaine-filled fluid around the vein is required. As a result, the vein is ablated and the surrounding soft tissues are prevented from burning. OUCH!

What’s worse, radiofrequency and laser procedures carry the risk of causing irreversible damage, and even accidental burning, to important sensory nerves; yet, with Clarivein, this is not a risk. In fact, we have seen that the benefits of the radiofrequency and laser procedures are present with Clarivein, but the risky outcomes are not. Therefore, a lack of medical awareness is the only reason one would choose radiofrequency or laser procedures over the much less painful and risky Clarivein.

At Encompass Healthcare we use Clarivein, a mechanical venous ablation procedure.

This procedure typically requires no more than a single needle inserted into the targeted leg vein under ultrasound guidance, much like a typical lab draw at your doctors’ office. Guided by ultrasound, a catheter is threaded along the length of the interior vein and withdrawn while simultaneously creating a painless, inner vein injury in order to cause vein contraction, and thus ablation.

In general, venous ablation is a procedure which is considered only after other conservative measures have failed. Bruce Ruben, M.D., our Medical Director will often try compression bandaging like unna boots, pneumatic compression pumps, or multi-layer compression wrapping first. These methods are more akin to wrapping a leaking pipe with duct tape; however, it may just be enough to heal a non-healing wound without resorting to the vein ablation procedure. At Encompass Healthcare, each patient is always given the full range of appropriate options.

So, you’re probably wondering what sorts of results we’ve seen with this venous ablation procedure, right? Great news! Patient outcomes after receiving a mechanical venous ablation with Dr. Ruben are very impressive. When treated for a non-healing, venous stasis leg wound, Dr. Ruben’s patients healed completely within 4 weeks!

If a patient or loved you know might be a candidate for venous ablation, give us a call. We can set up a consult in our comfortable and safe outpatient office and determine the best course of action for the patient’s healing process!

Infectious Disease and 2021

Posted on: February 5th, 2021 by Encompass Healthcare No Comments

Infectious Disease has become an even more interesting specialty over the past year. But although COVID-19 is still a large topic for us, there are other subjects and advancements to review as well!

Infectious Disease! Most of us probably haven’t really given those two words a thought in the past few years – that is until COVID-19 hit every news channel, radio station, and the population of almost every country in the world! Some of our young people, especially young children, may now think of COVID-19 as synonymous with Infectious Disease studies and medicine. Still, there are other facets of the Infectious Disease specialty that deserve recognition and attention – but today, we’re here to give some legitimate updates on the COVID-19 pandemic.

One thing we found important to note is that, according to the CDC, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths across the United States are still rising. This means that it isn’t yet safe to get back to our pre-2020 normal. Wearing a mask, distancing 6+ feet, and avoiding crowds are all great steps to help slow the spread of the disease. If we can slow the spread enough, we’ll all be able to help our amazing health care professionals and first responders to care for the sick and injured!

Next big ticket item… COVID-19 vaccines are now being administered! The CDC as well as your local health department will have information on where, when and how we all can get vaccinated! This is great news! With a working vaccine for COVID-19, we as a community may be able to return to a pre-pandemic normal much sooner. It also means that those who are vaccinated will have a much better chance of beating or fighting off the virus – should they be infected later on!

Now, although this vaccine is good news, we aren’t completely out of the woods just yet. Like we mentioned before, COVID-19 cases and deaths are still on the rise. So, there’s still reason for caution. Luckily, our medical director Dr. Bruce Ruben, along with our entire staff, have made a great effort to provide a safe and convenient place for patients to receive care, despite the pandemic and risk COVID-19 poses on us all. We have added to our sanitizing and social distancing routines here at the office, making sure to provide plenty of masks and hand sanitizers in the office for staff, patients, and visitors! We truly care about the safety of all parties in our office!
If you’re interested in learning more about these topics, we suggest you take a look at the source list we’ve provided. Below, you’ll find the website and articles we used to find factual information about the virus, pandemic, and the vaccine!

Our Sources:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/covid-19-vaccines
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/facts.html

What Will the Opioid Crisis Look Like in Five Years?

Posted on: November 20th, 2019 by Encompass Healthcare No Comments

As an Infectious Disease physician, Dr. Bruce E. Ruben is always learning more about how current issues affect his patients’ healthcare. This article by Jirka Taylor and Peter Reuter originally appeared in the Concord Monitor in New Hampshire last week. Dr. Ruben found this commentary on what the opioid crisis will look like in five years to be a fascinating look at this world-wide problem and thinks his patients should read it too.

Few people had ever heard of fentanyl five years ago. By 2018 this synthetic opioid was implicated in more than 30,000 fatal overdoses in the United States. The next stage of the fast-changing opioid crisis may well depend on how the illegal drug markets morph in the years to come.

In the corners of Europe that have been dealing with fentanyl as long or longer than the United States, each illegal market for opioids took distinct turns. In some, heroin disappeared. In others, opioid nasal sprays arrived. Online sales became the norm. Any of these things could happen here.

What Will the Opioid Crisis Look Like in Five Years?

It’s Estonia where heroin practically disappeared. In the early 2000s, the Taliban’s prohibition on growing poppies in Afghanistan had a ripple effect in Europe constricting the heroin supply. Fentanyl smuggled from or through Russia took its place. Today, tiny Estonia (population about 1.3 million) has the only “mature” fentanyl market in the world.

The replacement of heroin with fentanyl in its drug market was devastating: By 2012, Estonia had one of the highest per capita rates of fatal overdoses in the world. Two other observations, however, offer a bit more reassurance. First, fentanyl does not seem to attract new users: The number of opioid users in Estonia began declining in the 1990s and has continued on that trend. Second, although fentanyl is much cheaper than heroin to produce and ship, drug traffickers do not appear to have lowered street prices, also limiting its spread.

Nearby Latvia underwent a different shift, essentially skipping the fentanyl stage. Stronger variations of the fentanyl molecule, called analogs, started appearing in large quantities around 2014. Until very recently, the most common was carfentanil. One gram of pure carfentanil represents thousands of lethal doses for those without opioid tolerance.

Despite this dangerous potency, Latvian health statistics don’t show a substantial increase in overdose deaths. This suggests that Latvian users and dealers have found comparatively safer ways of consuming synthetic opioids and that overdose death levels don’t inevitably have to skyrocket like they did in Estonia. (Some certainly go unrecorded, but the undercount would have to be enormous for Latvia’s fatal overdose rate to approach Estonia’s.)

Sweden, unlike every other country, developed parallel opioid markets: one for heroin and another for fentanyl analogs. Around 2014, dealers started selling fentanyl analogs online, offering direct-mail delivery. After a period of experimentation, these online dealers settled on an analog nasal spray—a popular alternative for people who preferred not to inject drugs.

Some, though not all, of these facets—the disappearance of heroin, direct online sales, nasal sprays, potent analogs—have begun to pop up in distinct pockets of the United States. None have become widespread in North America yet—but there is no reason why they couldn’t.

Sweden, Latvia and Estonia are, to be sure, much smaller than the United States. But it is useful to think of them as equivalent to a city or small state with a comparatively concentrated supply chain. That also shows us regions just a few hundred miles apart might be affected by fentanyl in completely different ways. The areas of North America that have suffered the most in the opioid crisis—New England, the Midwest, Appalachia, British Columbia—are likely to confront fentanyl in localized ways as well. That will have ramifications for prevention, provision of treatment and other services, and law enforcement efforts.

Despite the variations, there is an overarching commonality to the European cases, too: Once a synthetic opioid like fentanyl becomes dominant, it stays that way. The United States should prepare for fentanyl and other synthetic opioids as a lasting phenomenon, and learning from other countries’ experiences is an important part of that effort.

Jirka Taylor is a policy analyst at the nonpartisan, nonprofit RAND Corporation. Peter Reuter is a professor in the School of Public Policy and Department of Criminology at the University of Maryland. Both are authors of “The Future of Fentanyl and Other Synthetic Opioids.”

 

Why Encompass HealthCare uses Mechanical Venous Ablation

Posted on: February 11th, 2019 by Encompass Healthcare No Comments

Biological ablation is defined as the removal of a biological structure or functionality. Venous ablation, in particular, is a procedure used by physicians to shut down poorly performing veins that leak blood and fluids into the soft tissues of the legs. Such leaking is the primary cause of chronic swelling, redness, heaviness, and sores that won’t heal. Thus, ablation of just a few identified, culprit veins will reverse all of these symptoms and heal the long-standing sore.

The methods that are available today for providing ablation of these veins are all minimally invasive and are performed in the physician’s office; however, patients should be aware that the level of pain associated with the procedure varies. For example, the most painful ablation techniques use laser and radiofrequency, which “burns” the vein on the interior of the leg. In order to complete this specific technique, the introduction of multiple, separate injections of lidocaine filled fluid around the vein is required. As a result, the vein is ablated and the surrounding soft tissues are prevented from burning. OUCH! What’s worse, radiofrequency and laser procedures carry the risk of causing irreversible damage, and even accidental burning, to important sensory nerves; yet, with Clarivein, this is not a risk. In fact, we have seen that the benefits of the radiofrequency and laser procedures are present with Clarivein, but the risky outcomes are not. Therefore, a lack of medical awareness is the only reason one would choose radiofrequency or laser procedures over the much less painful and risky Clarivein.

At Encompass Healthcare we use Clarivein, a mechanical venous ablation procedure.

This procedure typically requires no more than a single needle inserted into the targeted leg vein under ultrasound guidance, much like a typical lab draw at your doctors’ office. Guided by ultrasound, a catheter is threaded along the length of the interior vein and withdrawn while simultaneously creating a painless, inner vein injury in order to cause vein contraction, and thus ablation.

In general, venous ablation is a procedure that is considered only after other conservative measures have failed. Bruce Ruben, M.D., our Medical Director will often try compression bandaging like unna boots, pneumatic compression pumps, or multi-layer compression wrapping first. These methods are more akin to wrapping a leaking pipe with duct tape; however, it may just be enough to heal a non-healing wound without resorting to the vein ablation procedure. At Encompass Healthcare, each patient is always given the full range of appropriate options.

So, you’re probably wondering what sorts of results we’ve seen with this venous ablation procedure, right? Great news! Patient outcomes after receiving a mechanical venous ablation with Dr. Ruben are very impressive. When treated for a non-healing, venous stasis leg wound, Dr. Ruben’s patients healed completely within 4 weeks!

If a patient or loved one you know might be a candidate for venous ablation, give us a call. We can set up a consult in our comfortable and safe outpatient office and determine the best course of action for the patient’s healing process!

 

Topics covered by Dr. Bruce Ruben in this blog post:

•What is venous ablation
•How does mechanical venous ablation differ
•Why we use mechanical rather than other techniques
•What results have we seen from this procedure
•Call to action

Encompass Healthcare is Grateful For Our Patients and Caregivers

Posted on: December 12th, 2018 by Encompass Healthcare No Comments

It’s hard to believe that the year 2018 is almost over. It’s been a wonderful year for us at Encompass HealthCare and Wound Medicine and a time for reflection. While we have been helping men and women in pain for many years, we still think of our medical practice as a new endeavor — and as an alternative to big-business hospitals. Dr. Bruce Ruben and his health care team are constantly working to use innovative medicine for our patients. We see it as our mission to keep ourselves several steps ahead of the pace in the medical field.

 

 

Our treatments for pain care and wound management are constantly evolving to meet the needs of our patients. The recent Thanksgiving holiday gave us an opportunity to count our blessings. We are so very grateful for our many patients and caregivers, who put their trust in our medical team of professionals. We see ourselves as teammates and partners with you.

At Encompass, we take your health very seriously and take great pride in keeping apprised of the many recent changes in how to treat ailments such as diabetic neuropathy, skin infections, bone infections, wounds and different forms of infectious diseases. The gratitude we receive when a patient or caregiver is satisfied with the level of service, the quality of care and the hospitality at Encompass reminds us that what we do really makes a difference. It gives our patients and their caregivers peace of mind.

During the winter holiday season, we gave thanks for all the good that we have in our lives. All of us at Encompass are grateful for you — our partners. We wish you a joyous and blessed holiday season and a successful ending to 2018. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions regarding your health or the health of someone you love.

Learning from Our Patients

Posted on: November 19th, 2018 by Mindy Ruben No Comments

In the Digital Age, so many doctors and medical offices believe that patient testimonials are solely for the purpose of posting on a website so potential patients see how loved you are. At Encompass HealthCare and Wound Medicine, we appreciate when our patients write glowing testimonials and reviews about our medical facility, but we love them for other reasons as well. We learn from our patients’ words in their testimonials and reviews.

Unfortunately, many physicians have begun to fear online reviews by patients. Whether it’s HealthGrades, RateMDs or Vitals.com, doctors are scared that patients or their relatives will leave feedback that is anything less than a 5-star perfect review. Our goal at Encompass HealthCare is to learn from reviews. Dr. Bruce Ruben and his staff absolutely love helping our patients and that is our mission. We strive to make our patients feel comfortable, safe and cared for at Encompass. While Dr. Ruben and Encompass have won multiple awards and have been cited as one of Michigan’s top medical centers, we know that we can still improve. We are grateful for our patients who leave us feedback through online reviews and testimonials because it informs us of where we’re strong and where there is room to improve.

We pledge to take the time to listen to our patients’ feedback and to always have an open mind when it comes to new treatments we can offer you. Please visit our website, full of helpful information and health-related resources, to begin your path to better health with us.

Stasis Ulcer Information from Dr. Bruce Ruben

Posted on: October 7th, 2015 by Mindy Ruben No Comments

Overview of Venous Stasis Ulcers

A stasis ulcer is a breakdown of the skin (ulcer) caused by fluid build-up in the skin from poor vein function (venous insufficiency). Fluid leaks from the veins into skin tissue when the blood backs up rather than returning to the heart through the veins.

This wound is a result of venous insufficiency (venous stasis ulcer)--Encompass HealthCare and Wound Medicine, Michigan.

This wound is a result of venous insufficiency (venous stasis ulcer)–Encompass HealthCare and Wound Medicine, Michigan.

Who’s At Risk
Leg vein malfunction (venous insufficiency) affects 2–5% of Americans, and approximately half a million Americans have stasis ulcers. Women are more often affected by stasis ulcers than men.

Your risk for acquiring a stasis ulcer is greater if you:

  • Are overweight.
  • Have varicose veins.
  • Have had blood clots in your legs.
  • Had a leg injury (trauma) that might affect blood flow in your leg veins; even minor trauma may cause an ulcer.

Signs and Symptoms

Swelling of the leg, brown discoloration, or an itchy, red, rough area (stasis dermatitis) may appear before you notice an ulcer. This is often seen on the inner ankle area first, although any area on the lower leg may be affected. Varicose veins may be present. Sometimes there are hard, tender lumps under the skin near the ulcer.

The ulcer is a crater-like, irregular area of skin loss. It may be an open, easily bleeding, painful wound, or it might have a thick black scab. The level of pain varies.
Self-Care Guidelines
People with a leg ulcer should seek medical care if it is anything beyond a small scrape or cut on the surface of the skin.

If the ulcer appears minor:
Clean it with soap and water.
Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly (Vaseline®) and a clean gauze bandage.
Avoid putting any tape or adhesive on the skin.
Avoid using topical antibiotics and other over-the-counter products, as people with leg ulcers often become allergic to these products.

When to Seek Medical Care

If you have pain, swelling, spreading red areas, fever, or any open wound that does not heal after a few days of self-care, seek medical advice.

Treatments Your Physician May Prescribe
In addition to a thorough exam, your physician may test to evaluate how well your veins are working.

Treatment may consist of:

  • Procedures to reduce leg swelling.
  • Medication for any dermatitis or infection that is present.
  • Special wound dressings.
  • Pentoxifylline to aid healing.
  • Surgery if other medical treatment fails.
  • Compression hose to prevent the ulcer from coming back.
  • Most ulcers heal within 1–4 months, but about 25% will still be present after a year.

Trusted Links
MedlinePlus: Leg Injuries and Disorders
MedlinePlus: Vascular Diseases

References

Bolognia, Jean L., ed. Dermatology, pp.1635. New York: Mosby, 2003.

Freedberg, Irwin M., ed. Fitzpatrick’s Dermatology in General Medicine. 6th ed. pp.21. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003.

 

Source: SkinSight.com

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Inky and Pocket

Posted on: November 24th, 2014 by Mindy Ruben No Comments

Inky and Pocket, the WoundDogs at Encompass HealthCare, are members of the beloved staff at the outpatient wound care center. Here, they take time out from napping to tell us about their work and their life at Encompass.

INKY & POCKET: No? You sure? Seriously? Positive? Absolutely sure? Second chance? Once more? Not right now, but later? Maybe?

POCKET: No worries. We’ll keep an eye out in case you drop something.

INKY: It’s what we do. After all, we’re dogs, first.

POCKET: WoundDogs, that’s our family business. We’ve been doing wound care for ‘bout four years now.

INKY:  ‘Bout 28 years.

POCKET: ‘Bout 28 years in dog years.

(Inky is startled by a sound coming from the kitchen)

INKY:  Hey, I just heard the fridge door open. Be right back!

Inky taking a break.

Inky taking a break.

POCKET: Anyway, we’re quite critical to the operation here at Encompass HealthCare. See, Inky and I give the place atmosphere. We put the patients in a good space to heal, h-e-a-l, not the “heel” like “sit down.” It’s aesthetics. We add that “je ne sais quoi” that you won’t find in any other wound care facility.

INKY: False alarm. Doc was just putting his lunch in there.

POCKET: I was just going over what we do here.

INKY: You tell ‘em the French thing?

POCKET: Yes. We provide the “je ne sais quoi.”

A Blue Picardy Spaniel

A Blue Picardy Spaniel

INKY: That certain something. I’m a darn-near-perfect Blue Picardy Spaniel.

POCKET: And I’m a slightly non-traditional Cavalier King Charles Spaniel…

INKY:  …On account of he’s just black and white without the telltale classic brown accents.

POCKET & INKY: But we don’t judge.

INKY:  We’re not here to judge.

POCKET:  Basically, we’re here to look good…

INKY:  Not get in the way…

POCKET:  …and be cute…

INKY:  …Because if a patient seems a little down…

POCKET:  …Or they’re about to drop some food…

INKY:  …Then, we go into F.C.M.: Full-Cute Mode. I sit real pretty with a “you’re the most important person living” expression on my face.

Pocket always seems to be on break.

Pocket always seems to be on break.

POCKET:  And I generally roll onto my back, wag my tail and show you my goods.

INKY: And that’s it.

POCKET: And I can make myself look exactly like the Lady dog in The Lady and the Tramp.

INKY: Except that she’s brown and tan and you’re all black and white.

POCKET: Jeesh! Why can’t you ever let that go?

INKY: What?

POCKET: You never miss a chance to point out my non-traditional coloring. Am I cute?

This is what Pocket thinks he looks like.

This is what Pocket thinks he looks like.

INKY: You’re adorable.

POCKET: Then let’s leave it at that.

(The interview is interrupted by a sound in the kitchen)

INKY & POCKET: FRIDGE!!

(Both dogs high tail it to the kitchen. (Pun intended.)

POCKET:  We were so close.

INKY:  So close to that sliced turkey.

POCKET: But it wasn’t to be. But what is meant to be is that we are WoundDogs. Make no mistake about it. Our job is all about you. Our patients love us and we love them back.

INKY: Along with whatever they might happen to be eating.

POCKET: That’s a ditto.

INKY: So if you come to Encompass HealthCare and Wound Medicine, make sure you say, “hello.”

POCKET: Yeah, because we want to make you feel at home.

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Wound Care & Diabetes

Posted on: September 9th, 2014 by Mindy Ruben No Comments

THE INTERSECTION OF WOUND CARE & DIABETES

Robert Striks, Special Writer, Encompass HealthCare and Wound Medicine

I’m diabetic. I have type-2 diabetes. At 53, I’ve battled it for 22 years now. I’m typing this because I’m sorry to say that I’ve reached a dubious stage in this disease.

Learn more about the link between diabetes and wound care--Encompass Healthcare, Michigan

Learn more about the link between diabetes and wound care–Encompass Healthcare, Michigan

I’m where the disease is making its presence known at the farthest reaches of my body. The tips of my toes. The soles of my feet. Places beyond the larger arteries to the smallest capillaries. Diabetes lives there and loves “de-nerving” those extremities.

(more…)

Food Substitutions

Posted on: July 10th, 2014 by Mindy Ruben No Comments

No Substitute For Substitutions

by
Rob Striks, Special Writer
Encompass HealthCare and Wound Medicine

Spaghetti squash is a great substitute for normally high-carb spaghetti.

At Encompass HealthCare and Wound Medicine, we talk a lot about making dietary food substitutions in order to take in more protein, lose weight or gain energy to aid in wound healing.

Sometimes, the substitutions we recommend are appropriate for a much larger audience than just wound care patients. Diabetic, cardiac and obese patients can make important strides in their health by making simple substitutions in their diet.

With that in mind, I made two important discoveries this week that have revolutionized my entire diet. I cooked with garbanzo flour and I learned how to make fried rice out of cauliflower. This is literally, and I use the term “literally” correctly here, the best thing since sliced bread.

Garbanzo Bean Flour is available in supermarkets and online.

Garbanzo Bean Flour is available in supermarkets and online.

That’s because I can now use garbanzo flour in recipes where I used to use wheat products and the end result is not only tastier, it’s infinitely healthier for me. Garbanzo beans are a rich source for protein, dietary fiber and healthy carbohydrates. They’re also very low in fat.

This discovery is a personal triumph for me as I used to pride myself on being able to make healthy substitutions in all my cooking. My substitutions, though, did not necessarily result in a trim body or more energy.

For instance, I learned how to substitute skim milk for whipping cream in Fettuccine Carbonara, which is like ordering a Boston Cooler made with Häagen-Dazs ice cream and telling the server to use Diet Vernors instead of regular Vernors. No big payoff there.

Then when Egg Beaters came along, I saw the clouds part and a heavenly ray of light shine down. Finally, the answer to high cholesterol had arrived! Unfortunately, they arrived along with mandatory nutritional labeling, and you had to be a chemistry major to figure out what they were actually made of. Plus, they didn’t taste all that wonderful.

Then, there is the never-discussed shame of ordering Egg Beaters in a restaurant. If you’re heavy, the server thinks you’re cheating somewhere else in your diet. And if you’re slender, you’re obviously high maintenance. There’s no winning with egg substitutes physically or mentally.

Socca is a gluten-free flatbread made from garbanzo bean flour.

Socca is a gluten-free flatbread made from garbanzo bean flour.

I did make the transition to substituting fresh egg whites for whole eggs in recipes and I learned to accept the texture changes in the finished products. Luckily, it’s 2014 and fresh whole eggs are enjoying some great publicity for being on the Good-For-You List again. I am cutting back on the yolks just a bit.

What brought me to garbanzo flour was the advice from my cardiologist that I give up all wheat, rice and potato products; and the advice from a good friend that I try socca, a food that’s like bread only it’s made with garbanzo flour instead of wheat flour. Cue the choir, it was fabulous.

Then, while putting together a ground turkey meat loaf, I substituted garbanzo flour for breadcrumbs and got another marvelous lift – a super protein, high-fiber meat loaf that held together perfectly. Is there anything these garbanzo’s can’t do?

Luscious chocolate cake made from garbanzo bean flour: Heaven!

Luscious chocolate cake made from garbanzo bean flour: Heaven!

A rich chocolate flourless cake made with garbanzo beans, you ask? The answer is yes and it’s right here. Make it and I guarantee the clouds will part for you

Pulse the cauliflower in a food processor or use a grater to make superb cauliflower fried rice.

Pulse the cauliflower in a food processor or use a grater to make superb cauliflower fried rice.

Now about that fried rice made with cauliflower. Who knew! I saw this demonstration online, I tried it and not only did I not need a nap after eating it, I actually felt quite energized. One of the secrets is using a food processor to pulse the uncooked cauliflower into tiny rice-size pieces. Then during the cooking process, you only use a small amount of liquid to steam the cauliflower so it doesn’t turn mushy.

Once you understand the liquid-holding and liquid-releasing properties in vegetables during cooking, there’s practically no limit to how you can use them as substitutes to enhance your nutrition. Spinach, for example, releases a lot of moisture when it’s cooked.

Spinach releases a lot of moisture during cooking.

Spinach releases a lot of moisture during cooking.

The same goes for mushrooms. So if you’re making quinoa with spinach and/or mushrooms and you want the same drier consistency, you have to use a bit less liquid than the usual two parts water to one part quinoa in the recipe.

In the beginning, using vegetables as substitutes in recipes works best when the seasonings usually overpower the dish. Like in the cauliflower fried rice, the soy sauce and seasonings over power any strong cauliflower taste.

Like spinach, mushrooms release liquid during cooking.

Like spinach, mushrooms release liquid during cooking.

Later, as you become more accustomed to the flavor and texture of the cauliflower, you may find yourself using less of the overpowering flavors in order to let the cauliflower taste come through.

So now that you can’t wait to garbanzo your diet, where do you get garbanzo flour? Well, you can make it yourself by grinding non-hydrated garbanzo beans in a spice grinder until they’re the consistency of flour, you can buy the flour already processed at most big supermarkets, or you can buy it online.

Try garbanzo flour for wheat flour. Check out cauliflower in place of rice. You can even prepare parsnips so they taste like sautéed potatoes. There’s no substitute for substitutions when it comes to eating healthier.

Hmmm…now that I think about it, lentils are beans and they’re also high in protein and low in fat. I wonder what would happen if I put them in my spice grinder and……

I’ll get back with you.

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