Side Dish: Fighting arthritis

One out of three Louisiana residents has arthritis, with almost half younger than 55 and 9,000 younger than 18, according to The Arthritis Foundation.

Arthritis consists “of more than 100 different diseases or conditions that destroy joints, bones, muscles, cartilage and other connective tissues, affecting physical movement,” the foundation says. The most common form is osteoarthritis, which causes the breakdown of joint cartilage, but even gout and lupus fall into the arthritis family.

Baton Rouge cookbook author Holly Clegg has long believed that what one eats can make a difference in one’s long-term health. She hopes the latest cookbook in her 20-year-old “trim&terrific” series will give those affected by arthritis good-tasting and easy-to-prepare recipes to help minimize the effects of arthritis, plus tools and tips to help ease the symptoms of arthritis.

The self-published book, “Holly Clegg’s trim&terrific Eating Well to Fight Arthritis: 200 easy recipes and practical tips to help reduce inflammation and ease symptoms,” opens with a foreword from Karen Kennedy, president and chief executive officer of the Arthritis Association of Louisiana.

The cookbook “developed out of a need for arthritis patients to be able to cook healthy meals and learn tips on preparing meals in ways that are less stressful on their joints,” Kennedy writes. Its recipes are “full of the antioxidants that help to reduce inflammation — the trigger of much arthritis pain,” she says.

“There’s nothing out there like it with easy 30-minute trim and terrific recipes” for arthritis patients, Clegg said of her latest cookbook.

Each recipe is accompanied by a full-color photograph and nutritional and diabetic information. The recipes also are marked with symbols indicating if they are vegetarian, freezer-friendly, gluten-free or meet American Diabetes Association guidelines.

The book opens with healthful menu suggestions. Its recipes are divided into chapters that focus on particular symptoms and the foods that can help that problem.

Among the chapters are “Bone Building,” “Fight Fatigue” and “Tummy Troubles.” Recipes include salmon with spinach feta stuffing; egg salad with extra; stir-fry rice; applesauce oatmeal; chicken and dumplings; oven-baked fresh fig Bundt cake; and peach crisp.

Clegg said she has left the recipes’ “heat” and salt levels up to the cook. Feel free to make a dish spicier, she added.

A portion of the book’s proceeds will be donated to the Arthritis Association of Louisiana, Clegg said.

For a get-together to introduce the new book, Clegg prepared the party foods from recipes in “Eating Well to Fight Arthritis.” She kindly agreed to share them with The Advocate’s readers.

The cookbook would make a good Mother’s Day gift for the mom or grandmother living with arthritis.

Cookbook signing

Authors Donna Douglas and Javetta Saunders will autograph copies of their book, “Southern Favorites With a Taste of Hollywood” from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Barnes and Noble, 2590 CitiPlace Court, Baton Rouge.

Cheramie Sonnier is The Advocate’s Food editor. Her email address is csonnier@theadvocate.com.

Lemon Herb Shrimp

Makes 6 to 8 servings. Recipe is from the No Fuss Foods section of “Holly Clegg’s trim&terrific Eating Well to Fight Arthritis: 200 easy recipes and practical tips to help reduce inflammation and ease symptoms.”

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tsps. dried oregano leaves

2 tsps. dried thyme leaves

1/2 cup pre-chopped green onion

1/4 cup lemon juice

Salt and pepper

2 lbs. peeled medium shrimp

1. Combine all ingredients except shrimp in resealable plastic bag. Add shrimp, tossing to coat. Refrigerate one hour, time permitting.

2. Preheat oven 450 degrees. Place shrimp and marinade on foil-lined baking pan. Bake 10 minutes (depending on shrimp size) or until shrimp are done and marinade bubbling. Serve shrimp with sauce.

Nutritional information per serving: 206 calories, 65 percent calories from fat, 15 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 143 milligrams cholesterol, 257 milligrams sodium, 3 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram dietary fiber, 0 grams total sugar, 16 grams protein. Dietary Exchanges: 2 lean meat, 2 fat.

Chicken, Red Pepper, Spinach and White Bean Pizza

Makes 8 (1-slice) servings. Recipe is from “Holly Clegg’s trim&terrific Eating Well to Fight Arthritis: 200 easy recipes and practical tips to help reduce inflammation and ease symptoms.” Clegg says the recipe’s “hearty combination of fantastic savory flavors makes this an exceptional pizza.”

1 (12-inch) thin pizza crust

1 tbl. olive oil

1 medium red bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1 tsp. minced garlic

2 cups chopped baby spinach

1 tsp. dried oregano leaves

1 cup chopped cooked chicken breast

1/2 cup white navy beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven 425 degrees. Coat crust with oil.

2. In large nonstick skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray, cook red pepper and onion about 5 minutes or until crisp tender. Add garlic, spinach and oregano, stirring only until spinach is wilted.

3. Evenly spoon spinach mixture over crust and top with remaining ingredients. Bake 8–10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and crust is done.

Terrific Tip: Freeze leftover pizza slices and reheat for a make-ahead meal another day. I just took slices out of the freezer and either I’m hungry or forgot how good this pizza was.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 204 calories, 30 percent calories from fat, 7 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 24 milligrams cholesterol, 362 milligrams sodium, 21 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams dietary fiber, 2 grams total sugars, 14 grams protein. Dietary Exchanges: 11/2 starch, 11/2 lean meat.

Chicken Thai Pizza

Makes 8 (1-slice) servings. Recipe is from “Holly Clegg’s trim&terrific Eating Well to Fight Arthritis: 200 easy recipes and practical tips to help reduce inflammation and ease symptoms.” Clegg says, “Chicken, onion and carrots with peanut sauce make a spunky and robust phenomenal pizza.”

1 (12-inch) thin pizza crust

1/4 cup peanut sauce

11/2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast

1/2 cup red onion slices

1/2 cup shredded carrots

1/4 cup chopped green onion

1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

2 tbls. chopped fresh cilantro, optional

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Spread pizza crust with peanut sauce. Top with chicken, red onion, carrots, green onion and cheese.

3. Place on oven rack and bake 8-10 minutes or until pizza is lightly browned. Top with cilantro, if desired.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 221 calories, 31 percent calories from fat, 7 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 30 milligrams cholesterol, 356 milligrams sodium, 21 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram dietary fiber, 2 grams total sugars, 16 grams protein. Dietary Exchanges: 11/2 starch, 2 lean meat.

Terrific Tip: Buy preshredded carrots in bag. Purchase chopped green onions in produce department for extra ease. If peanut sauce is too spicy or if desired, substitute barbecue sauce. Can also top with red pepper slices for vitamin C.

Hummus & Tabbouleh Salad

Makes 4 (1-cup) servings. Recipe is from “Holly Clegg’s trim&terrific Eating Well to Fight Arthritis: 200 easy recipes and practical tips to help reduce inflammation and ease symptoms.” A layered mound of fantastic flavors makes a splendid Mediterranean salad. Serve with toasted pita bread. Also, makes a great dip.

1 (5.25-oz.) box Tabbouleh mix wheat salad (makes 21/2 cups)

1 tbl. olive oil

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1 cup chopped tomatoes

1 cup finely chopped cucumber

1⁄3 cup chopped fresh parsley (flat leaf preferred)

2 tbls. lemon juice

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 (10-oz.) container roasted red pepper hummus

1/4 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese

1. In bowl, prepare tabbouleh mix according to package instructions. Refrigerate covered with plastic wrap. After water is absorbed, fluff with fork and add olive oil, mixing well.

2. To tabbouleh, add red onion, tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, lemon juice and season to taste.

3. On large serving plate, spread hummus, top with tabbouleh salad and sprinkle with feta. Refrigerate until serving.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 308 calories; 34 percent calories from fat; 12 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 3 milligrams cholesterol; 909 milligrams sodium; 47 grams carbohydrate; 11 grams dietary fiber; 7 grams total sugars, 9 grams protein. Dietary Exchanges: 3 starch, 2 fat.

Terrific tip: Tabbouleh is a salad made with bulgur, a nutty tasty cracked wheat high in fiber, easily prepared by pouring hot water over the bulgur in a bowl.

Nutritional Nugget: Parsley is a good source of plant iron. One cup contains about 20 percent of your RDA.

Guacamame

Makes 10 (1/4-cup) servings. Recipe is from “Holly Clegg’s trim&terrific Eating Well to Fight Arthritis: 200 easy recipes and practical tips to help reduce inflammation and ease symptoms.” The “combination of avocado and edamame makes this a wonderful, delicious and nutritious dip,” Clegg says. “Serve with fresh veggies or chips.”

1 large avocado (about 2⁄3 cup mashed)

11/2 cups shelled edamame, thawed

2 tbls. lime juice

1/2 tsp. minced garlic

1/2 cup salsa

3 tbls. nonfat, plain Greek yogurt

Salt and pepper to taste

In food processor, combine all ingredients, mixing until smooth.

Terrific Tip: Can also use to stuff vegetables or as a sandwich spread.

Nutrition Nugget: Soybeans are high in omega 3 fatty acids, which are necessary to ingest through food for their anti-inflammatory benefits.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 62 calories, 47 percent calories from fat, 3 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 50 milligrams sodium, 2 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams dietary fiber, 2 grams total sugars, 4 grams protein. Dietary Exchanges: 1 vegetable, 1/2 fat

Yam Chocolate Spice Bars

Makes 48 squares. Recipe is from “Holly Clegg’s trim&terrific Eating Well to Fight Arthritis: 200 easy recipes and practical tips to help reduce inflammation and ease symptoms.” Clegg says this bar cookie freezes well and the recipe offers a good use for leftover cooked sweet potatoes.

1 (18.25-oz.) box spice cake mix

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 egg

1 (8-oz.) pkg. reduced-fat cream cheese

1 (15-oz.) can sweet potatoes, drained and mashed or 1 cup cooked mashed yams

1 (16-oz.) box confectioners’ sugar

2 egg whites

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2⁄3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 13-inch-by-9-inch-by-2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In mixing bowl, beat together cake mix, butter, and egg until well mixed. Spread batter into prepared pan.

3. In mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese, sweet potatoes, confectioners’ sugar, egg whites, and vanilla until creamy. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour mixture over batter in pan.

4. Bake 40-50 minutes or until top is golden brown. Cool to room temperature and cut into squares.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 134 calories, 31 percent calories from fat, 5 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 12 milligrams cholesterol, 116 milligrams sodium, 22 grams carbohydrates, 0 grams dietary fiber, 16 grams total sugars, 2 grams protein. Dietary Exchanges: 11/2 other carbohydrate, 1 fat.