My Dental Hygienist’s Concoction

I had my teeth cleaned this week, and that included a nice conversation with my dental hygienist, Amy. Amy is everything you could ever want from a hygienist. Gentle and thorough, kind, distracting and inquisitive. Nothing stops her endless lists of questions that are impossible to answer with a mouth full of cleaning instruments.

Lying back in the chair, my mouth wide open, I look up at the television and see a commercial for an insulin pen. Well now, that’s interesting. Advertising insulin on national TV? That shows how many prime time viewers across America are now affected, which does not make me happy. Normally I’m an optimist, but I would prefer not to have this kind of job security.

Next commercial? Coffee whiteners. With “special flavors for the season.” I try not to swallow my tongue as I think about how pathetic this is. I can see that nobody gave any thought to the juxtaposition of these two commercials: “Here’s some insulin to keep your blood sugars normal so you can indulge in the so-called privilege of using this coffee whitener stuff.” Otherwise known as “If you don’t spend your money on food [real, nourishing], you will spend it at the drugstore.” And this is how it works, right before our very eyes.

Amy and the dentist already know how I feel about coffee whiteners. Every time I come in for a visit, my dentist reminds me about the role I played in his decision to remove it from their coffee bar. He is so proud, and I am so proud of him! Yes, my dentist has a coffee bar in his waiting room. He’s like that.

Amy and the dentist are thrilled to hear about the Today show’s recent profiling of the Cleveland Clinic’s Brain Health & Wellness program, and they are especially glad about my shout out to toothbrushing! Did you know that gum disease has been associated with an increased risk of heart disease? Good health anywhere improves good health everywhere.

I return my focus to the goings on in my mouth. “Am I hurting you?” No, never. Now Amy was talking about fiber. It turns out that she has developed a “concoction” to greatly increase her intake of fiber, and it works so well that she wants to share the recipe with me, right here and now. With my tongue jammed back behind my right molars, I am all ears. But, seriously, I really do want to know. There must be at least as many prime time constipation-sufferers across these United States as there are diabetics.

The trick with Amy’s concoction (that’s what she calls it) is to use applesauce with the skins intact. This type of applesauce turns out to be extremely difficult to find, so you will probably have to make your own, as Amy does, about once a week. But I’m pretty sure it’s worth it.

Amy’s Concoction
4-6 apples to make 1 1/2 cups applesauce
1/4 cup prune juice (or 6-8 pitted prunes)
6 Tbsp. ground flax meal

Leaving the skins on, core the apples, but do not peel them. Chop up the cored apples and place in a medium-sized saucepan containing a few teaspoons of water. Heat on medium, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Cover and cook approximately 30 minutes, until apples are soft. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Add cooked apple mixture to a blender, along with prune juice and flax meal. Blend until smooth, place in a jar, and store in the refrigerator. Eat 1-2 tablespoons once a day.

We also discussed that it might work to use 6-8 pitted prunes instead of prune juice for even more fiber.

Thank you, Amy, for this recipe and for my clean and shiny white teeth!

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