Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Juicing is a Unique Cleansing and Rejuvenation Technology


If I could recommend adding only one thing to your diet this year, it would be fresh fruit and vegetable juice.  Juicing provides benefits that are totally unique unto itself... above a blended drink and beyond whole, raw fruits/veggies.  It is a unique cleansing and rejuvenation technology!

Why do juices live up to their hype on TV?
  • Juicing separates the iquid from the indigestible fiber of plant material, allowing their nutrients to bypass the need for digestion;  Unlike any other food, they are absorbed directly into the bloodstream, right away.  That is why you feel the energy of juices immediately after drinking them.
  • When you take in nutrients without triggering digestion, your body can focus its energy on cellular cleansing, repair and renewal, and detoxification (all of which have a youthening effect).
  • Essentially, juicing gives us the benefits of fasting without depleting the body! 
The action vegetable and fruit juices have on loosening up toxins n the tissues is extremely powerful, so much so that it is used as a cornerstone of the highly successful treatment for cancer and other life-threatening diseases at the Gerson Institute in Mexico as well as the Hippocrates Institute in Florida.  Whatever your current health state is, juicing can take you to a new level of wellness in a relatively short amount of time.  There are tons of GREAT juicing books on the market.  Here are a few of my favorites:
 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Microwave Ovens: Modern Convenience or Modern Health Hazard?



Research shows that microwaved foods are more than "nutritionally depleted," they are literally a modern health hazard.

The following is a summary of Russian researchers' conclusions about microwaved foods, published by the Atlantis Rising Educational Center in Portland, Oregon:  Carcinogens were formed in virtually all foods tested. (No test food was subjected to more microwaving than necessary.) 

* Microwaving prepared meats sufficiently to ensure sanitary ingestion caused formation of d-Nitrosodiethanolamines, a well-known carcinogen.

* Microwaving milk and cereal grains converted some of their amino acids into carcinogens.

* Thawing frozen fruits converted their glucoside and galactoside containing fractions into carcinogenic substances.

* Extremely short exposure of raw, cooked or frozen vegetables converted their plant alkaloids into carcinogens.

* Carcinogenic free radicals were formed in microwaved plants, especially root vegetables.

In Comparative Study of Food Prepared Conventionally and in the Microwave Oven, published by Raum & Zelt in 1992, the authors write:

"Production of unnatural molecules is inevitable. Naturally occurring amino acids have been observed to undergo isomeric changes (changes in shape morphing) as well as transformation into toxic forms, under the impact of microwaves produced in ovens. One short-term study found significant and disturbing changes in the blood of individuals consuming microwaved milk and vegetables..."

Source:  "Microwave Ovens:  The Curse of Convenience," Christopher Gussa, www.naturalnews.com.

 Additional Tip:


Replace your microwave with a toaster oven and enjoy better health and flavor:
    

Friday, December 17, 2010

Hearty Gluten-Free Garden Vegetable Wrap with Wild Rice


The Ingredients:
One Food for Life Gluten-Free Tortilla
Cooked Brown Rice/Wild Rice Medley (or just wild rice if you prefer!)
Kale
Shitake Mushrooms
Zucchini
Herbs de Provence, sea salt, black pepper
Raw Milk Cheddar Cheese

The Instructions:
1.  Warm the tortilla gently in a toaster oven or on a skillet. 

2.  Sautee in ghee the kale, Shitake mushrooms, and zucchini until soft and lightly browned.  Add the herbs, sea salt, and black pepper to taste. 

3.  Place some wild rice in the tortilla and top with your freshly sautee'd veggies!  Add some raw milk cheddar cheese slices to complete the creation or some avocado slices if you prefer.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Morning Sickness and Selective Appetite in Early Pregnancy May be Nature's Way of Preventing Miscarriages



As a raw foodists and natural health enthusiast, I was startled (to say the least) when I became sick during my first trimester of pregnancy and when the range of foods I found appetizing dwindled significantly.  I was worried that the nausea was a sign that my body was either not ready for pregnancy or not adjusting to it optimally.  My normal diet was very high in vegetables, greens, and superfoods:  I really put a lot of thought into balancing what I ate.  So, when I found myself averse to... you guessed it... vegetables, greens, and superfoods, I was concerned that I was not taking in enough nutrients to nourish myself or my baby.  Not only could I not tolerate raw food (except for carrot/apple juices), I could barely look at most vegetables!  LUCKILY, I did some research.  I found out that morning sickness is not only normal, it can also be interpreted as a good sign.  And likewise, early pregnancy calls for a very specific diet, which my body had guided me to perfectly.  Read on to find out more...

Morning Sickness and Selective Appetite in Early Pregnancy May be Nature's Way of Preventing Miscarriages

Morning sickness typically begins in the fifth week of gestation, peaks by the eleventh, and subsides for most women by the fifteenth or sixteenth week of pregnancy.  Though uncomfortable, studies show that morning sickness is not only normal, but may also be nature's way of preventing miscarriages.  In fact, women who experience morning sickness have a substantially lower risk of miscarriage than those who do not.

Morning sickness has been carefully studied, but it is still not known exactly what causes it.  Several scientists have suggested that morning sickness provides a protective mechanism for the early embryo.  The "selective" or diminished appetite women often experience alongside morning sickness may also be protective.  The most common foods pregnant women are averse to during the first trimester are all foods that are either potentially parasite-contaminated or phytochemically potent:  These common foods include:  meat, poultry, fish, caffeine containing beverages, and vegetables.

What purpose do the foods typically preferred by women early in their pregnancy serve?  These foods, which tend to be on the sweeter side- fruits and fruit juices, grains, starches, sweets, and dairy, "may result from a selection process that increased the likelihood that nutritional, safe, calorically rich foods became the nourishment of choice," write Deepak Chopra and David Simon in their book on Holistic pregnancy, Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives.

Thanks for clearing that up for me, Deepak and David... And, thanks to Kalavati who helped me relieve some of my morning sickness/low energy symptoms with her amazing shiatsu skills:  http://www.embark-lovethelifeyoulive.com

For more information on Prenatal Nutrition, I highly recommend this book!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Vegetarian or Vegan Eggplant Parmesan


I made this for the first time last night.  I absolutely loved it, and it was a hit with my husband too!   I have been craving Italian flavors since becoming pregnant a few months ago.  And, as a result, I've been on a mission to recreate Italian dishes, making them both lighter and vegetarian/vegan friendly.  Eggplant Parmesan is one of my favorite things to order at an Italian restaurant.  HOWEVER, I do not enjoy the heavy feeling that the fried oil, heavy refined flour breading, and pasteurized cheeses leave in my system!  I believe that you will, as I did, find this version both delicious and nourishing in all ways...

Ingredients:

One Package of Organic Brown Rice Spaghetti, cooked
1 Jar of Mur Glen Organic Cabernet Marinara Sauce
1 Large or 2 Small Eggplants, sliced thinly
Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar mixed together and sprinkled with a small amount of sea salt
Breadcrumbs, either store bought gluten free or homemade by toasting a few slices of millet bread and placing it in a food processor until 'crumby'
(Excellent millet bread is available from Sami's Bakery.)
Basil for Garnish

Directions:

1.  Soak the sliced eggplants in salted water for about an hour.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.   Dip eggplant slices into the olive oil mixture 

3. Coat the eggplant with the breadcrumbs and place on an enamel or stainless steel cookie sheet.  (Aluminum and Teflon bake ware are harmful to your health, so best to avoid at all times.)

4. Bake until brown and crispy turning at least once (up to 10 minutes for each side, but this varies with each oven, so watch them carefully the first time you make this dish).

To serve:  Place the spaghetti on the plate.  Add the baked eggplant slices and coat with the Cabernet marinara sauce.

For a Vegetarian Dish:  Grate a healthy cheese on top, such as raw milk goat, sheep, or Jersey cow cheese.  Pasteurization damages the proteins and enzymes in cow's milk, making them difficult to digest and prone to clogging/depositing within the connective tissue and lymphatic system of the body.  (Goat milk proteins are not as affected.)  Probably for this reason, research has linked pasteurized cow dairy product consumption with osteoporosis, increased colds, asthma, and certain types of cancer.  The moral of the story:  Seek out raw dairy products for best results! 
For a Vegan Dish:  Use Rawmesan, a Vegan version of Parmesan cheese that is just as delish!  Available from the Raw Food World.
 
 And Finally... place a few basil leaves on top for some extra flavor and color.  You can also drizzle a little extra infused olive oil around the edge of the plate for olive oil lovers!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Is Bread Healthy? It May Depend on how you Make it... Why Sourdough Bread is 100% better for you

My homemade Kamut Sourdough Bread Experiment

 Want to make your own sourdough bread?  Learn the why's and how's of sourdough bread making from Sally Fallon:


There is A LOT of debate among nutritionists, dietary counselors, and other health professionals about which foods are beneficial for human beings and which are not.  In recent years, it has become a trend to go "against the grain," and declare bread as an unnatural food that causes disease, obesity, insulin resistance, etc., etc.  Of course, there are equal numbers of equally qualified professionals that feel that grains are disease-preventative, anti-oxidant rich super foods. What is the truth about bread, grains, and your health?  It may come down to traditional wisdom:  Researchers have found that breads prepared the way our ancestors prepared them lead to health benefits while grains prepared in the modern fashion lead to health detriments...



WHY SOURDOUGH BREAD IS 100% BETTER FOR YOU

According to European researchers, naturally leavened (or sourdough) bread is superior to cultured yeasted breads sold in most markets today. 

Yeasted breads are linked to stomach bloat, indigestion, thin blood, and weak intestines.  They also seem to exacerbate conditions that occur with unfriendly yeast overgrowth in the intestines, including many degenerative diseases.  'Whole grain' varieties of commercial breads have additional shortcomings:

  1. They often contain flour bleach, which forms alloxan, a compound known to cause diabetes in animal by destroying the beta cells of the pancreas. 
  2. They are full of phytic acid.  Phytic acid reduces mineral metabolism- especially in those whose diet includes a good percentage of grains and legumes- and can contribute to anemia, nervous disorders, and rickets. 
Naturally leavened breads, on the other hand, involve a process that allows fermenting agents to break down the cellulose structure of grains and release nutrients into the dough, greatly improving the bread's nutritional value.  They also contain lactobacillus, a friendly bacteria which helps generate the intestinal flora essential for proper digestion and elimination.  Sourdough bread's advantages go beyond that:
  • They contain almost no phytic acid because the bacterial action in the sourdough baking process neutralize nearly all of it.
  • They stay edible for weeks and are more delicious and nutritious in five to ten days, if stored in a cool dry place. 
Where can you find Sourdough breads for you and your family? 

They're available in most healthfood stores.  Note that some breads say "sourdough" but may not actually be naturally leavened.  These breads usually also contain yeast.  Read labels before buying so that you know what you're getting.

On-line:  www.frenchmeadowbakery.com or http://grindstonebakery.com

Source:

Healing with Whole Foods:  Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition by Paul Pitchford


Question of the Day: Do you have a favorite brand of healthy bread? Share it below!

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Vegetarian One Pot Dinner SuperStar: Meatless Shepherd's Pie!






This meal is a new cold-weather favorite of mine.  In fact, I made it for Thanksgiving dinner, accompanied with biscuits.  You won't believe how wonderfully rich this dish is even though it is totally cheese, meat, and wheat free... I count it among a handful of recipes that I can serve to people accustomed to meat and potatoes fare, knowing that they will be satisfied with the flavors and textures it contains.

This is one of a number of fantastic recipes created by Vimala Rodgers.  This is the first book I ever owned about Vegetarianism and Vegetarian cooking, actually, and being from a small town in Wisconsin, I was shocked to learn about the health information it contained related to the subject!  :




Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Get more from your vitamins/supplements using the Organ Clock


According to Chinese medicine theory, the organs of the body have a natural flow of energy that is continuous around the clock. When taking supplements to benefit a particular organ, you can use the following list to determine what time of day that organ is most receptive to nourishment:

Organ: Time
Stomach: 7-9 a.m.
Spleen/Pancreas: 9-11 a.m.
Heart: 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Small Intestine: 1-3 p.m.
Bladder: 3-5 p.m.
Kidney: 5-7 p.m.
Circulation/Reproductive Organs: 7-9 p.m.
Digestive System: 9-11 p.m.
Gall Bladder: 11 p.m. - 1 a.m.
Liver: 1-3 a.m.
Lung: 3-5 a.m.
Colon: 5-7 a.m.

*Supplements that target the liver/gallbladder are best taken them before bed, so that they work overnight, rather than taken during their exact time of highest activity.

Friday, December 3, 2010

To Remedy Dry Winter Skin, Use Coconut Oil and Avoid Commercial Lotions



The small molecular structure of coconut oil allows for easy absorption through the skin, giving it a soft, smooth texture. It makes an ideal ointment for the relief of dry, rough and wrinkled skin.

According to Bruce Fife, natural health researcher and N.D., coconut oil the only type of oil you should use on your skin. Why? The answer is free-radicals!

"Most commercial creams and lotions are predominantly water. Their moisture is quickly absorbed into dry, wrinkled skin. As the water enters the skin, it expands the tissues, like filling a balloon with water, so that wrinkles fade away and the skin feels smoother. But this is only temporary. As soon as the water evaporates or is carried away by the blood stream, the dry, wrinkled skin returns. No matter how hard you try people will never be able to permanently cure dry, wrinkled skin with any commercial body lotion or body care products. Besides the water, most lotions have an oil of some type. This oil is almost always a highly refined vegetable oil devoid of all natural protective antioxidants. One product in our food supply and in body care products that leads to a great deal of free radicals is oxidized vegetable oils. Conventional body care products that are made with refined vegetable oils which have all the antioxidants stripped from them are highly prone to free-radical generation both in and outside the body. That is why eating processed vegetable oils can cause a deficiency in vitamin E and other antioxidants. The antioxidants are used up fighting off free radicals causing permanent damage to connective tissues. This is also the reason why you should be careful about the type of oils you use on your skin, and in your lotions, creams and lip balms. If you use a lotion, or cream with a refined oil in it you are in fact causing your skin to age faster.

The ideal lotion is one that is made from an oil that not only softens the skin, but protects it against damage, promotes healing and gives it a more youthful, healthy appearance. Coconut oil fits that description. Pure virgin coconut oil is the best natural ingredient for skin lotion available. It prevents destructive free-radical formation and provides protection against them. It can help to keep the skin from developing liver spots, and other blemishes caused by aging and over exposure to sunlight. It helps to keep connective tissues strong and supple so that the skin doesn't sag and wrinkle. In some cases it might even restore damaged or diseased skin. The oil is absorbed into the skin and into the cell structure of the connective tissues, limiting the damage excessive sun exposure can cause.
*Coconut oil will not only bring temporary relief to the skin, but it will aid in healing and repairing. It will have lasting benefits, unlike most lotions. It can help bring back a youthful appearance. The coconut oil will aid in removing the outer layer of dead skin cells, making the skin smoother. The skin will become more evenly textured with a healthy "shine". While doing this the coconut oil will penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin and strengthen the underlying tissues."

Source: The Healing Miracles of Coconut Oil by Bruce Fife, N.D.




Thursday, December 2, 2010

Lucuma Raw Chocolate Melt-Aways


The benefits of eating raw chocolate have been discussed on this blog before and I do not think I need to extol the benefits to your taste BUDS of eating raw chocolate, so I'll just get on with the recipe...

I made these melt-aways for a friend's art opening and they went quickly!

Ingredients:
1/2 c. Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, gently melted
1/2 c. Raw Honey
1/2 c. Raw Chocolate Powder
1/2 c. Raw Carob Powder
1/4 c. Tocotrienols
1/2 c. Lucuma
2 tsp. Raw Vanilla Powder
1/4 tsp. Himalayan Salt
a pinch of Reishi mushroom powder if you want to add some magic to them...

Instructions: Combine all ingredients. Roll into balls. Chill to firm.

Lucuma is an orange fruit with a flavor reminiscent of butterscotch ideal for sweetening natural candies, cookies, and ice creams. It is native to the highlands of Peru, Chile, and Ecuador, where it enjoys tremendous popularity and is favored over classics like chocolate and vanilla as an ice cream flavor.

Despite its sweetness, Lucuma is actually low both low in sugar and low on the glycemic index.  It is rich in both beta-carotene and iron.





Monday, November 8, 2010

Rooibos, Goji Berry, and Vanilla Tea: A Favorite Blend


When I wake up in the morning, I love to drink something appealing... and this drink fits the bill!  You can put the tea, goji berries, and vanilla in a cup of water and allow it to steep overnight OR just brew the tea with hot water in the morning.  It's up to you.

Ingredients:
1 Bag Roobios Tea
1/2 tsp. Raw Vanilla Bean Powder
2-3 T. Goji Berries

ABOUT ROOIBOS...
Research has confirmed many health benefits from this tea, including cancer prevention, and as a treatment for nervous tension, allergic dermatitis, and indigestion.   Rooibos is rich in anti-oxidants and has similar health generating nutrients as the other red foods, such acai berries and pomegranates.

Source:  Naturalnews.com

ABOUT GOJI BERRIES...

Goji berries have been grown by Chinese, Mongolian, and Tibetan peoples for about 5,000 years:  The Chinese hold a strong belief that gojis can significantly extend life.  Research supports goji berry legends, indicating that..
  • Goji berries are adaptogens, meaning they invigorate and strengthen the body while helping it to deal more easily with stress.
  • Goji berries increase immune function.
  • Gojis provide liver protection.
  • Gojis improve eyesight.
  • Gojis improve blood quality.
  • Goji berries are high in sesquiterpenoids, which stimulate the pituitary and pineal glands, increasing the production of HGH- the Youth or master hormone that influences the level of all hormones.
  • Goji berries contain antioxidants that protect our DNA from free radical and radiation damage.  This assists with preventing degenerative diseases.
  • Goji berries are rich in hydrogen.   Hydrogen is a water generator, so they help us stay hydrated.
  • Goji berries contain choline, a nutrient that combats the type of free radical damage linked to Alzheimer's disease and other neurological degenerative conditions.
  • Goji berries balance blood sugar:  In fact, goji bery tea has been used in Asia for the treatment of diabetes.
  • Goji berry tea is helpful for all types of digestive problems and can aid in recovery from digestive illnesses due to their calming polysaccharides.  
  • The polysaccharides in goji berries also stimulate collagen production and retain moisture, resulting in younger-looking skin!
Source:  Superfoods:  The Food and Medicine of the Future by David Wolfe.






Goji Berries, Raw Vanilla, and Red Rocks Rooibos Available from the Raw Food World.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Hidden Connection Between Meat, Insulin Resistance, and Type II Diabetes

It is widely known now that eating refined sugars and white breads, for example, spike blood sugar levels and both cause and perpetuate diabetes.  Did you know that meat is actually worse for your pancreas than refined sugar? 

Diabetes patients are almost never told that the amount of insulin the body needs to process one regular piece of steak equals the amount of insulin required for eating 12 times the amount of soda contained in one can of soda.  Insulin acts like a "key" that unlocks the "gate" through which glucose and other nutrients must pass to enter cells.  Regular meat meals make the cells increasingly resistant to insulin, and even though they do not first raise blood sugar levels, excessive use eventually leads to Type II diabetes. 

A report based on data from 12 pooled cohort studies on heavy meat diets was led by Dagfinn Aune from the University of Oslo and published in the journal Diabetologia. The study determined that the high intake of processed meat may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 41 percent.  This new meta-analysis was conducted jointly from Norway and the US. The general conclusions of the study suggested that: "High intake of total meat increased the risk of diabetes by 17 percent, while red meat and processed meat were associated with 21 and 41 percent increases in diabetes risk."  While high meat consumption of any type may lead to insulin resistance, processed meats do even moreso.  The higher rate of diabetes risk from processed meats can be attributed to the nitrates used as preservatives.  Other studies have documented that nitrates cause beta cell toxicity, blocking beta cells' ability to produce insulin.

A diabetes- preventive diet is one that is high in complex carbohydrates, vegetables, beans, nuts, and fruits.  If you choose to eat meat, it is healthiest to include it as the smallest portion of your meal (about 20%) and infrequently (a few times a week at most).  This is a bit of a departure from what we've come to think of as a 'meal' in the United States.  A good way to experiment with these healthier ratios is to dive into some International cookbooks as much of the world has traditionally eaten healtheir proportions of vegetables to meat.  This is changing in some places due to processed food industry influences, and diabetes rates around the world are going up as a result.

Sources:  Timeless Secrets of Health and Rejuvenation, Andreas Moritz.
"Eating processed meat boosts diabetes risk by 40 percent," Paul Lous, www.naturalnews.com.

     

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Coconut Chia Pudding with Strawberries for Company


Did you get the memo that chia seeds are one of the most beneficial foods on the planet... while also being one of the least expensive???

"One of the best kept secrets in nutrition is the seed of a desert plant called chia, among the most nourishing, energy-giving, endurance-sustaining food products ever discovered... Royal planters of Aztec emperors grew precious chia seeds in floating gardens surrounding their capital city of Tenochitlan." - James F. Scheer, The Magic of Chia

Chia Seeds...
  • Have two times the protein of any other seed or grain and five times the calcium of milk
  • Are richer in potassium than bananas
  • Have three times the antioxidants as do blueberries and three times more iron than spinach
  • Contain Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids in a beneficial, anti-inflammatory ratio
  • Boost strength, energy, and endurance
  • Level blood sugar
  • Induce weight loss
  • Cleanse the entire digestive tract
Chia seeds have also been found to be helpful with certain medical conditions:  overweight, thryroid problems, irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux, celiac disease, lowering cholesterol, diabetes, and hypoglycemia.

If you're looking for a budget-friendly, elegant raw dessert to make for a lot of company, this is it.

Coconut Chia Pudding with Strawberries:

1/2 c. heirloom chia seeds
3 cups spring water
1 1/2 c. coconut milk (1 c. water or coconut water blended with the meat of one young coconut 'til creamy) OR macadamia nut milk if you don't have a coconut on-hand)
About 1/3 c. raw honey or agave nectar (taste and adjust to your liking)
1 tsp. raw vanilla bean powder
a pinch of sun fire salt to bring out the sweetness and add minerals


1.  Soak the chia seeds in the water overnight.
2.  Whisk the now gelled chia/water combination with the coconut milk, honey, vanilla, and sun fire salt until well combined.  
3.  To serve:  Top with sliced strawberries and sprinkle with palm (coconut) sugar and cinnamon.   



The Raw Food World carries heirloom chia seeds in bulk, sea salt, honey, and everything else you need to make some amazing chia pudding!














Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mango-Avocado Raw Vegan Sushi Heaven


Mango Avocado Macadamia "Sushi"






One of my favorite foods before going raw was rice, and this recipe provides an amazingly flavorful substitute for it.  Plus, it includes seaweeds, incredible mineral-rich nutritional powerhouses that contain a unique immune-enhancing sugar called polysaccharides.  The mango and avocado give the dish an exotic flavor and the macadamias- an extra crunch!  Pictured above with a Soy Vinegar Dipping Sauce and organic Wasabi powder from Eden Foods. 

Sushi "Rice" from Ani's Raw Food Essentials by Ani Phyo

1 1/2 c. peeled and diced turnips
1/2 c. pine nuts
1/4 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

In a food processor, combine the turnips, pine nuts, and salt.  Process into rice-size pieces.  Add the vinegar and pulse gently to mix.  Will keep for a couple of days in the fridge.  If you don't have turnips, use jicama instead.  

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Healthy Raw Chocolate, Vanilla, and Cinnamon Morning Latte for the MassAppeal Show!

What could be more fun or more healthy that starting your day with chocolate?  Practically nothing!.. which is why I'm sharing this recipe with your for a Healthy Raw Chocolate, Vanilla, and Cinnamon Morning Latte.




This beautiful concoction does four main things for you:

1- Gives your both instant and long-lasting energy.
2- Fuels your body with an abundance of nutrition to start your day.
3- Boosts your immune system.
4- Helps you start your day off on the right food by boosting the levels of serotonin and dopamine in your brain, which gently and naturally nudges your mood in a positive direction!

Another bonus of this breakfast is that it tastes amazing and can be a savored addition to your morning ritual.  There is no sacrifice in healthy eating if you know what you're doing!

All of the ingredients for this morning latte can be ordered from:


The Ingredients (for 2 servings):

2 c. warm/hot water- soothingly warm, but not so hot that it burns your finger
4 T. raw chocolate powder
1 T. extra virgin coconut oil
1/2 c. truly raw cashews
3 T. unheated, unprocessed honey (preferably wildflower and from your local area)
1/2 tsp. raw vanilla bean powder
1 tsp. organic cinnamon powder
a pinch Sea Salt

Blend well and savor.  Share it with a friend! 


Each and every ingredient in this healthy raw chocolate , vanilla, and cinnamon morning latte has a long list of health benefits.  Here is a brief summary of why I chose each of these specific ingredients when formulating this recipe:

Soothingly warm/hot water:  Drinking a warm beverage is an excellent way to help your body wake up in the morning, especially when it's turning chillier outside.  The temperature I'm recommend here is just a bit less than boiling hot because adding boiling water to the other ingredients in this drink would actually destroy some of their nutrients. 

Pure Raw Chocolate Powder:  Raw chocolate is unprocessed and additive-free.  And, perhaps more importantly, it has not been heated or roasted.  Chocolate is an amazing superfood, but it takes on some undesirable qualities when it is roasted and mixed with dairy, sugar, and other ingredients.  By using raw chocolate, you gain the benefit of 700% more antioxidants than even the best organic non-raw chocolate.  You also gain additional brain and mood-boosting chemicals that are present in raw chocolate but not in any other types of chocolate since they are destroyed by heat.  Chocolate is the number one source of magnesium in nature.  We know that 80% of Americans are chronically deficient in magnesium and this mineral is crucial for brain health, bone health, heart health, and the ability to cope and perform well in stressful situations.  Eating raw chocolate is a healthful and delicious way to begin to add more magnesium to your diet and start reaping these benefits!  If you want to learn more about raw chocolate, I suggest reading Naked Chocolate by David Wolfe and Shazzie.  There is some interesting biochemical information in the book as well as historical information.  (Did you know chocolate was considered so valuable in some cultures that it was used as currency?!)

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil:  Coconut oil got a 'bad rap' several years ago as some studies came out regarding the negative effects of hydrogenated coconut oil.  Coconut oil in its natural, unprocessed state, is probably the healthiest oil on the planet, assisting with health problems ranging form skin disorders to diabetes.  Several books have been written about extra virgin coconut oil because it truly is a panacea.  It nourishes the thyroid gland, assisting with under or overactive thyroid.  It boosts metabolism, assisting with weight loss.  And, it is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal, helping to prevent common ailments like the cold and flu.

Truly Raw Cashews:  Cashews labeled raw that you find at the health food store or supermarket are by and large heat extracted and not really raw.  Cashews are rich in zinc, which helps your body to digest damaged collagen and rebuild new collagen in your skin.  Raw cashews are also rich in oleic fatty acids that are highly beneficial for your skin when eaten in their unheated state.  Truly raw cashews can be purchased on-line at specialty stores.

Raw Honey:  Honey is made from the nectar that bees sip from flower blossoms.  It is a universal medicine, sweetener, and nutrient resource.  There is a tremendous amount of research on raw honey from Russia, where it was noted that the most people living past one hundred were in fact beekeepers.  Raw, unprocessed honey is the richest food source of live, rejuvenating enzymes.  Research has indicated that it increases mental alertness, reflexes, and even IQ.

Raw Vanilla Bean:  Unmistakably, vanilla in its purest state is the most delicious type of vanilla.  Its flavor beautifully enhances the flavor of chocolate, which is why we use it here.   As a side note, vanilla, like chocolate, has aphrodisiac properties.  So, keep it in mind for Valentine's day recipes (wink, wink).

Cinnamon:  Cinnamon balances blood sugar, improves digestion, and improves circulation- warming you up on those brisk fall mornings!

Sea Salt:  Adding sea salt to a sweet recipe is a culinary secret.  The salty flavor helps to bring out the sweetness of the drink.  For health purposes, it also adds valuable trace minerals necessary for human health yet only found in the ocean, and it adds some electrolytes to our drink.

Want to learn more?  Buy these books for your home library.  If you buy just one, buy the Superfoods book on the left.  It contains information about all of the superfoods mentioned in this post:
  

An Evening with Brian Clement

Last evening, I attended a raw vegan potluck, which was followed by a talk by Brian Clement.  His talk encompassed a lot of different topics, including how much he has learned about both instinctual, grounded living and following your heart from being present with people during births and deaths (or near deaths).

Brian Clement is the Director of the Hippocrates Health Institute, now located in West Palm Beach, Florida.  The Institute has the distinction as having helped more people than any other treatment center in the WORLD overcome catastrophic illnesses.  Dr. Clement gave some very personal accounts of people that he'd assisted to restore health at the institute despite very grim diagnoses by their traditional oncologists and having been given only a few months to live.  He talked about his experiences with assisting people with brain cancer, melanoma, and prostate cancer specifically.  He also spoke about the new phenomenon of "active aging" that the institute helps people with, which involves healthy diet, exercise, and detoxification techniques that help people age with much more vitality and in good health.  


If I could sum up the important points Dr. Clement shared, they would be the following:
  • The most important ingredient for health is having passion, a reason for being
  • All life comes from the sun and the more sprouts and greens we eat, the more solar energy we avail ourselves to, and the healthier we will be.  Chlorophyll is a super-tonic for humans!
  • Oxygen is the most important nutrient.  We get oxygen through deep breathing, eating raw/living foods (rich in oxygen), and drinking water that has not been degraded by fluoride or being run through copper pipes
  • 98% of supplements on the market, including fish oils, are toxic to the human body (I know- controversial!  I believe him, though, as his research is impeccable;  see his book, supplements exposed.)
I didn't know exactly what to expect before seeing Dr. Clement speak.  What he delivered, however, was an incredible, heart-centered speech that inspired me to 1- live more from my heart and 2- eat more sprouts!  Thank you, Dr. Clement.

 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Raw Italian Nachos Inspired by Joey Buona's!


One of my favorite things to do is to recreate my old favorite cooked foods into equally satisfying raw versions.  Pictured above is my adaptation of an Italian Nachos appetizer I had long ago at Joey Buona's in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  In the restaurant version, the chips served alongside the Italian dip were fried and if I remember correctly, some dairy was involved.  

 I served these nachos at a Spa party for my friend, a bride-to-be, along with her bridesmaids the day before the wedding.

The CHIPS:
Slice Jicama, Yellow Summer Squash, and Zucchini thinly (with a mandoline if you have one available), place in a large bowl and drizzle with a touch of olive oil and sprinkle lightly with sea salt.  Dehydrate the chips at 115 until crisp.  Add fresh, thinly sliced baby portabella mushrooms and chopped raw kalamata olives just before serving.

The SUN-DRIED TOMATO SAUCE:
1/2 c. sun-dried tomatoes, soaked to soften
1/4 c. purified water
1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1T. cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove
1 T. fresh thyme or oregano
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 c. chopped fresh basil
1/4 c. fresh oregano leaves
1/2 tsp. sea salt

Blend the above ingredients in a food processor until smooth. 

Makes a great appetizer or poker night dish! ;) 




Friday, September 3, 2010

Mediterranean Food, Raw-Style


Pictured above is a Mediterranean meal I made for my husband and myself. The base of it is a mixture of fresh greens from our local Farmer's Market, and it is topped with zucchini hummus (bean free!), Sevillano Olives marinated with heirloom garlic, fresh oregano, and olive oil (from Sunfood Nutrition), tomato slices, red pepper dices.... and wild leeks (also called ramps). The bread sitting on the side of the plate is cumin flat bread from Matthew Kenney's Everyday Raw recipe book. I sprinkled some cayenne over everything to give it an extra 'kick.' It was a feast for the eyes as well as for the stomach!
















Zucchini Hummus from The Raw Food Diet Revolution (linked above)-

"This amazing, bean-free hummus is a big bonus for all of us who experience flatulence when we eat beans.  It has all the flavor of traditional Middle Eastern hummus and is full of nutrients, including bone-strengthening calcium.  Enjoy it served with Crudites or in romaine lettuce boats with tomatoes and sprouts."

Ingredients:
1 c. chopped zucchini, firmly packed
3 1/2 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 T. flaxseed oil
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
Pinch of cayenne
1/2 c. raw tahini (or- use sesame seeds instead, but use more)
1/3 c. sesame seeds, soaked for 4 hours, rinsed, and drained
Note:  I use about a cup of whole sesame seeds instead of tahini and sesame seeds.  Since I put everything into a high speed blender, the seeds are, in effect, being transformed into tahini as I make the recipe.  Again, this will only work if you're using a high speed blender- if not, use the pre-ground tahini.

1.  Combine the zucchini, lemon juice, oil, garlic, paprika, salt, optional cumin, and cayenne in a blender and process until smooth.
2.  Add the tahini and sesame seeds and process until completely smooth and creamy.
3.  Stored in a sealed glass jar in the fridge, this will keep for up to 4 days.

Note #2:  This recipe is best made in a high-speed blender like a Vita-mix.  However, it can be made successfully in a standard blender if it is processed in two batches.  (If you use a food processor, you will end up with a mixture with whole sesame seeds in it rather than being smooth and creamy.)


My husband and I have different food preferences:  I prefer to eat all-raw and he prefers to eat some healthfully cooked meals in addition to raw stuff... So, do we eat separate meals? The answer is, "Sometimes." But, more often than not, I prepare one raw meal (which we both eat) along with a simple, healthy cooked item that requires virtually no preparation on our part. 

In this case, I made a Japanese Sweet Potato to go with his salad. The Japanese sweet potato is so flavorful, it does not need much preparation. It was baked at 425 for about 45 minutes. I typically serve it with a little sunfire salt and ghee (or grassfed butter if the mood strikes).  If you're vegan, use olive or flax oil.


Mineral-Rich Sun Fire Salt, High Speed Blenders, Gorgeous Raw Olives and More Tools for Making Delicious, Nutritious Raw Food are Available from:

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Healthful Mexian Fiesta


Pictured above is a raw vegan red pepper tortilla topped with nacho 'cheese,' taco flavored nut meat, homemade salsa and sour cream.   It was served on a bed of romaine greens, with lime-kissed guac. and raw chocolate mole sauce.


I know what you're thinking.... "It sounds complicated."  Well, you're right:  It was!  This was a special occasion- a meal that I made for a family visit- hence all the bells and whistles included in the recipe!  That being said, the leftovers were fabulous and you could make a Mexican-style meal with any 2 or 3 of these components without the rest.  For example, you could eat a taco salad with romaine, taco nut meat, salsa and guacamole.  Or, you could wrap the salsa and romaine in the red pepper tortillas and dip them in the chocolate mole sauce for a complete, gourmet wrap-style meal.  The sky's you're limit! 

How to Make Everything:

Tortillas- Use any raw vegan tortilla recipe that you like or simply buy some (gently cooked) organic corn or sprouted corn (Ezekiel brand) tortillas instead.  I used a recipe from Russel James's Mexican Style e-book that included a red pepper tortilla that was flavorful and soft.  It was also corn-free, which I prefer due to the hybridization of corn and the unnatural sugars it contains as a result:  Go to the Raw Chef's web page for more information about that particular e-book.  Or, you can get pre-made tortillas and breads from The Raw Food World.  For this recipe, I'd recommend their onion bread or jalapeno flat bread (if you like spicy foods).

Raw Chocolate Mole Sauce- Use the Fiesta Mole mix from The Raw Food World store for a quick, nutrient-rich mole sauce-  or make one from scratch.  The raw chocolate mole pictured above was from the Raw Chef's Mexican Style e-book.

Taco Flavored Nut Meat-
(From Yemiah's Delights DVD set)

1 c. Almonds
3 c.  Walnuts
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried cilantro
1/2 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. cumin powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 T. chili powder
4 tsp. Sun Fire salt
1/2 minced sweet onion

Combine all of the above ingredients in a food processor until the mixture is the consistency of taco meat.  Add a Habenero chili or chopped red pepper after processing if desired.

Nacho Cheese-

2 c. Brazil nuts
1 1/2 c. orange bell pepper
1 c. orange pieces (about 1 orange)
4 cloves garlic
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 tsp. Sun Fire Salt

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor until smooth and spreadable.

The above recipe was adapted from Alissa Cohen's Nacho Cheese Recipe in her phenomenal, inspirational book Living on Live Food.
















My Personal Favorite Simple Guacamole Recipe- 
2 to 3 avocados, mashed by hand or blended in a food processor
the juice of one lime
pinch of Sun Fire Salt (optional)

Yemiah's Cashew Sour Cream-
(From Yemiah's Raw Food Delights DVD Set, DVD #2 Quick Meals.)

2 c. soaked and rinsed really raw cashews (available from the Raw Food World)
3/4 c. lemon juice
1 c. Spring or filtered water
4 T. onion powder
2 tsp. Sun Fire Salt

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth.


   












Farmer's Market Heirloom Tomato Salsa-

    2-3 medium heirloom tomatoes
    1 wallah wallah onion (or sweet white onion)
    1 hot pepper of your choice (optional)
    1 handful cilantro
    2 cloves garlic
    dash of Sun Fire Salt
    splash of lemon juice


Dice up everything to about 1/4-1/2 inch size and toss together.

Really Raw Cashews, Sun Fire Salt, Fiesta Mole Mix, and other specialty ingredients can be purchased from:








Friday, August 27, 2010

Raw Vegan Cinnamon Buns with Heavenly Chocolate Sauce


These are some chewy, sweet, and chocolaty cinnamon buns (move over cinna-buns!) I made for a breakfast-for-dinner party as a dish to pass.  They were very well received by a crowd not necessarily into raw foods or even health foods. 

This is just one of MANY recipes offered in David Wolfe and Shazzie's book on the best kept health secret in the world- RAW CHOCOLATE.  And yes- the raw part is the key!!!  Raw chocolate has 700% more antioxidants than even the best organic cooked chocolate and several more bliss chemicals (anandamides).  Pure chocolate, taken in its original form also has a rich history and is a food that opens up your heart and consciousness to blissful experiences.

Read the book!... make some chocolaty concoctions... and send them to me please :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Simple Coconut Curry Rice


This is a really simple, delicious and easy to digest meal that almost anyone can make.

COCONUT CURRY RICE

1 c. organic coconut milk
1/2 c. jasmine rice
1/2 c. vegetables of your choice, cut up small (suggestions:  cauliflower, peas, butternut squash, or zucchini)
1-2 tsp. ghee
1-2 tsp. Frank's Finest Floral Essence Curry (or your favorite curry seasoning)

Place all of the ingredients into a small pot and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 20-25 minutes.  Sprinkle with Sun Fire Salt or sea salt and garnish with raw cashews and cilantro.  And... that's it!  Of course, you can double or triple the recipe depending on how many servings you'd like to make.

There are many books written about the health gifts of various forms of coconut.  Some of my favorites are:

















Frank's Finest Floral Essence Curry, Truly Raw (and truly flavorful) Cashews, as well as Sun Fire Salt (my top recommendation for mineral and ormus-rich salt) can be purchased from the Raw Food World.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Chocolate Kiss Cookies


Made with living, sprouted almond flour instead of wheat, these cookies remind me of some that I loved as a child from a local bakery....

CHOCOLATE KISS COOKIES:

Base:
2 c. soaked almonds
1/2 c. young coconut meat

Place in food processor and process.  Then add:

2/3 c. truly raw agave nectar
2 tsp. vanilla extract or 1/4 tsp. raw vanilla powder
2 T. raw coconut oil
1 tsp. Sun Fire Salt

Continue to process until the mixture is doughy.  Spread into rounds on dehydrator screens and dehydrate until a cookie-like consistency is achieved.  Then, remove from the dehydrator and add the topping.

Topping:

Simple- Mix 1 part raw Cacao Powder with 1 part raw Agave Nectar or raw Honey.
Gourmet- Use the raw Chocolate Ganahe Recipe from Raw for Dessert by Jen Cornbleet  (which is AMAZING!). 

Enjoy the cookies IMMEDIATELY... or store them in the fridge or freezer for later cookie indulgence.















Sun Fire Salt and the Best of the Best Coconut Oil, Raw Chocolate Powder, Raw Vanilla Powder, and Almonds Available with the Click of a Button from:

Long Lasting Salsa and 12 Reasons to Eat Hot Peppers


The following salsa's longevity is due to its lacto-fermentation. Lacto-fermentation is a way of preserving food using friendly, pro-biotic bacteria that both extend its shelf life, produce enzymes, and increase the bio-availability of the food's nutrients hundreds of times. It is a traditional, time-honored, and healthful way of preserving foods.

LACTO-FERMENTED SALSA:

Makes 1 quart

4 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced (use heirloom from the local Farmer's market whenever available)

2 small onions, finely chopped

3/4 c. chopped chile pepper, hot or mild

6-8 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped (optional)

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

1 tsp. dried oregano

juice of 2 lemons

1 T. sea salt

4 T. whey from homemade yogurt or an additional 1 T. sea salt

1/4 c. filtered or spring water

Mix all ingredients and place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar. Press down lightly with a wooden pounder or a meat hammer, adding more water if necessary to cover the vegetables. The top of the vegetables should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 2 days before transferring to cold storage. Enjoy!

Source:  Nourishing Traditions:  The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats by Sally Fallon with Mary G. Enig, Ph. D.


Why Eat Salsa Anyway.... ?
 
If you're a lover of spicy foods, I have good news for you: The spice in your foods benefits your health in multiple ways!

Hot peppers containing capsaicin, such as chile peppers or cayenne peppers-

  • Are rich in a host of nutrients, including beta-carotene, eye-friendly cartenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, and vitamin C.
  • Are rich in a host of minerals, including potassium, folic acid, and iron.
  •  Increase your levels of endorphins, boosting your mood.
  •  Help you feel more alert.
  • Enhance your circulation.
  • Have the ability to lower your body temperature by stimulating the cooling center of the hypothalamus in your brain. Peppers play a major part in helping tropical cultures get relief from high temperatures.
  • Aid digestion and stimulate the appetite
  • Do not actually irritate the stomach (as commonly believed), but prevent ulcers by killing bacteria and stimulating the lining of the stomach to secrete powerful protective juices.
  • Reduce the likelihood of developing atherosclerosis by reducing blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels and platelet aggregation, as well as increasing fibrinolystic activity (the ability to prevent the formation of blood clots, which can lead to a heart attack, stroke, or pulmonary embolism). In fact, people in cultures who eat large amounts of cayenne pepper have much lower rates of the aforementioned diseases.
  • Combat the common cold and sinus infections by stimulating the mucus membranes of the nose and sinuses.
  • Are excellent scavengers of free radicals.
Sources:
The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth by Jonny Bowden, P.h.D., C.N.S. 
The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, N.D.