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Foods of the Month 2009

Most of these have been featured on The Dr. Oz Show!

April 2009 - Barley               May 2009 - Tofu            June 2009 - Chick Peas
July 2009 - Corn        August 2009 - Blueberry     September 2009 - Blackberry
October 2009 - Winter Squash     November 2009 - Mochi
  Foods of the Month 2010 - 2012     Foods of the Month 2013

 

April 2009 - Barley

Barley is a whole grain that originated in southwestern Asia around 8500 B.C. It is known for being a very cleansing grain and is the signature grain for spring time. Spring is when your body goes through a natural cleansing and by incorporating barley in your diet you help your body do what it does naturally. High in protein, barley is also known for being a strengthening grain. It was the main source of food for the gladiators who were known for their physical strength.

When buying barley, I usually get mine from the bulk section. You will see two different kinds, pearled barley and whole, hulled barley. Pearled barley has a nice creamy taste that some people prefer, however the bran has been polished off so you lose some of the fiber, fat and protein from the grain. I prefer the whole, hulled barley. It takes longer to cook, but I think it has a nuttier taste and I like getting as much of the nutrients out of my food as possible.

 

 

May 2009 - Tofu

Tofu is one of the most versatile foods there is, however it has received a bad reputation. I believe it is because people do not know how to properly prepare it, so it ends up tasting plain and blah. First of all always use the fresh kind of tofu, packed in water. The silken kind is used only for desserts because it does not absorb flavors very well. In a main course dish such as a stir fr, or when marinating, the silken version does not give you the taste and texture you are looking to achieve.

A little known fact about tofu is you should not eat it right out of the package. Because it is made from soy beans it tends to be hard to digest. By cooking it, or just steaming it, you make the tofu much more digestible.

Tofu is the curd from soy beans. Soy beans have been eaten in this way for over 5000 years. The soy beans have a lot of anti-cancer properties, contain B vitamins, support detoxification and feed and nurture the lungs and large intestines.

 

June - Chick Peas

Chick peas, also known as garbanzo beans, are very high in vitamin C and iron. One of the first cultivated crops, these tasty beans support and nurture your spleen, pancreas and stomach. High in good quality fat, these beans are an excellent source of protein also.

Best know for making humus and falafel, chick peas can be used in soups, stir fries, salads and casseroles. When cooking with them from scratch make sure you soak them to help eliminate getting gas. I suggest soaking them over night, then discard the soaking water and cook them in fresh water. If you use canned beans the ratio of exchange is: 1/2 cup dried beans equals 1 (15 oz.) can of beans.

 

 

July - Corn

For a strong heart and a happy, healthy brain eat your corn! Although most people consider corn their favorite vegetable it is actually a grain. In fact it is the signature grain for summer. Known for its sweetness, it feeds and nurtures your heart and brain. A tea made from the corn silk is said to promote a healthy heart.

Here are some nutritional facts about corn.
-Prevents the formation of urinary stones.
-Strengthens your over all energy.
-The only grain that contains Vitamin A.
-Helps lower blood sugar levels.

Corn on the cob is one of my favorites cooked on an open fire. To do this, you soak the corn in water while still in its husk, about 5 to six hours. Then you put it over the fire on a grate or other cooking devise. I have one of those tri-pods that sits over the fire. Depending on how hot your fire is, it will take anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes until the corn is done. Once done remove the husk and enjoy the smoky, wonderful, sweet taste. For something different try spreading a little ume plum paste over the corn.

 

 

August 2009 - Blueberry

Blueberries, my own personal favorite berry, are sweet and wonderful when they are picked fresh. You really have never had a blueberry unless you have tasted them picked out in the wild. They are smaller then commercial grown ones, however the taste makes up for their lack of size. Most people know they have bacteria fighting capabilities but here are some more wonderful things about blueberries.

-Excellent source of Vitamin C.
-Good source of Vitamin A and manganese.
-Feed and nurtures blood and liver.
-Helps treat urinary-tract infections.
-Helps support eye function.

 

September 2009 - Blackberry

Blackberries are so colorful and full of flavor, you just have to have them in your next dessert. They are rich in vitamin C, and very high in fiber. Blackberries can be useful in the treatment of hemorrhoids, dysentery and diarrhea because of their astringent and diuretic properties.

If you are luck enough to find them growing wild, you are in for a treat. The wild ones are much sweeter than the commercial grown ones. And always remember to buy the organic variety. The conventional grown variety tend to have a slight bitter taste due to the chemicals sprayed on them.

 

October 2009 - Winter Squash

Squash, one of the sweetest, most wonderful tasting vegetable to grace our tables. It comes in so many varieties: acorn, buttercup, butternut, spaghetti, kobocha and, my favorite, delicata. They all have their own unique sweetness and taste, however the delicata is the sweetest. It is the little yellowish colored one that has green stripes on it. It comes around this time of year and stays for a couple of months but then you can not get them. Although they make a great addition to soups and casseroles, the best way to eat them is just cut them in half, place on a cookie sheet and bake at 350°F for one hour. Most of the winter squashes can be cooked this way and are a great addition to any meal.

Winter squashes feed and nurture you spleen, pancreas and stomach. High in vitamin A and C, potassium and magnesium. These sweet wonders also help build you immune system. Isn’t it wonderful how nature takes care of us, just when the cold season starts to come upon us these tasty vegetables become ripe for us to start eating so we can build our immune systems.

Delicata Squash

 

November 2009 - Mochi

Mochi is a traditional Japanese food. They have a tradition of making the sweet, gooey treat at the end of December for their festive New Year’s dinner. It is made by soaking, then steaming sweet brown rice. What makes the mochi so unique is then they pound it to get a thick, gooey mass of rice. If you make it yourself this way you can eat it right away, as they do in some families still to this day. It is traditional for the pounding to be done by the grandparents. The grandfather doing the pounding and the grandmother turning the hollowed out log that is used to make the mochi. In most cases, however, you will probably be buying your mochi from the refrigerated section of a health food store.

The sweet brown rice used to make the mochi is high in protein. Mochi is known to be a strengthening food that increases your stamina. It is recommended for people dealing with such health problems such as: blood sugar imbalances, weak intestines, anemia and lactating women. Mochi is great to keep your bowel movements regular and can help with constipation.

The mochi you buy in the store is not made by a grandparent hand pounding it for you. They have to produce large volumes of the food, so they have come up with machinery to imitate the traditional way of making the mochi. But no matter how they make it, it is a delicious food that is one of my favorites. Look for different flavors of mochi such as sesame garlic, cinnamon raisin and chocolate.

 

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