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January 2014 - Whole
Food of the Month is a group of essential food called whole
grains. There has been a lot of commercialization of whole grains.
It has caused confusion about exactly what is and is not an actual whole
are food that has been eaten for tens of thousands of years. No matter
where you are from, it is what all our ancient ancestors ate as a main
source of food. They are the seeds of plants in which the main source
of nutrition comes from the outer shell of the grain, called the bran
and germ. These whole grains are what gives the body energy.
When eaten, they release glucose very slowly into the body. This gives
you long, sustainable energy to last all day long. Very high in fiber,
also high in B vitamins, whole grains have also been studied for their
anti cancer properties.
body is designed to eat and assimilate whole grains. In your mouth you
have 32 teeth; 4 canine, 8 incisors and 20 molars. These molars are
the majority of the teeth. Designed to grind whole grains, this indicates
the majority of your food should consist of them.
three main sources of nutrition for the human body; carbohydrates, protein
and fats. Only two of these gives you energy, carbohydrates and fat.
The carbs need to be in their whole form or whole grains. Take the bran
and germ away, which is all the nutritional value, and what you have
left is simple carbohydrates. These simple carbs is what the majority
of people are eating in our modern culture. This confusion as to what
an actual whole grain is has become a dangerous trend of cutting out
carbs from our diet. We can not cut out the complex carbs. To have a
balanced diet and live a pain free, disease free life you have to eat
all three important nutrients; carbs, protein, and fat.
Whole grains are not an ingredient in a box cereal, crackers, or a loaf
of bread. They come in the bulk section of health food stores. They
look like little seeds. To consume them in their whole form you will
have to pot boil them. Flour made from whole grains can be a healthy
part of your diet, but are not whole grains. Once you grind the grains
they react differently in your digestive system. Here is a list of whole
grains: brown rice, quinoa, millet, amaranth, kasha or buckwheat,
whole wheat, spelt, oats, faro, corn, barley, and rye.
the month we celebrate love through Valentine's Day. Because of their
bright red color and sweet, juicy nature, cherries are the perfect 'Love'
food. I do prefer the dark sweet cherries over the sour ones, only because
you have to add an abundance of sweetener to overcome the strong sour
flavor. Cherries are a seasonal fruit, so you will not find fresh ones
in the store at this time. Look for frozen, organic cherries, they have
the best flavor. If your cherries are not organic the pesticides not
only can harm you, they can alter the taste of your pie. Pesticides
have a bitter taste. That bitter taste can come through when creating
desserts and not using organic fruit.
are an excellent source of iron, contain vitamin A, calcium, phosphorus,
and potassium. They can increase your vital energy and are considered
a warming food. Therapeutic for gout and numbness in the extremities because
they remove excess body acids and blood stagnation. Cherries are related
to the plum, which has been eaten since prehistoric times.
a pie it usually is the crust that is the most challenging. This crust
is a pressed crust, which means you do not have to roll it out
with a rolling pin. Pressed crusts are much easier to make and work
with and just as delicious. I use ground pecans in the crust to give
it more moisture through the natural oils found in the nuts. Oat bran
and oat flour are both gluten free, high in iron and can help reduce
cholesterol. In the filling I have included 2 tsp. of dark miso.
I have found when creating a pie with fruit, the miso has a way of bringing
out the natural flavors of the fruit. If you do not have the dark miso
you can substitute 1/4 tsp. sea salt. It is very important to always
include a little salt in your desserts, it balances the sweetness and
makes the dessert more flavorful.
March - Arame
or sea weeds, are the most nutrient dense food on the planet and arame
is one that is tasty and easy to prepare. These plants that actually
grow in the ocean have been eaten for hundred of thousands of years.
There were ancient people preserved in a bog that were tens of thousands
of years old and guess what they had in their carrying pouches? Yes,
it was sea weed. Our ancient ancestors knew that once dried, sea vegetables
are non perishable and can last forever. So they made excellent travel
food. And their nutritional profile makes them an important part of
vegetables are very high in iron and calcium. And the calcium in arame
is readily available to be absorbed by your body, unlike the calcium
from dairy. Also high in minerals and trace minerals, arame can help
alleviate high blood pressure, build bones, and treat female disorders.
Sea vegetables have the ability to help dissolve fat deposits that have
accumulated in the body from high fat foods. Used frequently in Oriental
medicine to successfully dissolve tumors. Sea vegetables also have natural
iodine, which helps the thyroid function properly.
with sea vegetables, you have to know they expand when you cook them
to about twice the size they are when dry. So remember to start with
a small amount. Also all sea vegetables are bitter to the taste. When
creating a dish with them, you have to pair them with naturally sweet
vegetables such as; carrots, cooked onions, sweet potatos, parsnips,
winter squash, and rutabaga. Arame does not need to be soaked, but you
need to rinse it before cooking.
April - White Beans & Kombu for a Healthy Spring
a vegetarian or vegan get their protein? From delicious and wonderful
beans. Ranging from 17 to 25% in protein, beans can also help reduce
cholesterol and are very high in fiber. They also contain many anti
- cancer properties. Isoflavones help prevent heart disease and cancer.
The phytochemical diosgenin, appears to inhibit caner cells from multiplying.
Known for strengthening the kidneys and adrenal glands, beans promote
the full health benefits of beans, you should always cook your beans
with the sea vegetable kombu. Sea vegetables are the most nutrient dense
food on the planet. Very high in minerals and trace minerals, several
B vitamins, iron, calcium, iodine, and protein. But what makes kombu
the special sea vegetables to cook with beans is its ability to help
you digest the beans by strengthening your intestinal tract. This helps
to eliminate gas when eating beans,
When cooking for
spring remember to make your dish colorful. Spring is when we see many
beautiful colors emerging in nature. And we eat first with out eyes.
This soup has many colorful vegetables and the white beans.
May 2014 - Asparagus & Mochi
is the season of asparagus. Their strong, green stalks are one
of the first foods to start growing after our long cold winter. Asparagus,
like many spring time foods has the natural ability to cleanse the body.
Containing the amino acid, asparagine, asparagus acts as a diuretic
and helps remove fluids and excess salts from the body. This is very
good for people who suffer from edema, high blood pressure, and other
heart related diseases. This delicate, slightly sweet vegetable is also
high in fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E, and K. Used in this soup recipe
the asparagus imparts tremendous flavor. When shopping for asparagus,
look for crisp stalks that are not wilted and the tips are not mushy.
Most of the time the bottom inch has to be cut off and discarded because
it is too fibrous.
my favorite foods, that most people have never heard of is mochi.
It is a traditional food from the Orient. Made from sweet brown rice,
it is sold in most health food stores. It comes in a square, wrapped
in plastic. It is made when you pound the brown rice to get a sticky
consistency. Then formed into the square cakes. My favorite way to use
mochi is to grate it. I always keep grated mochi in my freezer so I
always have it ready to use. It works great thickening a soup, like
this recipe. Once the grated mochi is cooked it becomes sticky. It will
thicken soups, make casseroles creamy, and when melted you can make
a (mock) cheese sauce.
June 2014 - Onion
are Mother Nature's flavor enhancer. Most people take these bulb vegetables
for granted, not realizing how much they can impact the flavor of a
dish. When added to a salad in raw form, they have a delightful pungent
flavor. And when cooked they become deliciously sweet. To make them
the sweetest they can be, you sauté them till they are soft and
brown, as in this recipe.
only can they make any dish more flavorful, but they have many medicinal
properties. They can help lower cholesterol, improve kidney function,
and even help remove heavy metals and parasites from your body. Having
a 90% water content, they have diuretic properties. Also containing high
anti-inflammatory properties, onions help break down high fat foods to
make them more digestible. Plus onions contain Vitamins A, B complex,
and C.In the summer, grilling the onions is a great way to enjoy them.
Also, stuffing them and then cooking them over an open fire will give
you a wonderful dish.
July 2014 - Peanuts
my favorite month of the year. Not only do I get to celebrate my birthday,
I also love summer and the hot temperatures, enjoying the outdoors and
making frozen desserts. So to celebrate in the month of July, I am sharing
one of my favorite desserts. My favorite dessert combo is chocolate
and peanut butter. There is just something about the bitter, sweetness
of chocolate, combined with rich, creamy peanut butter that makes the
Peanuts have been
eaten for over 7,600 years. They originated in Peru and spread throughout
the world by Spanish explorers. Peanuts are actually a legume, which
means they are high in protein. They are an excellent source of resveratrol,
an antioxidant that has shown to help protect against cancers, heart
disease, degenerative nerve disease, Alzheimer's disease, viral and
fungal infections, and reduces stroke risk. If that is not enough, these
little power packed legumes also are high in pantothenic acid, B vitamins,
iron, manganese, and Vitamin E.
There is a known
natural remedy for weakened kidneys, boiled peanuts. If you have ever
been down in the southern states you know they eat boiled peanuts in
abundance. They have stands on the side of the road selling them. They
have big cast iron pots with a fire underneath boiling the peanuts.
Seasoned with salt, they taste very good.
Peanut butter is
probably the most widely used form of peanuts in our diets. When buying
peanut butter it is always best to find organic. But natural peanut
butter is a good choice also. Most commercial peanut butter have added
sugar and hydrogenated oils. The natural peanut butter will separate
in the jar, so you will have to stir it once you get it home.
August 2014 - Amaranth
is one of the signature whole grains of the summer. It is very small
and that makes it challenging to cook. I have found it is most flavorful
if you cook it with other grains. It also has a tendency to be thick
and gewey when cooked. This makes it ideal to add to oatmeal and make
a breakfast porridge.
Amaranth was the
sacred food of the Aztecs. Wherever this whole grain is consumed there
is little or no mal-nutrition. One plant will yield 50 thousand seeds.
It is related to quinoa, the other signature grain of summer. But unlike
quinoa that falls apart after it is cooked, which makes it great for
salads, amaranth remains thick and creamy making it good for other things,
such as porridges.
Amaranth is in a
group of plants known as photosynthetic superformers. This makes it
above normal in efficiently converting soil, sunlight, and water into
plant tissue. Making it have extradornary nutritional value. High in
Vit. A, B6, K, C, Folate and riboflavin. Rich in minerals, iron, calcium,
potassium, and manganese. Amaranth is very high in protein, fiber and
Remember if you
want to try amaranth to cook it with other grains. I have found quinoa
and millet work best with a quarter ratio, one quarter as much amaranth
as the other grain. It can also be added to soups to thicken them. My
favorite way to eat amaranth is in this porridge. I use amazake to sweeten
the porridge. It is a whole grain sweetener made form brown rice and
will not spike your blood sugar levels. You can find it in the freezer
section of a local health food store.
September 2014 - Marvelous Millet
So many people ask
me about millet. They want to start eating it , but are unfamiliar with
how to cook and use this nutritional, whole grain. I want to share with
you one of my favorite ways to cook and prepare millet to take the mystery
out of this creamy and slightly sweet food.
Older then any other
grain, millet has been eaten since at least 10,000 years ago. It is
the main food source of the Hunza people, known for their longevity,
and living in Asia. You have probably seen millet most often in bird
seed. It is a small, round, yellow whole grain. Very high in fiber,
making it a heart healthy food and can help lower cholesterol. Also
has a good amount of iron, calcium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, manganese,
and magnesium. Interesting to note, millet has the highest protein content
of the whole grains, 15%. Energetically, millet feeds and nurtures your
spleen, pancreas and stomach. The main organs that help you deal with
stress, so millet is your anti- stress grain.
The best way to
cook millet is to pot boil it. Put 1 cup millet plus 2 cups water in
a pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce to lowest possible temperature and simmer
for 20 minutes. Water should have been absorbed at end of cooking time.
It should be creamy and sweet, not crunchy. Once it is cooked, my favorite
way to prepare it is to form it in to cubes. While still hot, season
with a little sea salt and press in to a casserole dish. Press it hard
so it will be firm later. Put in refrigerator until cold. Cut in to
cubes and you can eat it just like that as a snack or add more ingredients
and make a salad with the cubes, such as my recipe here. Try millet
next time you are looking for a new food to try, I think you will really
enjoy the taste and texture.
October 2014 - Root Vegetables
sweet potato, daikon, turnips. Do you know what all these vegetables
have in common? They are all root vegetables. Just like the name
implies, it is the root of the plant. This is the strong, constrictive,
downward moving energy of the plant, what we refer to as yang.
These root vegetables have the strong grounding energy that many of
us are missing.
Most people who
consume the average American diet are consuming many overly sweet foods,
desserts, sodas, smoothies, and tropical fruits. All of these foods
are considered yin. And most people only consume vegetables
that grow on top of the ground; lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli,
and kale. And where these foods from Mother Earth are nutritious for
you, we need to consider the energy of all the foods we are consuming.
We need a balance between both the yin and yang energy foods. Unfortunately
many people are not familiar with the more grounding, yang energy root
are mildly sweet and creamy when cooked. They are high in silicon, fiber,
calcium, potassium, Vitamins A and C. Carrots have a wonderful
sweet taste and are high in calcium, phosphorus, Vitamin A, and B vitamins.
Daikon is in the radish family. When eaten raw it is pungent,
but when cooked it becomes slightly sweet. It is great for digestion,
and contains a substance that inhibits the formation of carcinogens
in the body. Turnips are in the cabbage family and have high
anticarcinogenic properties. Sweet potatoes are rich and creamy,
and the sweetest of the bunch. They are high in vitamins A and C, and
All these naturally
sweet, root vegetables also feed and nurture the spleen, pancreas, and
stomach. Here is a simple stew that highlights
the individual flavors of these root vegetables.
November 2014 -Amazake
The holidays can
be a challenging time for some people who deal with healthy issues such
as blood sugar imbalances. Trying to find delicious desserts that will
not spike your blood sugar and are not filled with chemical sweeteners
can be frustrating. Twenty years ago when I changed my eating habits
and decided to love myself enough to stop putting refined sugar in my
body, I thought I would never be able to have desserts again. Then I
discovered whole grain sweeteners. Brown rice syrup,
which is now my favorite, I thought was a gift from Heaven. And Amazake,
which is also made with brown rice, is the rays of sunshine that shines
down from Heaven. Both are featured in my holiday recipe, Walnut Pie.
invented by monks who wanted a sweet drink before going to bed, that
would not keep them up all night from a sugar high. Amazake literally
means Sweet Sake. It is made from brown rice that is fermented
with koji. It is what is produced in the first fermentation process
of making Sake. It has a thick, creamy consistency. It is nutrient dense,
with vitamins and minerals. The sugar that is in Amazake and brown rice
syrup, is maltose. Maltose is the least re-active sugar there
is in the food chain. White sugar is sucrose, it will spike your
blood sugar levels. And fruit and fruit juices is fructose, and
it will spike your blood sugar as well. Only maltose will not spike
your blood sugar levels.
You can find Amazake in health food stores in the freezer. It comes
in different flavors. The original one is the most versatile to use
in recipes. The almond one is the most commonly found and works good
in pie recipes.
December 2014 -Tempeh
Protein food, it
is all the buzz in the food industry. Protein is one part of a healthy
diet. There are three essential nutrients that the human body needs
to maintain health and longevity. Protein is one of them, as is carbohydrates
and fats. We as humans need all three, in a balance way, in our diets
or we will deal with the consequences later. We should have carbohydrates
in their complex form, or what is, whole grains. Fats in healthy, unsaturated
fats. And protein in good quality, complete protein.
Protein is what
builds our tissues and is the building block of our muscles, cartilage,
skin and blood. Protein is the food that feeds and nurtures the largest
muscle in your body, your heart. But protein will never give you energy.
You get energy from your food in the complex carbohydrates and fats.
Being a vegetarian or vegan, one excellent protein food choice for you
is tempeh. Tempeh is a complete protein. It contains all the amino acids
gained from eating meat. It is 19.5% protein.
Tempeh is made from
soybeans. The soybeans are covered with boiling water and soaked over
night. Then hulled and partially cooked. Next they are cooled to room
temperature. A started culture grown on hibiscus leaves is then added
to start the fermentation process. It is left in a humid environment
until it becomes tightly bond by firm, white mold that holds the tempeh
together. Being that tempeh is fermented, it is very easy to digest.