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January - Roasting
vegetables are a simple and easy way to incorporate more vegetables
in your diet. When you roast the vegetables you bring out the natural
sweetness to the vegetables. And when you get a little browning
on the vegetables they are exceptionally delicious! Some tips to
making sure your roasted vegetables are the best they can be: Lay
the vegetables out in a single layer, do not pile them on top of
each other. I prefer to keep the different vegetables separate and
cook them on separate dishes. The reason I do this is because some
vegetables will cook faster then others and you can take them out
of the oven at different times.
You can use a variety
of vegetables when roasting. Cauliflower is one of my favorites. Roast
the cauliflower to the point it is browning and it gets kind of crisp.
And cauliflower is tremendously healthy for you. Being in the cruciferous
family of vegetables, it has anti-cancer properties. High in Vitamin
C, Vitamin K, folate, riboflavin, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and
B Vitamins. Also known as the best brain food, helps improve blood pressure,
and helps boost heart health. The dietary fiber in cauliflower helps
to protect the lining of the stomach preventing bacterial overgrowth.
And it contains anti-inflammatory properties.
February - Sweet
Potato for your Sweetheart
One of the
most loving things you can do for your sweetheart is to make them a special
sweet treat. And if that treat has health benefits you are helping keep
your significant other feeling better. For Valentine's day, you can make
a wonderfully, delicious, sweet treat and still have it be healthy. With
the addition of sweet potato in your treats it adds another layer of sweetness
and rich taste.
South America, the sweet potato is high in fiber, vitamin C, calcium,
manganese, riboflavin, panthothenic acid, and vitamin A. Known for feeding
and nurturing your spleen, pancreas. and stomach, their natural sweet
taste and creamy texture make them anti-stress food. Sweet potatoes are
orange, reddish, or yellow in color. Sometimes confused for a yam, which
is white, ivory, cream, pink, or purple, they are completely different
vegetables. And sweet potatoes are not related to the white potato either.
March - Aquafaba
(Chick Pea Cooking Liquid)
you heard of aquafaba? It is an amazing ingredient that
is all the rave in the vegan community. I have started using it this
summer and created my amazingly light and delicious vegan ice cream
with aquafaba. I am very excited to be able to share this month a new
Blueberry Muffin recipe I just created using aquafaba as an egg replacement.
These muffins are very light and moist from the addition of the aquafaba.
Aquafaba is the
liquid that is left over when you cook beans. The most popular is the
liquid from when you cook chick peas. The chick pea liquid seems to
work best, and has a neutral flavor.I have tried a few different beans
to use their cooking liquid, and I have to agree that the chick pea
liquid seems to work the best. Because of the starches, proteins, other
plant solids that are left in the water after cooking chick peas, the
water whipped up to make firm peaks. It is as if you are using egg whites
and creating a meringue. The first time I tried to whip the aquafaba,
I was so surprised to see how it expanded and looked like meringue.
It is a really cool thing to witness.
You can use the
aquafaba to create meringues, mayonnaise, butter spreads, vegan cheeses,
macaroons, frozen desserts, and as an egg replacement to create light
is part of a healthy whole foods lifestyle. Traditionally made using
wheat flour and water, pasta has a long history of being a part of
our diet. The origins of pasta has been contributed to the Chinese,
the Greeks, the Romans, the Arabs, however it is the Italians that
have been most noted for the origins of pasta as we know it now. Long
standing, traditional pasta is made from soft wheat flour and water.
Italian traditional pasta is made from hard, durum wheat flour and
water. Soft wheat contains less protein, and absorbs less water. Durum
wheat is a large grain with sharp edges, is difficult to break apart
and is yellow, amber color. Which creates different types of pasta
for us all to choose from.
For those looking
for a wheat free or gluten free pasta, there are many options out there
that are delicious and easy to use in any dish you prepare. My favorite
is brown rice pasta, the brand I buy is, 'Tinkyada'. It cooks up very
nicely and does not stick together. Other options are; quinoa, buckwheat,
sprouted grain, and corn.
The best way to
cook pasta is bring a large pot of water to a boil, put pasta in and
keep the temperature on high, and cook pasta in boiling water for 7
to 10 minutes until done. To test to see if it is done, I take a piece
out of the water and taste it to see if it is done. I do not cook my
pasta with oil or salt. There is no need to season pasta while it is
cooking, you season it with the sauce that you add to the pasta.
May - Protein
on a Vegan Diet
do you get your protein? A question I get asked all the time. Here is
my answer, "Everything that comes from Mother Nature in its
whole form, except fruit, has protein".
means everything I eat has protein: whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds,
sea vegetables, tofu, tempeh, and vegetables, Every time I eat I am
getting some protein. Eating the S.A.D (standard American diet) does
not supply as much protein as most vegan and vegetarian diets include.
One great protein
food to start using in your cooking is miso. Made from
fermenting soybeans, miso is a salty condiment and adds a rich taste
to your dishes. Being a fermented food, it is a live food, containing
lactobacillus (same as yogurt). Miso is 13 to 20 % protein, helps alkalize
your body, helps eliminate toxins from your body, helps improve circulation,
and feeds and strengthens the kidneys, pancreas, and colon.
Protein is present
in every cell in our body. Protein is responsible for cell replication
and required for the structure, function, and regulation of the body's
tissues and organs. Protein builds strong muscles and the biggest muscle
in the body is the heart. Keeping our heart healthy by eating whole
foods, protein rich, dishes is an important part of living a healthy
Tempeh and Soy Foods
of my favorite ingredients to cook with are tofu and tempeh. Both made
from the soybean, they are so versatile that the possibilities are endless
for these two wondrous foods. Neither one has that much taste by themselves,
they take on whatever taste you desire in your recipes.
soybean has been cultivated for about 2,500 years and for good reason.
These wonderful beans contain iron, carotene, niacin, vitamins B and
B2. They promote clear vision and vitality, as well as improve circulation
and support detoxification. Along with all these wonderful traits, soybeans
also have isoflavones, which are similar to a natural estrogen that
may help prevent hot flashes.
They also contain
genistein, which helps prevent heart disease and may stop the spread
of some cancers in their early stages. These power packed beans also
contain protease inhibitors that are a universal anti-carcinogen and
may block the action of cancer causing enzymes. And if that is not enough
reason to start enjoying these wondrous beans, they also contain phytic
acids that inhibit the growth of tumors.
You will find the
tofu in firm or soft style. The firm is used when you want the tofu
to keep its shape, such as marinating it. The soft is better used to
create sauces and dressings. Always cook your tofu before eating, cooking
makes it more digestible. Tofu is 8% protein, and high in good quality
unsaturated fat, 4.3%. It contains all your amino acids and is an excellent
source of calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and Vitamins B and E.
The texture of tempeh
is chunky, it gives the illusion of meat in some recipes. It is 19.5%
protein and it is a complete protein. It contains all the essential
amino acids and B12. Tempeh tastes especially good sautéed in
toasted sesame oil with a little tamari to season. It can also be crumbled
and then molded into patties or loafs.
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 6 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 - Turmeric
am in love with fresh turmeric root! The fresh root has a pungent
and slightly spicy, but not hot, incredible pleasing flavor. Grating
it is the best way to utilize fresh turmeric root. I have been using
the fresh grated turmeric in soups, sautes, casseroles, and even specialty
drinks. Native to Southeast Asia, it has been consumed for over 2,500
years. Turmeric is related to ginger, and has many of the same healing
Turmeric is best
known for its strong anti-inflammatory properties and being a natural
pain killer. These strong anti-inflammatory properties makes turmeric
a natural remedy for arthritis. It also has anti-cancer properties,
plus it helps detoxify your liver. Turmeric has natural antiseptic and
anti-bacterial agents. Recently, there have been studies showing that
it helps with removing amylod plaque build-up in the brain, therefore,
it may help with Alzheimer's disease. It can also be used to soothe
an upset stomach.
The fresh root is
bright yellow-orange in color. When using it, remember it will stain
whatever it touches. I grate the root on a piece of tin foil that I
can throw away when I am done. Peeling it before grating is a good idea
because the skin is fibrous, and when eaten tastes like you are eating
a piece of paper. When using the fresh turmeric root, you will want
to use a larger amount than the dried. The dried turmeric is boiled
for about 30-45 minutes and then dried in ovens. This drying process
concentrates the flavor.
September - Heart
Healthy Peach Blueberry Pie
keep our heart healthy there are many different foods that we can
start incorporating in to our diets right now. Foods that are high
in fiber is a great place to start. And foods that have a natural
bitter taste help support the heart also. Some signature heart healthy
foods are: Corn, quinoa, amaranth, dandelion greens, kale, cucumbers,
beets, yellow summer squash, kidney beans, pinto beans, lentils, garlic,
turmeric, peaches, and blueberries.
In Oriental medicine
they teach that if a particular food looks like a part of the body,
it feeds and nurtures that part of the body. When looking at a peach,
it looks like the shape of the heart. Peaches are very high in potassium,
which helps maintain normal blood pressure, and helps promote proper
pumping of the heart. Peaches are high in insoluble fiber, which does
not get dissolved in water, and helps the body eliminate toxins. Originated
in China where they considered the peach tree to be the tree of life,
peaches are also high in Vitamin C and contain calcium.
my favorite fruit. They are native to Michigan, where I live, and are
packed full of juicy sweetness that make your taste buds explode with
joy. High in antioxidants, potassium, Vitamin C and K, manganese, blueberries
are great for your heart also. They contain significant amounts of anthocyananins,
which is an antioxidant compound that gives fruits and vegetable their
blue, purple color. And blueberries contain high levels of a compound
that helps to widen arteries which helps blood flow smoothly.
- Foods to Help Combat Cancer
agree that most cancers have a 10 to 20 year interval between their
carcinogenic stimulus and the appearance of a developing tumor. Food
you eat and lifestyle habits are likely to influence the state of your
health a decade or two from now. A diet of refined foods laden with
chemicals and deficient in many nutrients is currently thought to be
the greatest contributor to cancer development. According to the world
cancer research fund, you can reduce your risk of developing cancer
by 40% just by lowering fat, and consuming a higher percentage of whole
foods and vegetable. Photo-chemicals or phytonutrient compounds in food
that provide significant protection against cancer are not present in
processed foods. Cancer fighting substances that number in the thousands
are found in whole grains, beans, vegetables and fruit.
In the early 1900's,
two thirds of the carbohydrates in the U.S. diet came from complex sources,
such as whole grains, grain products, and vegetables. Today, half of
all carbohydrates consumed come from refined and concentrated simple
sugars. Sugar consumption has risen more then 1500% in the last 200
years! In only two generations ten million new chemicals have been invented
and randomly released into our environment, many are known carcinogens.
It is no wonder our health is suffering. Five of the most common cancers,
lung, breast, stomach, colorectal, and prostate, were practically unheard
of before the early 20th century, The escalation of cancer parallels
the industrialization and chemicaliztion of our world. The more developed
the country, the higher the cancer rates.
A cancer cell is
an out of control invader, setting its own course of gradual multiplication
in any organ, gland, or body system. It continues to divide until as
a mass, it breaks apart to invade other parts of the body (metastasis).
Cancer devastates the most important part of the cell, the DNA, which
controls the cell's function.
Foods that help
fight and prevent cancer are foods that are eaten in their whole form,
right from the Earth with no chemicals spread on them. Some of the best
being: brown rice, all whole grains, sea vegetables, miso, soybeans,
kale, collards, cabbage, broccoli, dandelion tea, bok choy, root vegetables,
aduki beans, and all beans.
November - Cooking
For The Holidays
is upon us again and, for some people, it can be challenging to remain
true to your healthy lifestyle during this decedent, rich, culinary time
of year. I have spent the last 20 years creating and perfecting standard
holiday dishes that I now cook with a healthy flare.
Some rules of thumb
to remember when you are first starting out on your healthy holiday
menu is keep it simple. You do not want to over whelm yourself at first,
so stick to what you know. If you have a recipe that you make on a regular
basis do not discount it just because you think it is not special enough
for the holidays. You can spruce up the recipe to make it more rich
for the holiday dinner table, such as adding a little more fat. Good
quality fats, such as olive oil or tahini, can be added to most recipes
to create a richer taste.
Adding a little
extra spices to your dishes can also make them special for the holidays.
Sage is the signature spice for stuffing and can be added to any brown
rice or millet dish you are creating for the holidays. Thyme and rosemary
are also great spices to add to your dishes, and all three taste very
good together. Also adding nuts, such as walnuts or pecans, imparts
wonderful flavor and texture to dishes making them richer and extra
special for the holidays.
for the Holidays
asked what is my favorite sweetener to use, I always answer brown
rice syrup. Unfortunately most people have not heard of it, which
makes it the best kept health food secret. I make all kinds of desserts
with brown rice syrup, from cookies, cakes, and pies, to candies,
fudge, jams, and so much more. As the name implies, it is made from
brown rice, which is a whole grain complex carbohydrate, a staple
in all of our ancestor's diet.The brown rice syrup is produced when
naturally occurring enzymes convert the starch in the grain to sugar.
The process retains the vitamin and mineral content of the brown rice.
And being made from a complex carbohydrate, the sugar that is produced
Maltose is the least
reactive sugar there is, it releases slowly into your blood stream. Unlike
white sugar or sucrose, which releases very quickly into the blood stream
and reeks havoc with all the organs in your body. Brown rice syrup
and the maltose in the syrup will not spike your blood sugar.
For that reason it is considered the healthiest sweetener.
It has a mild sweet
taste that is satisfying. However, if you have been using sweeteners that
are very sweet, it may not be sweet enough for you at first. If you stick
with the brown rice syrup, it will taste sweet after you give up all those
intensely sweet foods that are not good for you. You will find it in a
jar at you local health food store, or even some main stream grocery stores
now carry it. It is thick and sticky like honey.
When measuring it,
coat your measuring cup and spatula with a little oil and the syrup will
slid right off instead of sticking.