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January - Three
Easy Steps to Take to Eat Healthy in 2018
are many things that you can do to create a healthy lifestyle. To
make it more simple I will suggest three easy starting steps for
you to implement. When you decide to change your life by eating
a whole foods diet, you will experience many positive things,such
as; more energy, weight loss, a reduction or elimination of pain,
high cholesterol going down, high blood pressure going down, blood
sugar levels stabilizing, clearer mental thoughts, relief from depression,
overcoming diseases, and that is just some. Everyone is different,
and there are no guarantees, however, you will experience many positive
effects such as listed. Here are the first three things I suggest
everyone implements in their life to start on their journey.
1. Eat WHOLE
GRAINS! Three times a day. Seven days a week. Brown rice is the
easiest and best one to start to eat every day. Whole grains are full
of vitamins, mineral, and phytochemicals that are essential for the
human body. All of our ancestors, no matter where you came from, had
a diet based around whole grains. It is what is missing in the average
American diet. Start eating whole grains every day and you will see
a huge difference in the way you feel.
2. Eat BEANS!
Beans, the protein food your body is craving! Full of vitamins,
especially B vitamins, phytonutrients that help fight off diseases.
Beans are very high in fiber, that cleans out your intestinal tract
and your whole body, to help you detox the toxins in your body.
3. Replace white
sugar with BROWN RICE SYRUP! White sugar should be eliminated in
our diets. It is very disruptive to the whole human body. (I will not
even call it food, because it is not.) White sugar feeds inflammation,
which is why most people have pain. It also; wreaks havoc with our blood
sugar, suppresses our immune system, raises our cholesterol, and is
addictive. One of the worse things it does is ruins our taste. When
you consume very sweet foods, (sugar), you dull your taste buds and
can not really taste your food. Just replace BROWN RICE SYRUP for white
sugar in everything you eat. Not just desserts, but for sauces, dressings,
flavorings, breakfast, what you put in your coffee or tea. It is very
easy to do, and you will see dramatic results.
February - Heart
Valentine's Day in February and celebrate our loved ones, who are symbolized
by the heart. To help keep your heart healthy and working the best it
can, we can eat a variety of wonderfully delicious foods.
and Corn are the signature whole grains that help support the heart.
All these whole grains are small and quick cooking, they impart stamina
and an abundance of energy to your body. Foods that have a bitter taste
are known to feed and nurture the heart. Such as; kale, collards, parsley,
dandelion greens, walnuts, sprouts, and beets. High fiber fruits can
be beneficial to the heart also, peaches, blueberries and strawberries.
Protein foods are
known to build and strengthen your muscles. And the heart is the biggest
muscle in your body. Beans are excellent protein foods containing potassium,
calcium, and B vitamins. Also beans are very high in fiber, all very
beneficial for the heart. Tempeh is made with fermented soy beans and
one very tasty addition to any snack or main course dish.
Sweet potatoes with
their signature dark reddish color can make very colorful dishes to
celebrate Valentine.s day. And sweet potatoes have many health benefits
for the heart also. High in fiber, potassium, pantothonic acid, manganese,
iron, vitamin C, A and B2.
while teaching a cooking class I get asked if soy food is good for you?
I believe there is a lot of misleading information that causes many
people to become confused. When considering what foods are good for
us and what may not be, I look to history. If a food has been eaten
for a long time, and with no problems, we can know it is safe for us
to eat. Such is the case with soy. Five thousand year old texts describe
soybeans as being one of the most important crops grown. Miso, fermented
soybeans, has been eaten since 2,500 years ago in China. And tempeh
has been eaten for centuries in Indonesia. If there was something wrong
with this food, it would have been discovered a long time ago.
have many anticancer properties:
may stop the spread of some forms of cancer at an early stage
Inhibitors, universal anti-carcinogen and may block the action of
acids, inhibit growth of tumors
have easily absorbable iron, many B vitamins, carotin, support
detoxification, promote vitality and feed and nurture the lungs and
large intestines. Soybeans made into tofu are high in calcium. When
made into tempeh it is 19.5% protein. Containing all eight essential
amino acids, it is a complete protein. When made into miso it has 11
g. of complete protein in 1 T. And by fermenting it to make the miso,
the healing properties are enhanced. Miso is a living food containing
lactobacillus, a healthful micro organism that aids in digestion. There
are so many wonderful health benefits from soy foods, I can see why
we have been eating it for thousands of years.
there is a lot of confusion about the plant based phyto-estrogen, isoflavones
in soybeans. This part of the bean does not disrupt your estrogen levels,
it balances them. If you are too low, it raises them, it you are too
high it lowers them. These isoflavones also have been credited with
slowing the effects of osteoporosis, relieving some side effects of
menopause, and alleviating some side effects of cancer. Not to mention
it has been shown to dramatically lower the undesirable L.D.L. cholesterol.
It is interesting that in China, where they eat soybean products such
as tofu, tempeh, and miso everyday, that until recently they did not
have a word in their language for hot flashes. Of course now, because
they have introduced our highly refined and processed way of eating
into their culture, that is changing. Also many times a women is told
by her doctor to take photo-estrogen pills, for whatever reason. Why
not get it from your food instead of a pill?
do want to say that when buying soybean foods, you must buy organic.
It is, right now, our only way to have some kind of insurance that the
soybeans have not been genetically altered. And eat the soy foods that
have stood the test of time: tofu, tempeh, miso, tamari, and shoyu.
Just like any other food, if it has been refined or processed some of
the nutritional quality will suffer.
there are articles and books out there that give soybeans a bad rep.
They quote studies that say it is harmful. And I have come to the conclusion
these studies are not reliable. Soybeans have been studied probably
more then any other health food. So it is easy to pick only a handful
of negative studies, if that is what will profit you, and ignore the
majority of favorable studies. And most of these studies are done on
animals, usually mice or rats. These animals are feed high amounts of
the isoflavones isolated, not the whole soybean. Also they are feed
a large amount that is much more then a human would eat. And human bodies
assimilate differently then mice, so the reaction can not be compared.
Every one of these that I have seen, excludes the foods I mention above
and have been eaten for thousands of years. Our epidemic of sickness
does not come from food that has been eaten for thousands of years.
It is from our culture of fast foods, processed foods, microwaved foods,
refined foods and the huge amount of stress we live with everyday. Also
from the absurd notion, more is better. For instance, if you drink three
quarts of soy milk a day, you are going to have some reaction. (This
was actually one study that came to the conclusion soy is bad.) That
is way too much of any one food to be consuming. I do not care if it
is cows milk, goats milk, almond milk, rice milk, or soy
research and decide for yourself. But I would not pay any attention
to studies done on animals and studies done with huge amount of soy
consumed. Up until recently, China had one of the lowest rates of cancer.
One of their main food sources is soy and has been for thousands of
years. If there was any link with eating soy and getting cancer, dont
you think the Chinese would have been dying form cancer long before
this. (Common sense!) And lastly I would like to point out there are
huge multi billion dollar
industries that would not want to lose there business to a wonderful,
high protein plant based food source. Maybe some of these multi billion
dollar industry sponsored the research?
April - Cooking For Spring
to the Five Transformation of Energy, which is the ancient
study of the energy of food, how it relates to the seasons, and how
it feeds and nurtures our bodies, emphasizes the foods available at
that particular time of year. These are the ideal foods that our ancestors
had available to them. When we lived close to nature we knew how to
nurture our bodies with the local available foods. The Spring Time,
when everything is growing and coming to life again, is known as the
Tree Energy phase. Spring is when we feed and nurture
our liver, gallbladder, and nervous system. The main job of these
organs is to purify the blood. The liver, in particular, is the main
detoxification organ of the body. In spring time your body goes through
a natural cleansing process.
We go from
eating denser, fatty foods in the winter time to keep us warmer, to
eating much lighter foods for spring and summer. It is a good time for
the body to naturally detoxify itself. By eating foods available and
associated with the spring time, we assist our body as it does this
process of detoxification. The signature taste for spring is sour.
The sour flavor animates the liver, gallbladder, and nervous system.
When we eat naturally sour foods we are feeding and nurturing these
organs. Naturally sour foods consist of foods that make your mouth pucker.
Such as: lemons, limes, plums, pomegranates, sauerkraut, and naturally
fermented pickles. The signature whole grains for spring are: barley,
oats, rye and wheat. These grains are some of the oldest known grains
eaten by humans. They have a strong cleansing properties to them, assisting
your body to do it naturally. Just like the plants that are opening
this time of year, these whole grains have the energy of opening and
dispersing, moving energy thorough our bodies. These whole grains help
the energy flowing through your body, so we do not become stagnant and
Here are some more
Tree Energy foods associated with the Spring time: black eyed peas,
lentils, split peas, green beans, asparagus, lettuce, peas, endive,
parsley and olives.
The emotions associated
with the Tree Energy phase are: optimism, patience, and being carefree.
If you find that you have a general optimistic outlook on life, are
fairly patient, and can live life in a care-free way, you are balanced
in this energy phase. If, however, you are having some issues these
emotions, you may want to start incorporating more of these Spring foods
in your diet.
(pronounced 'keen-wa') was the mother grain of the Incas. They considered
it sacred and held ceremonies honoring quinoa. In South America, in
the high altitudes of the Andes mountains, quinoa has been grown harvested
and eaten since at least 3,000 B.C. Because of its hardiness, being
able to survive at such high altitudes, quinoa is considered a strengthening
botanically quinoa is a fruit, we classify it as a whole grain. In fact,
quinoa is the signature whole grain for summer time. As one of the easiest
whole grains to digest, it gives us a tremendous amount of energy to
be able to be very active in the summertime. Quinoa is high in calcium,
phosphorus, iron, vitamin E, magnesium, and manganese and is a complete
protein. Quinoa is high in quercetin and kaempferol, two flavonoids
that have anti-inflammatory, anti- viral, anti-cancer and anti-depressant
Quinoa cooks up quickly and has a nutty flavor, making it ideal for
creating cold salads, perfect for a summer meal.
is a herb that is a member of the tropical genus, Ocimum, which
originated in Africa and was domesticated in India. Mostly thought of
as an Italian or Mediterranean herb, basil first came to those places
through ancient spice routes from India. Basil is frequently referred
to as the King of herbs.
full of health benefits. Basil contains Vitamin K, which is essential
for blood clotting. Basil is high in antioxidants, and contains anti
inflammatory, anti bacterial, and anti microbial properties that can
help fight viruses and infections. Basil can help promote cardiovascular
health, help fight depression, and can help combat stress because it
acts like an adoptogen.
a wonderful aroma and a mellow, pungent, bitter taste that can lend
tremendous flavor to any dish. Basil has the unique property of being
a natural mosquito repellent. If you don't want to be bothered by mosquitos,
eat plenty of basil and they will stay away.
2016 and 2017 I taught cooking classes for the after school program Bright
Futures, for the Wayne-Westland School district in Michigan. The recipes
in this cookbook were all the recipes I taught the kids. I taught third
grade through high school students. The recipes are intended to be used
with some adult supervision, age appropriate to how much assistance they
will need. My intention for this cookbook is to get kids excited about
learning how to cook healthy dishes.
thing I did while teaching the kids is ask what they would like to learn
how to cook. I was surprised they suggested recipes such as Sushi and
Pasta Primavera. I was not surprised by the suggestions of Pizza and
Tacos. I was forthright while educating the kids, that all the recipes
are vegan. The younger kids had so many questions about what is and
what is not vegan. And when I taught the older kids there were some
that were vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free. Another surprise I had
was the kid's taste for spicy food. I prefer mild spice, however, the
majority of the kids would have liked the food to be spicier.
The best thing
about teaching the kids was the pure joy and excitement they have for
working with the food, even the foods that were unfamiliar. Adults can
learn from the kids. The kids were so open and willing to try anything.
Some adults I have taught are actually afraid to taste unfamiliar foods.
The kids loved Nori, Sushi Pickles, Tofu Fries, the Vegan Meat Substitutes
in the Pizza and Tacos, and the Vegan Ice Cream in the Smoothies.
August - Fruit!
is cooling to the body, and can help keep your body temperature cool
during the hot summer days. The high water content of fruit keeps
you hydrated and cool. Nature has a way of working perfectly, such
as supplying us with the food that is ideal for you at different seasons.
Fruit is available fresh right now, so we should be eating it right
now. As opposed to the winter, when fresh fruit is not available from
nature. (I am not referring to what is sold in grocery stores, I am
referring to what nature provides for us during a particular season.)
has an abundance of berries that grow wild. If you can find wild berries
make sure to try some, you will not be disappointed. Wild grown fruit
is not sprayed. Organic fruit is not sprayed. If it says 'local' fruit
it may be sprayed. Local just refers to the fact that it is grown local.
You would have to ask the farmer who grew it if it was sprayed.
Cherries 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.
abundant in vitamin C, a natural anti-oxidant. Containing manganese
and vitamin A, they are medicinal for the blood and liver. They contain
bacteria fighting capabilities, useful in countering urinary-tract infections.
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
September - Zucchini
who has a garden knows that zucchini is one of the easiest vegetables
to grow. However then when the are ripe, you are usually overwhelmed
with the abundance you receive from the plant. Which leaves you wondering
how can I use all these zucchini in my cooking? Zucchini is very versatile
and can be used in everything from salads, soups, grilled outdoors,
grated in desserts, and sliced thin to imitate pasta. Sauteing the
zucchini can be a great option because it brings out the naturally
sweet flavor of the vegetable.
Zucchini is in the
gourd family along with cucumbers and squash. All zucchini are squashes,
but not all squashes are zucchini. The word zucchini come from Italian
word zucchino, which means small squash. The variety of zucchini
that is most common and best known today is from a summer squash developed
in the 2nd half of the 19th century, from Italy.
the zucchini is high in fiber, Vitamin B6, C, K, A, niacin, potassium,
magnesium, folate, and phosphorus. Zucchini has anti inflammatory properties
and contains antioxidants. Because of zucchini's high potassium levels
it is great for your heart, and helps regulate healthy blood pressure
and combats the effects of too much sodium in the diet.
is fermented soy bean paste. It has a salty taste and is used to season
dishes such as soups, sauces, and stews. It is a living food, containing
lactobacillus, which is a healthful micor-organisms to help aid in digestion.
Miso contains many minerals and vitamins including B12. There are 11 g.
of protein in 1 tablespoon of dark miso and it is a compete protein containing
all eight essential amino acids.
The 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 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.
November - Holiday
cooking 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 21 years creating and perfecting standard
holiday dishes that I now cook with a healthy flare.
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.
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.