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Foods of the Month 2019

January - Tempeh   February - Kasha/ Buckwheat
March - Miso   April - Organic Canola Oil    May - Vegan Sauces

January - Tempeh

Tempeh is fermented soybeans. The soybeans are boiled then mixed with a starter culture to start the fermentation process. 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.

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 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.

February - Kasha/ Buckwheat

Although it has two names, it is essentially the same. In the stores, usually kasha is the grain in its whole form, while buckwheat is in a flour form. Although not a true cereal grain, it is used like a grain and has similar properties of grains. And even though it is in the name, it is not a wheat at all, in fact it is gluten free. Many people with food allergies get confused and stay away from buckwheat, however they will find it is an excellent grain to start including in their diets.

Because it is a good blood building food, it can neutralize toxic acidic wastes. In Chinese Medicine it is known for feeding and nurturing the kidneys and reproductive organs. Also known as the signature grain of the winter time, it is medicinal to capillaries and blood vessels and can increase circulation to the hands and feet. Buckwheat has the longest transit time in the gut which makes it excellent to stabilize blood sugar levels. Also rich in vitamin E, very high in vitamin C, and contains almost the whole range of B-complex vitamins.

When cooking kasha, it is best to pot boil it using a two to one ratio (one part grain, two parts water). Some people like to pan roast it before pot boiling it. You do this by simply putting the grain in a skillet and cooking it until in starts to brown. Then pot boil it for about 25 minutes or until the water has all been absorbed. I hope you try this wonderful grain and here is a recipe for you to make.

March - Miso

Miso 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.

April - Organic Canola Oil

Organic Canola oil is not genetically modified. It is made from canola seeds (rapeseed) which were produced using traditional breeding methods before canola was ever genetically modified. The traditional method of breeding can consist of cross breeding, pollination, and hybridzation (breeding plants naturally). Canola oil is made from the rapeseed plant that is in the cabbage family. It is the traditional cooking oil of India and Southern China.

Rapeseed oil is one of the oldest cooking oil, used in India since 4000 BC. Some people are concerned about the high levels of erucic acid in rapeseed oil, but if you consume organic, expeller pressed canola oil, it is made from plants that have been breed to contain less erucic acid, therefore making it safe to consume.

Organic canola oil is high in anti-inflammatory properties, Vitamin K, and Vitamin E (strong antioxidant). The ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids is 2 to 1 in canola oil. This 2 to 1 ratio is nutritionally ideal and both are polyunsaturated fats.

May - Vegan Sauces

When creating sauces to go over pasta, brown rice, millet, or other whole grains, you want to avoid using heavy creams, dairy, or high saturated fat ingredients. Probably the sauces most people are familiar with are sauces they grew up with consisting of heavy dairy or cheese as the main ingredient. Let's look at creating healthy version of sauces that you can make and enjoy.

Some substitutes to create the creamy texture of a sauce are; cooked rolled oats, Mochi (pounded sweet brown rice), cooked sweet potato, cooked butternut squash, and vegan milk beverages. Using a food processor to puree cooked soft vegetables is key to creating a smooth sauce. Root vegetables and sweet potato are two vegetables I use often to create sauces. Make sure to peel the sweet potato before cooking and pureeing when making sauces.

Mushrooms can create a nice vegan sauce also. Mushrooms have a high water content which can help create a good sauce. Mushrooms are full of flavor and that flavor is even better when pureed with a little dark miso for flavoring. The following recipe is how to make a sweet potato sauce.

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