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Foods of the Month 2020

February - Turmeric    March - Tofu    April - Miso
May - Whole Grains of Spring Time
June - Naturally Fermented Foods   July - Cucumbers
August - Summer Time Fire Energy
September - Foods to boost your immunity

October - Pumpkin    November - Ginger
December - Brown Rice Syrup

January - Whole Grains

This month's 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 grain.

Whole grains 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.

The human 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 what your food should consist of then.

There are 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.

February - Turmeric

I 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 properties

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.

March - Tofu

Tofu is a harmless bean curd made from soybeans, so why are so many people afraid of it? Maybe because they have tasted a dish made using the wrong kind of tofu, and/or it was not properly seasoned or cooked. When used in the correct way, tofu can be very tasty and can be used to create all kinds of different dishes. The key to cooking with tofu is that it has no real flavor on its own, so it will take on whatever tastes you add to it when creating a dish. Always make sure you add salt, or a salty ingredient, and make sure to cook the tofu. The cooking process will enhance the flavor and make the tofu easier to digest.

Five thousand year old texts describe the soybean as one of the most important crops in China. And for good reason, high in protein, iron, B vitamins, soybeans can also help support detoxification, improve circulation, and have many anti-cancer properties. A food that has been eaten for thousand of years, has been proven through time to be a healthy food for the human species to consume. There is a lot of information out there claiming that soy food is bad for us to consume. But do not get confused, the bad stuff is refined and processed. Such things as: soy flour, soy flakes, soy isolates, (TSP textured soy protein). I do not use these products in my cooking. And when purchasing tofu and other soybean products, always buy organic. Unfortunately, a large percentage of the soybean crops have been genetically engineered.

Using the correct type of tofu is also important to create the correct texture for your dishes. I use the fresh, firm, tofu packed in water, found in the refrigerator section, for almost all my recipes. If you can find a local producer of tofu, that is best, the fresher the tofu the better the texture and taste.

April - 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.

May - Whole Grains of Spring Time

According to the Five Transformations of Energy (the ancient study of the energy of food, how it relates to the seasons, and how it feeds and nurtures the body) the signature whole grains associated with this time of year are; barley, rye, wheat, spelt, kamut, and oats. The only whole grain in this category that is not gluten free is oats. With gluten free being all the hype right now, I think it is time to look at the tremendous healing properties of these grains and why it may not be the gluten that is causing any problem in people's health

Barley: One of the worlds oldest whole grains, it strengthen the intestines, strengthens blood and benefits the gallbladder and nervous system. Also strengthening to the spleen, pancreas and helps regulate the stomach. Barley is used to treat hepatitis and painful urination and helps reduce tumors. Known as the strengthening whole grain because the Roman Gladiator main source of food was a roasted barley grewl.

Rye: Helps builds muscles and promote energy and endurance. A broth or congee made with rye often relieves a migraine headache. Contains eleven B vitamins, vitamin E, iron mineral and trace minerals and high percentage of the amino acid lysine.

Oats: Adaptogen grain which means they improve resistance to stress and thus support the system being in a healthy state of balance. Helps stabilize the blood sugar, lower cholesterol, regulate the thyroid, sooth nervous and digestive systems, and help reduce risk of heart disease.

The Story of Wheat
A few thousands of years ago the wheat plant was very different. The ancient wheat is called einkorn. It was a wild field grass. The protein cell structure (the gluten) was fragile making it very easy to digest. This ancient einkorn wheat was around for thousands of years, and then our ancestors started to gown their own, it was the starting of agriculture. By them growing their own crops they changed the plant to produce a slightly different version known as emmer wheat. The cell structure of emmer is not as fragile as the eikorn but still fragile enough that it is easy to digest.

In the 1950's scientist got involved to produce a higher yield version of wheat to help feed the ever increasing population explosion happening on our planet. They high breed the wheat plant to produce a completely different version of wheat. (This is not genetically modifying the plant, that did not happen until the 1980's.) This high breed process that took place starting in the 1950's made the protein cell structure (the gluten) of the wheat very complex. It is the complete opposite of the fragile cell structure of the einkorn or emmer wheat. This new complex cell structure is very hard to digest. This is where most of the gluten sensitivity originates from. In the 1970's this new wheat went world wide. By the 1990's all the pasta, flour in any wheat flour products or groceries were made from this incredibly hard to digest wheat. Now add on top of that all the genetically modification and chemical spraying that takes place with our wheat and you can see the tremendous problem.

The solution is to use the whole grains spelt or kamut. They are a type of wheat that was never tampered with and remains in the emmer wheat form. It is easy to digest with a fragile protein cell (the gluten) structure. And even better, if you can find einkorn organic wheat made by the company, Jovial, you can enjoy wheat in its original form.

Health benefits of wheat, spelt and kamut: Nurtures the heart, calms and focuses the mind, and treat a wide variety of stress and mental health systems. Contains B vitamins, vitamin E, essential fatty acids, zinc, iron, copper, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus.

June - Naturally Fermented Foods

Naturally fermented foods should be a part of everyone's healthy lifestyle. These fermented foods are known for promoting good digestion. They help the intestines with the growth of healthy flora that you need for good digestion.


When you ferment foods you create lactic acid, which helps improve the nutritional value of foods, improve digestion, and controls intestinal infections. Plus naturally fermented foods can help increase and improve your immunity with their antibiotic and anti carcinogen properties.

Naturally fermented foods are fermented with only salt. (Or some type of salty condiment.) If the ingredients of fermented foods has vinegar or sugar in it, then it is not naturally fermented. The vinegar or sugar speeds up the fermentation process. Probably the most popular naturally fermented foods is sauerkraut.


July - Cucumbers

Cucumbers are a wonderful summer time food. Being 95% water, they are a cooling vegetable, ideal to keep you cool for those hot summer days. Juicy and refreshing, cucumbers have many great health benefits.



They contain phytonutrients called cucurbitacins, which have been shown to have anti-cancer properties. High in Vitamin C, K, and several B Vitamins, they also contain anti-inflammatory properties. Cucumbers contain copper, potassium, and manganese, plus numerous antioxidants. such as beta-carotene.

Cucumbers are one of my favorite summer vegetables. They are wonderful in salads, and are great for serving with dips at a party. Another one of my favorite ways to utilize them is to put slices of cucumbers on sandwiches.

August - Summer Time Fire Energy

The information in this cookbook incorporates The Five Transformations 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. Each season emphasizes the foods available for that time of year. These are the ideal foods that our ancestors had available to eat at a particular time of year.

When we live close to nature, we know how to nurture our bodies with the local available foods. This may be a new concept to most people but our ancestors, who lived very close to nature, knew this information inherently.

The Summer Time, when we are at our most active, is known as the Fire Energy Phase. Summer is when we feed and nurture our hearts, brain, circulatory system and small intestines. These organs are the most active organs in the body. Which makes sense they are associated with the most active time of the year, summer.

The heart provides blood, nutrients and oxygen to every part of the body and every cell. The small intestines digests the food that becomes the nutrients from our food which determines the quality of our blood that flows through our bodies. The heart and small intestines are responsible for the action of the circulatory system. This system helps regulate the temperature of the body. It adapts and makes us comfortable in whatever environment you find yourself. When the Fire Energy is balanced we can feel comfortable in the hot summer time and the cold winter time.

September - Foods to boost your immunity

Food is powerful medicine. Everything you eat becomes the blood that flows through your body. The blood created every cell in your body. You are what you eat.

Red lentils: high fiber, high protein important for the structure, function and regulation of the body's tissues and organs

Corn: only whole grain containing Vit. A, insoluble fiber feeds good bacteria in gut and aid in digestion

red lentil corn soup

Kombu: sea vegetable are the most nutrient dense food on the planet, high in calcium, iron, potassium, keratin the main hair protein, B vitamins

Shiitake mushrooms: compete protein containing all 8 essential amino acids, B12

Onions and garlic: anti- inflammatory properties

Carrots: vitamins A and B's, purify blood, potassium, anti-carcinogen properties

Broccoli: high in vitamin C, A,K, and E, selenium, calcium, iron, folate

Kale: high in chlorophyll, high in vitamin C, high in protein, calcium, iron, iodine

Basil: antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-microbial properties to help fight viruses and infections

October - Pumpkin

Every year around October I have customers who start asking for pumpkin recipes. Very versatile, I have used pumpkin to created many savory pumpkin dishes. It is in the winter squash family of vegetables. Pumpkin is high in fiber making it a great food for heart health. High in beta-carotene, a carotenoid that turns into Vitamin A in your body, which can help your body fight off infections and strengthen your immunity


Pumpkin also contains lutein and zeaxanthin, compounds that help protect your eyes from macular degeneration and cataracts. This incredibly healthy vegetable also contains, potassium, manganese, iron, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, vitamin C, E and several B.

November - Ginger

Fall, with all its magical colors, is here. According to the Five Transformations Of Energy (the ancient study of how nature is related to us) this is the time of year when we feed and nurture our lungs and large intestines. These organs represent the seat of our strength. Without being able to breath and assimilate our food we could not live.
ginger on cutting board

The signature whole grain for this season is brown rice. And the bean is soybeans, which are mostly eaten in the form of tofu, tempeh, and miso. And the signature flavor is pungent. Any food that has a pungent flavor feeds the lungs and large intestines. Some examples of pungent foods would be; garlic, raw onions, radishes, daikon, and ginger. The emotions that are associated with this energy phase are optimism and self discipline.

Ginger is native to South Eastern Asia. There are ancient texts that mention ginger from China and India. Well known for it being effective in treating motion sickness and nausea, it can also relieve heart burn. Most interesting is ginger's strong anti-inflammatory properties. It contains a compound calledgingerols which can help relieve the pain from arthritis. Recently there have been some studies about ginger's effectiveness with treating both ovarian and colon cancer. When buying ginger, look for pieces that are not dried out. Once you have brought it home, the best way to store it is in a brown paper bag in the refrigerator.


December - Brown Rice Syrup

I have been asked what is the healthiest substitute for sugar and in my 23 years of teaching cooking classes my answer has not changed, it is brown rice syrup. Brown rice syrup is make from the whole grain brown rice. The whole brown rice is cooked down to create the thick, sticky syrup that you can use to make any and all desserts. Because this sweet syrup comes from a whole grain, it is maltose. This is very important. Other sweeteners are sucrose, fructose or dextrose.

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.


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