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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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Summer Time Fire Energy
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
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.
Foods to boost your immunity
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.
lentils: high fiber, high protein important for the structure,
function and regulation of the body's tissues and organs
only whole grain containing Vit. A, insoluble fiber feeds good bacteria
in gut and aid in digestion
vegetable are the most nutrient dense food on the planet, high in calcium,
iron, potassium, keratin the main hair protein, B vitamins
compete protein containing all 8 essential amino acids, B12
Onions and garlic:
anti- inflammatory properties
vitamins A and B's, purify blood, potassium, anti-carcinogen properties
high in vitamin C, A,K, and E, selenium, calcium, iron, folate
in chlorophyll, high in vitamin C, high in protein, calcium, iron, iodine
anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-microbial properties to help
fight viruses and infections
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
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.
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.
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.
Brown Rice Syrup
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.