Saturday, May 17, 2014

The High Protein Concentration of Sprouts

Sprouts Have the Highest Concentration of Nutrition Per Calorie of Any Food

Sprouts are rich sources of vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, chlorophyll and protein. They are low calorie and contain little or no fat. The fat they do contain is the healthy fat that your body needs. As some of the most nutritious foods that exist, they make a great addition to any healthy eating plan. Use in salads, on sandwiches, added to soups or stir fried with vegetables. Enjoy these nutrient-packed delicacies as a snack all by themselves or added as a garnish to a main dish. Eat them raw or cooked. Of course, as with all food, the nutritional value is greater when they are eaten raw. But eating them cooked is better than not eating them at all.

Sprouting magnifies the nutritional value of the seed. It boosts the B-vitamin content, triples the amount of vitamin A and increases vitamin C by a factor of 5 to 6 times. Starches are converted to simple sugars, making sprouts very easily digestible. You can have them fresh all year round, even when fresh vegetables are hard to find. It's easier than planting a garden outside and they're ready much quicker. You can even grow them when the ground outside is frozen solid. And the best part is that you can grow the freshest, tastiest sprouts right in the comfort of your own kitchen. It takes less than 2 minutes a day and they are ready in 3 to 7 days, depending on the variety.

You can sprout seeds, beans, grains and nuts. Some of the most popular varieties are alfalfa, broccoli, red clover, radish, mung beans, lentils, garbanzo beans and peas.

Alfalfa sprouts are what people typically think of when you mention sprouts. They are the ones you commonly see at a salad bar. Rich in phytochemicals, they protect against cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis and fibrocystic breast disease. They stimulate natural killer cell activity, which strengthens the immune system. What's more, they are beneficial in reducing symptoms of PMS and menopause, including hot flashes. Furthermore, they contain high concentrations of antioxidants, the body's defense against the destruction of DNA which is the cause of aging. Alfalfa sprouts are abundant sources of vitamins A, B, C, E and K, the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. Also carotene, chlorophyll, amino acids and trace elements. They contain 35% protein. One pound of alfalfa seed produces 10-14 pounds of sprouts.

Broccoli sprouts have just recently become popular after it was discovered that they abound with the amazing cancer-fighting phytochemical, sulforaphane. Research studies have shown that they contain 50 times more sulforpohane than fresh broccoli. What's more, they contain glucosinolates and isothiocyanates, substances that protect cells from becoming malignant, at 10-100 times greater levels than in fresh broccoli. In addition, they are sources of plant estrogens, similar to human estrogen, and so are helpful in cases of PMS, menopause, hot flashes and fibrocystic disease. Nutrient dense, they are rich sources of vitamins A, B, C, E and K, anti-oxidants, the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. Also carotene, chlorophyll, amino acids, trace elements and antioxidants. Broccoli sprouts contain as much as 35% protein.

Garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas, can be sprouted to make delightfully delicious hummus. It is much richer in nutrients than hummus typically made from cooked chickpeas. They can also be used in salads, soups or stir fried or steamed with other bean sprouts and vegetables. These sprouts are plentiful sources of vitamins A, C and E, the minerals iron, calcium, magnesium and amino acids. They contain 20% protein.

Pea sprouts are delicious raw or cooked. They can be sprinkled on salads and added to soups. In addition, they can be steamed or stir fried with other bean sprouts and vegetables. They are rich sources of vitamins A, B, C and E, all the essential amino acids, the minerals calcium, iron and phosphorus. They contain 26% protein.

Lentil sprouts, like pea sprouts, are very tasty and can be eaten raw or cooked. Add them to salads, soups, casseroles or steam or stir fry them with other vegetables. Rich in vitamins A, B, C and E, the minerals iron, calcium and phosphorus. They contain 26% protein.

Mung bean sprouts are the ones you typically see in Oriental cooking. Mung beans should be sprouted in the dark to avoid a bitter flavor. They are ready when they are 1.5 to 2 inches long. Abundant in vitamins A, B, C and E, the minerals iron, potassium, calcium and magnesium, and amino acids, they contain 20% protein.

Radish sprouts taste just like radishes. They are great on sandwiches or in salads. Their high concentrations of phytochemicals help protect against disease. And because of their naturally occurring plant estrogens, similar to human estrogen, they are helpful with PMS, menopause, hot flashes and fibrocystic disease. These baby green vegetables are rich sources of vitamins A, B, C, E and K, the minerals potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc. In addition, they also contain carotene, chlorophyll, amino acids, trace elements, and antioxidants. They have a 26% protein content.

Red clover sprouts look like alfalfa sprouts and have a mild, sweet flavor. Rich in phytochemicals, in particular genistein, which is known to prevent the formation of new blood vessels inside a tumor, in essence starving the tumor, it is protective against diseases like cancer. Red clover contains naturally occurring plant estrogens, similar to human estrogen, so they are helpful with PMS, menopause, hot flashes and fibrocystic disease. They are contraindicated with tamoxifen treatment. Please consult your physician if you are receiving this treatment before using sprouts. They contain vitamins A, B, C, E and K, the minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, phosphorus and zinc, trace minerals, carotene, chlorophyll and amino acids. They contain 26% protein.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Leftover Veggie Soup

Leftover Veggie Soup

1 cup leftover brown rice/garbanzo beans/other beans
(if using beans, add bean broth to replace some of the water)
a few cups water
1 small onion, sliced thinly
3-4 cloves garlic, sliced
a handful of spinach or other dark green leafy
1-2 stalks celery, sliced
2-3 stems green onion, sliced
1 handful of cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons coconut oil
cumin and turmeric
dried thyme and rosemary (optional) or fresh parsley
sea salt

Bring the leftover rice/beans to a simmer in 1/2 a 2-quart-sized pot. Allow to simmer a few minutes to further soften the rice/beans. Then add in the onion, garlic, celery, coconut oil and spices and simmer until the onions are becoming translucent. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer a couple of minutes. Turn off the heat and serve immediately while veggies are at peak color.

Alternately, put the veggie stew into a blender and blend to a smooth creaminess
and serve immediately while hot and full of freshly cooked veggie flavors. 

Garnish the blended soup with diagonally cut green onions. Serve.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Making Raw Dressings Creamy

I'm really trying to eat a lot of sprouts as they are so rich in enzymes and nutrients and really boost my overall immune system while loading me up with energy. Those are some of the great positives, but the downside of eating so many sprouts is they get rather b-o-r-i-n-g and need some enhancing. I'm learning though on how to make dressings to give them a little lift.

Until now, I've eaten a lot of lemon and olive oil based dressings. In fact, they are my standby and I always have one made up in the fridge to drizzle over a quick salad or occasionally over steamed broccoli.  

Experimenting with Creamy Dressings

At the moment I'm experimenting with creamy dressings, but they take a little more creativity, especially as cashews, the ultimate for making a cream sauce, are moldy by nature and therefore are inflammatory.

So far, I've found a few key ingredients to make different kinds of creamy dressing : with sunflower seeds, with macadamia nuts (expensive), with gently blended zucchini or yellow squash (can become watery though), and with daikon, turnip, or parsnips (unfortunately, as root veggies are loaded with starch and therefore breakdown quickly into sugars, they are still no-nos to me).

This dilly cream sauce turned out beautifully in consistency, but needs a little tweaking with amounts before I post the recipe. The consistency was wonderful, however, and the creaminess was not watery the next day as most things are with cucumbers blended in them. Anyway, the ingredients were sunflower seeds, cucumber (for moisture), onion, garlic, fresh dill and salt.

I loved the dill flavor in this! Almost have a great recipe figured out!!!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Creamy Broccoli Salad (raw)

5-6 cups broccoli pieces (bite size)
1-2 carrots shredded
1 medium sweet onion diced 
Creamy Dressing: 
4" daikon radish
1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked and drained
3 cloves garlic
2-3 T. fresh lemon juice
1 wedge of onion
1/2 heaping t. sea salt
black pepper (optional)
water as needed
For the core of the salad, cut up the broccoli and onion and shred the carrots and dump in a large salad bowl. For the dressing in a high-speed blender add all the dressing ingredients and whizz them to the desired consistency to pour over and mix into the salad. For those being particular with root veggies because of candida reacting to high amounts of starchy root veggies, replacing the shredded carrots with dried tomato flecks and chopped up yellow pepper or other substitutes will work to reduce the "sugar" intake. With raw food recipes, options are nearly endless!

garnished with home-sun-dried tomatoes

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Wheat Grass and Barley Grass

I've benefitted a lot from juicing, but have to say it takes tons of time. Because of my ultra-tiny apartment I don't grow wheat or barley grass to juice, but instead juice cucumbers and juice leafy vegies. I have to say, I really have energy on the days I drink my power juicy vegie-drinks.

And other greens -- very useful info!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Gluten-free Steel-cut Oats (breakfast)

(serves 3) 
1/2 cup gluten-free steel-cut oats
2 cups water (more as needed)
1/3 t. sea salt
1 Granny Smith apple, diced (added after the oats have nearly cooked) 
Dried fruit compote sauce: (dried fruit not for people with raging candida)
4-5 dried apricot halves/slices
handful of raisins and/or dates
1 cup of water (or as needed)
dusting of cinnamon
dash of cloves 
Not all oats are gluten-free and the steel-cut oats have less dust and are easier on the GI track. (The dust I think from the typically Quaker oats bother me - specially the dust or something like that seems to tickle my chest in the lung area.
I specified the Granny Smith too as it is the lowest-glycemic apple I know about, and for people with systemic candida, the less "sugar" - natural or otherwise - the better. 
Dried fruit is concentrated sugar. People with candida must avoid this. If people with candida eat fruit, let it be fresh fruit that is filled with living enzymes and is not concentrated sugar. This fruit compote is for my parents.
The only problem with cooking steel-cut oats is that it really ... takes ... forever ... to ... cook. On average, a pot like this cooks for 45 minutes as opposed to 5-8 minutes for Quaker quick oats. This is a lot better for me though.
Fruit compote put on a low simmer so the fruit will become reconstituted.
My bowl of steel-cut oats served with whole frozen cranberries.
Mom and Dad's bowls of steel-cut oats served with compote, which my Dad is wild about!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Underactive Thyroid?

By Donna Gates, Body Ecology

What Role Does The Thyroid Play?

The thyroid gland is a small butterfly shaped gland that sits just below the thyroid cartilage. The hormones secreted by the thyroid help to regulate heart rate, maintain healthy skin, and play a crucial part in regulating your metabolism.

The thyroid also works to:
  • Lift your energy
  • Regulate your core temperature and warm your body
  • Activate your immune system
It can also tell the body to slow down. Sometimes the thyroid slows down so much that it becomes underactive. This is what is known as hypothyroidism. When this happens, the thyroid gland does not do its job, and the whole body suffers as a result. As common as hypothyroidism is, the detection and treatment of it are getting a second look by doctors.

What Symptoms Does An Underactive Thyroid Produce?

When the gland is sluggish (hypothyroidism), your body will give you some fairly obvious signs.
Some common signs include:
  • Edema, or swelling in the legs, arms, or face
  • Abdominal weight gain
  • Cold hands and feet. Also, check if the nail beds are overgrown with fungus
  • Increased susceptibility to the common cold and flu. Or, a respiratory infection that hangs around for months
  • Dryness, which shows up in loss of hair, brittle nails, constipation, and achy joints

What Does It Mean When Your Symptoms Persist?

  • You still feel like there is something wrong with your energy levels and basal body temperature?
  • You continue to lose hair and gain abdominal weight?
  • You begin to feel better and then start to feel just as crummy as before the medication, even though you now take it religiously?
  • Do you feel like you're always the first to catch a cold? An increased susceptibility to the common cold and flu is one possible sign of an underactive thyroid.

5 Clues That May Indicate Your Thyroid Is Underactive

Doctors are now investigating why thyroid tests may appear normal, but the thyroid itself may still be dysfunctional. Seeing a pattern will help you determine if your thyroid medication is properly treating an underactive thyroid, or if more diagnosis is necessary.

1. Edema, which is the abnormal accumulation of fluid beneath the skin. The edema that occurs in hypothyroidism is the “non-pitting” form of edema.
  • “Non-pitting” means: You press your finger into the flesh, and it bounces right back and leaves no mark.
  • This is called myxedema, which is specifically associated with low levels of thyroid hormones.
  • Myxedema is swelling of the arms, legs, and face.

2. There is persistent weight gain, especially around your torso, that you just can’t lose no matter how frugal you are with calories.

Dr. Roby Mitchell tells us that thyroid hormones help insulin move glucose from blood into the cells. “When thyroid levels are low, more insulin is needed to maintain normal glucose. More insulin means more fat cell hyperplasia, which shows up as increased fat deposition.” The adrenals lose strength when the thyroid is underactive, which also slows down metabolism.

3. Cold hands and cold feet may mean lack of blood flow.

Lack of blood flow to the extremities, like your hands and feet, can also show up as chronic fungal infections. This is because the essential nutrients carried in the blood do not reach the extremities as frequently. Low thyroid activity is associated with too much homocysteine - an amino acid associated with heart disease, poor blood flow, and stiff vasculature.

4. Nagging infections could point to an underactive thyroid.

Dr. Mitchell points out that because beta-carotene depends on thyroid hormones in order to convert into vitamin A, beta-carotene can build up in the body and cause yellow skin, especially in the hands. The official name for this is called carotoderma.

Vitamin A plays an important role in immune system health. What happens when the body cannot convert beta-carotene into vitamin A? The body may become more susceptible to infections, or it simply may not have the strength to kick a bug.

5. Excessive hair loss, painful joints, and other signs of dryness.

Iodine and Thyroid Function

Because there are so many pathways to an underactive thyroid, including autoimmune hypothyroid, be careful when supplementing with iodine. Iodine, while central to the production of thyroid hormones T3 and T4, can actually make some hypothyroid conditions worse. This is because iodine speeds up the production of a thyroid enzyme. If the body has developed autoimmunity to this enzyme, which happens in the case of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, then this will increase the inflammatory cascade.
  • Iodine is not a cure-all.
  • Diagnosis, knowing the mechanism responsible for an underactive thyroid, is paramount.
Using iodine to address a thyroid condition does not take into account autoimmune hypothyroid. It also does not address diet or lifestyle, which can make a tremendous impact on thyroid hormone levels.

Testing for Hypothyroidism Can Be Tricky

A major issue has erupted in the medical community. Many doctors are now disagreeing over what tests should be done to check thyroid function. Traditionally, TSH, Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone that is released from the pituitary gland in the brain, would be checked along with the two thyroid hormones it produces, T3 and T4.

However, it has become commonplace to only test for TSH, and that is only one part of a very detailed picture. There are many other mechanisms at work in thyroid health.
For example, healthy thyroid activity relies on:
  • Stable levels of other hormones, like estrogen and progesterone. Too much estrogen, such as from the birth control pill, will create too many thyroid-binding proteins.
  • A healthy immune system. Autoimmune hypothyroid can be missed by TSH blood panels.
  • Beneficial bacteria in the gut. Antibiotics wipe out these good microbes, which account for around 20% of the conversion of T4 to usable T3. (1)
  • An uncongested and healthy liver. The liver converts over half of T4 from the thyroid into usable T3.
  • Good adrenal function. Adrenal fatigue can slow down the function of the pituitary and hypothalamus in the brain. These three glands are a part of what is called the HPA axis (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis). An alert and healthy pituitary is essential for good thyroid function.
Clearly, with so many pathways available for the production and conversion of thyroid hormones, there are a lot of opportunities for something to go wrong.

Many people are diagnosed with this condition and given thyroid medication. Sometimes, this medication will show improvements in lab analysis as hormone levels fall into normal range. But many people still have symptoms.

Tips For Treating An Underactive Thyroid

  1. Work with a qualified health care practitioner
  2. Populate your gut with good microbes. Remember, gut flora convert 20% of T4 into usable T3! Eat fermented foods and drink probiotic beverages with every meal!
  3. Regulate your immune system
  4. Address any blood sugar imbalances
  5. Diet and lifestyle can drastically affect your adrenals, the HPA axis, and the health of your thyroid; does your current diet and lifestyle support a healthy thyroid?
This article was taken in its entirety from Food Matters.